Improving Presentation Skills

Doing presentations is part of a psychology student's life, and will always be something you will do, as long as you are in a psychological-related field. The people who give the most presentations (other than students) are probably academics and consultants.

As you go along your psychology studies, the skill of doing presentations is not something that most lecturers will teach you; it is something that comes with practice, where you will hone your skills as you do more of it. The worst kind of presentation where one is just reading from the slides, and getting more boring as the time passes, and I know you DO NOT want to be that person. Here's some tips where you may use to improve your presentation skills: (This list is not ranked in any order)

1. Make sure you know your material well - Know what you are talking about!! You are the one presenting it, so make sure you have done your preparation in collecting and reading all the related materials. This can be tested very easily during the Question&Answer session, as flaws will surface when you are being asked a tricky question regarding your topic and you do not know the answer.

2. Take a deep breath (or a couple) before you start - Relax!! Being too tensed will affect how you present, so make sure you have calmed yourself before you step up. This is one of main issues people tend to have. So make sure you take a deep breath, suck on a sweet, or do whatever it takes  to calm yourself down as fast as possible.

3. Know who your audience are - This may not be the most important issue, but it helps to know. This may affect what you wear, how the slides are arranged and written, and even your body language during the presentation. It is very different giving a presentation to a group of students, as compared to giving the same presentation in front of a group of international confederates.

4. Create rapport - Connect with your audience!! If you can win the audience over in the first minute, you will keep them for the remainder. If you lose them from the start, you have lost them forever. You should plan exactly how you wish to appear to them and establish that relationship from the beginning. You may be presenting yourself as an expert, perhaps even as their friend, but whatever role you choose you must establish it at the very beginning.

5. Eye contact - Stay connected!! During a presentation you should use this to enhance your rapport with the audience by establishing eye contact with each and every member of the audience as often as possible. For small groups this is very possible, but it can also be achieved in large auditoriums. The further the audience is away from you (the presenter), the harder it is for them to tell precisely where you is looking, thus by simply staring at a group of people at the back of a lecture theatre it is possible to convince each of them individually that he or she is the object of your attention. During presentations, try to hold your gaze fixed in specific directions for five or six seconds at a time. Shortly after each change in position, a slight smile will convince each person in that direction that you have seen and acknowledged them.

6. Controlling your voice - Your voice is your tool!! Basic rule is to take your time. But that does not mean that you can be slow. A safe style is to be louder and a little slower than normal conversation. Make sure you are not speaking in a monotonous manner! You have experienced that style from others before, so what do you think of it? Try to vary the pitch and speed of your presentation. Pause when you need to at each new sub-section, and change your tone to emphasise important parts.

7. Practice, Practice, Practice.. - Rehearse, but don't become a robot!! You can practice, but too much memorizing can make you sound mechanical and over-rehearsed. Just relax and try to be yourself. No one is perfect, so there is no need to be so polished. Being too polished may seem fake and affect your rapport building with your audience. But still, all your information must be covered well and in detail.

8. Presentation Slides - The slides are the other medium to your audience, other than you. So make sure your slides are well-done!! Have a clear objective in your slides. Make sure there is structure and is well-organised. Keep it short and simple, yet interesting and interactive. If certain information/slides/sections are not needed, you do not need it. Do not have chunks and chunks of words; rather have short phrases of the most important information. One of the good methods would be to have your friends/colleagues look through the slides and ask for their comments. You never know what you may get that can add to your presentation!

Hope you use these tips effectively and improve your presentation skills!

How to study for my psychology exams? Part 3 - Strategies to improving memory

In this post, we will look at some techniques that will help in improving your memory for storing your exam information. The list is extensive and can consist of anything you can think of, so this is just a short list of ideas that you can try to use.

Before you read any further, please make sure you read on the preparation for exams and recognition/recall for different types of exams. If you have not prepared well for your exams, the suggested techniques would not be as effective. These techniques are based on cognitive psychology, where we learnt about encoding and retrieval in the chapter of Memory. Hence this is what this post is all about: Encoding and Retrieval. 

Strategy 1: Levels of Processing Model (Craik &Lockhart, 1972)
Are you doing encoding, just purely by rote memory, or do you go into a deeper level of processing where you think about the information in a different way, creating associations and connections to what you already know or learnt?
Conclusion: The deeper the level of processing, the easier the information is to recall.

Strategy 2: Serial order effect (Ebbinghaus, 1913)
I believe you would definitely have read or studied about the serial order effect, which the two main effects are the primacy and recency effect in retrieval.
Question is: How can these effects be applied to studying for exams?
Answer: For coordination of timing of study sessions

Imagine counting from today (30th Nov), you have two exams on 10th (Subject A) and 13th (Subject B) Dec respectively. So how are you going to plan your revision days from today till then?
Suggestion 1: Take the first 4 days (till 4 Dec) to study everything you can for Subject B, then the next 5 days (till exam on 10 Dec) to study Subject A, and come back to revise for Subject B again between the exam days. This creates the primacy effect for Subject B, and recency effect for Subject A.
Suggestion 2:  Create blocks of 3 days from today till 10th Dec. Revise Subject A for the first 3 days (till 3rd Dec), and then Subject B for the second block (till 6th Dec), and then followed by Subject A for the remainder of days. Obviously, finish off with Subject B between the exam days. This creates a repeated pattern where relearning takes place the second time you go through the material, and hence will increase your memory with the recency effect done on the subjects.

Strategy 3: Use of retrieval cues and mnemonic devices
Retrieval cues are cues of associated information put in place that help you to regain complex memories for later use, while mnemonic devices are memory aid strategies that aid encoding in special ways, such as associating locations (things in your bedroom) with a list of things you want to remember (method of loci) or forming mental images to link the information that you wish to memorize (peg system). In both mnemonic methods, a new piece of information gets pegged to something that is already known.
Using these retrieval cues and mnemonic devices, they help in both MCQ, short-answer and essay-answer exams. However the important thing is that you have to remember the specific cues that you used to create the association. It is just like a key for the room of information you locked away in your long-term memory, and often, the associations that you formed at the time of learning are typically the most effective retrieval cues.

Strategy 4: SPAR method (Kalat, 2010)
Survey – get an overview of the material.  (See Step 4 of Part 2: Preparation)
Process meaningfully – read the material carefully and think about how it relates to your other knowledge and experiences. (see Strategy 1 above)
Ask questions – use the review questions included with the material, or create your own and answer them.
Review – wait a day or so, and retest yourself. (see Strategy 2 above)
This is the whole general idea of revision, from the first day you start your revision for your exams. However,  asking questions, though not been covered before, may be the strongest step in the SPAR method. This is because asking and answering others' questions is a very good reinforcer of memory, using both the encoding and retrieval techniques.

Hope you will try out these strategies! And good luck for your exams!

Make sure you read Part 1 and 2 as well!!!

Specialisations of Diploma programs in Singapore


The GCE 'O' Levels have just finished recently, and students would be getting their results and applying to get into their diploma programs in mid-January next year. So this would be a good post for students who are planning to do a psychology diploma next year.

Looking back at the posts, I noticed that though I have done a comparison of Bachelors programs (which is the most viewed post! Thank you!), but I have not done a comparison of Diploma programs. That would be a really difficult post to write, as there are a lot of psychology diploma programs around (private and non-private), so the focus of this post would be on the specialisations of the programs. If there is a diploma based only on general psychology (or applied psychology or psychological studies), it would be reflected by "No.Spec". 

Non-Private ProgramsSP: Applied Drama / Human Resource Management
NP: Early Childhood / No.Spec
TP: No.Spec
RP: Consumer Behaviour and Research / Human Resource Management with Psychology

Private Programs(In alphabetical order)
For the list of courses, please see this link from CPE or search via this link using the keyword of "psychology" in the Course Search and selecting all the different diplomas for the Course Level.
ACC School of Counselling and Psychology: Counselling Psychology / Psychotherapy / No.Spec
Arium School of Arts and Sciences: Child Psychology / Counselling Psychology / Educational Psychology / Sports Psychology / Organisational Psychology / No.Spec
Aventis School of Management: No.Spec
Beacon International College: Counselling Psychology
College of Allied Educators: Learning Disorders Management / Child Psychology / Counselling Psychology / No.Spec
East Asia Institute of Management: Counselling Psychology / No.Spec
ERC Institute: Business Psychology
MDIS: No.Spec
SHRI Academy: Organisational Psychology
SMF Institute of Higher Learning: Counselling Psychology / Early Childhood Psychology
The School of Positive Psychology: Positive Psychology (Applied) / Positive Business Psychology
TMC Academy: No.Spec / Counselling

Finally, they are all here; a total of 43 private diploma programs (49 programs including those from the polytechnics) as at 23 November 2012! But the blog author do not guarantee the quality of any of the above diplomas, or indicate any benefits or disadvantages of having a psychological diploma with no specialisations or one with multiple specialisations. Please also take note that diploma programs are also awarded by the respective institutions and there are no accreditation by any accrediting bodies. You will have to do the evaluation yourself, based on these two posts: this and this post. 

SGPsychStud: Seriously?? Psychology??

I have always been writing posts that promote psychology, and it seems like now is the time to be critical and think about the opposite direction as well.
Yes you want to do psychology and may be suitable for psychology, but is psychology really a good choice?

If you think it through, actually psychology doesn't seem like a very good choice. This can be supported by the following reasons (and their respective links):

Studying Psychology
  1. It is difficult to get into a psychology program in a local  university.
  2. You have to learn everything in psychology in the first few years, a lot of which you may not like or may not use at all in the future.
  3. You have to read a lot, and even do statistics in most psychology programs.
  4. With a psychology undergraduate degree or diploma, they are just general degrees.
  5. It takes too much time and years (and maybe $$$ too), and usually requires more than just a bachelors degree to be a psychologist.
  6. It is even harder to get into an Honours program and/or a Masters program.
  7. You have to go overseas to study if you wish to specialise in anything other than clinical, educational or counselling psychology.
Being a Psychologist
  1. Other than just having a Masters, you need to have 1000 hours of placement/job attachment to qualify for registration as a psychologist.
  2. You will be restricted by a strict code of ethics if you wish to be a psychologist.
  3. Even after you have become a psychologist, you are required to do 30 Professional Development hours every year.
  4. It may not really give a good-paying career, even you finish your Masters.
  5. If you can't get your Masters degree, you can't be a psychologist; with only a Honours degree which is considered as a Bachelors degree, you may not be able to get the job that you want as it has an academic requirement of Masters.
  6. Recognition and prestige of psychologists in Singapore is not as good as in other countries.
  7. Psychological specialties, other than clinical psychology, are not under scrutiny by the Singapore Law (Allied Health Professionals Act). Update: This has not been enforced till today since the passing of the Act.
So you still want to study psychology?

Disclaimer: This post is written based on the author's point of view, and may not be a true reflection of what is happening.

Australian system of psychological training and registration

Australia is one of the favourite places for undergraduate and postgraduate studies in psychology. This is probably due to the shorter distance and lower cost of programs in Australia, as compared to UK and America. However, a lot of people would still ask on how to become a psychologist. If you have been following this blog, you  should know that just an undergraduate degree is not enough...

This has been written before in a previous post, but this post would be on a more detailed description of how to become a registered psychologist in Australia (general registration), focusing mainly on the below picture. The following information are also available on the APS website.

                                                            (copyright of APS)

STEP 1: Three-year accredited undergraduate psychology sequence
- Make sure you finish your APAC-accredited program! This is the very first step to everything.

STEP 2: Fourth year accredited psychology studies
- This could be in the form of a Honours degree or Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology.

STEP 3: Internship pathway or postgraduate study to general registration
There are currently three pathways to general registration available to fourth year graduates. You may register with the Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA) to have provisional registration as you start on any of the below options.

OPTION ONE: 4 + 2 internship pathway
- The 4+2 pathway requires you to have supervised employment in a psychological role and provisional registration, before you embark on a two-year internship of supervised practice.

OPTION TWO: 5 +1 internship pathway
- The 5+1 pathway requires you to complete a one-year APAC-accredited Graduate Diploma of Professional Psychology (5th year) and to have provisional registration, followed by a one-year internship of supervised practice.

OPTION THREE: APAC-accredited postgraduate professional psychology degree
- This is the most common option
- Current types of APAC-accredited professional postgraduate degrees are Masters, Doctorate and Masters/PhD, involving coursework, placements and a thesis. Degrees are offered in the nine areas of psychological practice. This pathway requires that a candidate undertake a minimum two-year postgraduate degree (fifth and sixth year of study).
- A postgraduate student must hold provisional registration in order to undertake the supervised practice component of the course - otherwise known as a placement, which is usually part of the program.

Upon successful completion of any one of the options, candidates are eligible to apply for general registration as a psychologist with the PsyBA.

STEP 4: PsyBA Registrar Program
- This is to allow you to be get the practice endorsement in your area of speciality. An endorsement on registration indicates that a psychologist has additional training in an advanced area of practice, in addition to the minimum level of psychological training required for general registration. To qualify for an area of practice endorsement a psychologist must have advanced training over and above that which is required for General registration.
- In short, don't worry about it yet, till you get there...

For more details, please visit

    Jobs (Part 6): Why so strict??

    In terms of looking for psychological-related work, most employers tend to be really strict in making sure that your qualifications are of the required levels, and you may be even rejected without an interview, if you do not have the required qualifications in the first place.

    Why is this so?

    From a psychological point of view (rather than from the company's point of view), this should be done and is the right thing to do, i.e. to not employ people without having the right credentials and experiences. This is rather an ethical thing to do for the employers, as they are making sure that no harm be bestowed onto their clients.

    According to the revised APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (2010),
    2.01 Boundaries of Competence (a) Psychologists provide services, teach and conduct research with populations and in areas only within the boundaries of their competence, based on their education, training, supervised experience, consultation, study or professional experience.
    So do not provide services beyond what you can do, and if you feel like you are not competent, make sure you can get the appropriate and required training, otherwise make a referral.
    (b) Where scientific or professional knowledge in the discipline of psychology establishes that an understanding of factors associated with age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language or socioeconomic status is essential for effective implementation of their services or research, psychologists have or obtain the training, experience, consultation or supervision necessary to ensure the competence of their services, or they make appropriate referrals
    As for the companies, do not blame them, and try to understand from their point of view..
    (e) In those emerging areas in which generally recognized standards for preparatory training do not yet exist, psychologists nevertheless take reasonable steps to ensure the competence of their work and to protect clients/patients, students, supervisees, research participants, organizational clients and others from harm. 
    In conclusion: Do no harm.

    SGPsychStud: The search for knowledge in psychology

    Many students  (including myself previously) have this misconception that all the knowledge that you need can be found in your textbooks, so chunking on your textbook theories will allow you to become a good professional in the future. However this may not be very true.

    Unlike many other professionals, psychology is still a very young science, having been only around for slightly over 100 years (Yes! 100 years is considered young in science areas). Hence we still require a lot of knowledge, in terms of research to find out more about the human behaviour and mental processes. This knowledge should not be restricted to just reading the textbooks, as they would include talking to your lecturers, reading recent research articles, and even attending psychological events.

    To obtain all the knowledge you need in psychology is quite impossible, and it seems to be a new learning process everyday as you find out more about different aspects of psychology. As a student in psychology, you may find that your textbooks are already very overwhelming due to the amount of content. My advice: Wait till you get to go to a psychology conference! You may find yourself soaked in so much content, that you become so eager to go for the next day of the event. On top of that, you get to meet and listen (or even talk!) to the "superstars" of the psychological area: the main theorists and psychologists who may have came up with the theories in your textbooks (think Phillip ZimbardoElizabeth Loftus, and Martin Seligman)! It is highly possible that they are still alive, seeing that we are such a young science.

    To finish this post, my advice is: Don't just bury yourself in your books. Go out and experience psychology in its real form, in how it has been applied in our everyday lives, and then go back and analyse why it happens like that. Also make sure you get the latest psychological information and knowledge through recent research articles and by attending conferences and events. All this knowledge will definitely help in building up the psychologist in you!

    Advice for choosing Diplomas offered by PEIs

    This is a common alternative or starting point for people who are unable to start with the degree or local and non-private diploma programs. There are many reasons for people may choose to do these diplomas in the Private Education Institutes (PEIs); however due to the respect for privacy for them, this post will not be discussing about these issues. Another thing that would not be discussed would be the range of diplomas from the PEIs, as there are too many psychology diplomas offered in Singapore.
    For the whole list, please see this link from CPE or search via this link using the keyword of "psychology" in the Course Search and selecting all the different diplomas for the Course Level. As for the differences in the course levels, you might have to check with the staff from the respective PEIs to understand their differences in time frame taken to finish the program and differences in the program modules.

    So the topic for this post is: Which psychology diploma would be a good one to do or start?
    This definition of good is very vague, as I cannot decide what is good or bad for you. It really depends on your choice and current situation, that helps in making that decision of the PEI that you may want to enrol. You should first start by reading this list of factors that may help you make that decision.

    Here are some others that were add on to that list:
    1) Future education possibilities: Possibility to move from Diploma to Degree
    Unless your purpose of doing the diploma is only for interest, this is probably something to aim for - a degree. So make sure that doing the diploma can lead to you doing the the psychology degree. Some PEIs offer a psychology degree, other than only diplomas, which are awarded from their respective overseas universities. Taking the diploma and degree from the same PEI will allow some consistency in terms of the modules that you take. But again, make sure that the degree is permitted by CPE and accredited by APS or BPS.

    2) Quality of Program - Full or Part-time Lecturers
    Check with the staff if the lecturers are part-time or full-time lecturers. How important is this? This may not be very important, as most of the private programs in Singapore are usually taught by part-time lecturers. But this is highly related to the quality of the program, if you compare this aspect to other non-private schools (such as TP, NP, NYP, SP) providing diplomas. Relate this back to your previous education and ask yourself: "what if you have a part-time teacher vs a full-time teacher teaching you in your secondary school subject?" "What would the difference be?" I believe you would choose to have a full-time lecturer teaching you, rather than a part-time one, if possible.

    There are many other factors that may affect your choices, such as the administrative and organisational matters of the PEIs (which may not be under your control). You just have to think about what the most important factors are for you, affecting your choice for your diploma.
    The start of your new education or career path is in your hands.

    Accreditation of Australian programs in Singapore

    Some of them may be thinking of doing an Australian degree, such as to enable you to get into a Australian postgraduate program more easily. This is very possible, because if the program is accredited in Australia and you are doing it in Singapore, you are pretty much doing that same program recognised by APAC, just only in a different venue! This is very common in Australia, as they do offer many distance learning programs for other areas of study as well.

    This will enable you to do an Australian degree and yet all your other expenses at a Singaporean rate: though  school fees might be slighter higher than usual, but you save some money paying for Singaporean food and your family by your side. Main question is: What Australian degrees have been accredited in Singapore?

    Accreditation for psychological programs in Australia are done by APAC (Australian Psychology Accreditation Council), who checks the quality of each and every psychology program from Australia to see if they are up to standard. These are the reasons from APAC why accreditation is required:

    "The accreditation process ensures that standards of education and training in psychology offered by higher education providers are high and are rigorously maintained. Students must complete courses which are first accredited by APAC and then subsequently approved by the Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA) to be eligible for registration as a psychologist .
    APAC accredits psychology courses and works with higher education providers to ensure continuous improvement of quality. This ensures that the courses:
    • are evidence-based
    • are up-to-date
    • use high quality and empirically supported teaching methods
    • produce graduates with a commitment to lifelong learning, with strong psychological literacy
    • where applicable, provide suitable competencies for graduates to enter the psychology profession."
    Sounds really good to study in an accredited program...
    So which psychology degree programs are accredited by APAC?
    Here's the link:

    However, always make sure that the program is also approved by CPE and that you have thought about and read my list of factors for which PEI is more suitable for you.

    How to study for my psychology exams? Part 2 - Preparation

    Studying for exams always require a lot of preparation. As mentioned earlier, you need to have studied the materials in some ways or methods before you start preparing for the exams. You will need to read through all the material thoroughly, if you have not studied anything during the semester. 

    So what would be the results of good preparation for the exams? This would probably result in you being so well-prepared to answer most of the questions and pass the exam. However
    I always believe it is a must to go through the material at least three or four times, in order to have some familiarity for the material. For most people, they might only go through the material twice - once when the lecturer is going through the notes and the second time when they are reading (for the first time) to prepare for exam.

    So how are you going to get the recommended three to four, or even five, times of going through the material? Here are some steps to achieve those numbers of times:
    1. Reading your lecture materials before the lectures and classes; even browsing through the lecture notes is good.
    2. Listening attentive in class and asking questions when in doubt - being critical and asking questions would mean that you are understanding and "digesting" the material.
    3.  If you are still unclear after the lectures/tutorials, make sure you read through the textbooks and ask the lecturers until you are clear of the doubts.
    4. Do brief write-ups answering the individual chapter objectives. These are usually available in the first pages of the chapters or in your lecture notes. These write-ups are like summaries of the chapters, including all the main words, definitions, and theories. Make sure you do up a system to differentiate between these things, such as main words (in bold), definitions (in italics), and theories (in bold and italics). Doing this counts for 2 times of revision, as you have (1) read the material and (2) typed or written that out. I would recommend doing this because it becomes more efficient later when you start revising; reading 4 to 6 pages of your own write-up would definitely take less time than reading 30 to 50 pages of the textbook chapter.
    Caution: It is recommended to do this soon after the lectures, as your memories would be fresh of what the important things to take note of. It may take several hours to days to do the write-up depending on how much content the chapter has. From my experience, it take about 10 to 14 days for each module/subject.
    5. Go through the write-ups at least twice and do as much practice as possible before the exams.

    My recommendations: Put down the dates for assignments and exams as early as possible in your diaries. Always start doing your assignments two weeks before the due dates; if assignments due dates clash, then start three or four weeks for them. Always start preparing for each of your exams four weeks before the actual day, to carry out the above Steps 4 and 5, two weeks for each step.  Lastly, make sure to include these start dates of the assignments and exams in the diaries too.

    These above recommended methods have proved successful for the author. Hope they are as effective for your own preparation!!

    Make sure you read Part 1 and 3 as well!!!

    SGPsychStud: Selling your psychology textbooks???

    This is a common act among university students, as observed on their university psychology Facebook group pages recently.  Question for this post is:  Should you be selling your psychology textbooks or keeping them for your own future references??

    I have to admit this post is of my own opinions and you might have differing opinions, for the simple fact that humans are different.  So please read with a large pinch of salt.

    For myself, I always like to get my textbooks new - just me to like to have new books.  Knowledge is power, isn't it?  I do have most of my undergraduate books at home, stacking up and building into a mini psychological library of different topics.  There are definitely books that I have picked up again and again, such as the APA Publication Manual and my statistics textbooks.  But what about those which were shelved there and never picked up since?  They always reminded me of the days when I have studied them and even from just looking at them, I am reminded of the material that I have studied.

    Have I sold my textbooks before?  No - because I never know when I may need them one day.
    Have I bought second-hand books before?  No - I just like them new, I just said it right? But if they are free, why not?
    Have I ever used second-hand books?  Yes, definitely read and borrowed books from libraries and friends, but if I find that the book is so good that it is worth to keep, I will definitely get a copy myself.

    I do not know why you may be selling your textbooks.  Maybe they are of not use to you any more, maybe you need the cash, maybe you know all the knowledge in the books, but definitely those books would be useful to you one day as a psychologist.
    I am no one to judge your actions, simply because we are all different, and it is always your choice of whether you want to sell your textbooks or not.  For me, I still like looking at my mini-library, and  my expanding book lists.

    SGPsychStud: Number of psychologists in Singapore??

    This is not a common question that I get, but some people may ask this question. Is there a lot of psychologists in Singapore? or How many psychologists are there in Singapore?
    With the knowledge that we have so many students doing psychology, both full-time and part-time, diplomas and degrees, local and private schools, and obviously a big batch of students graduating every year...But how many psychologists are out there in Singapore?

    My answer: Many...Question is how many are truly registered in the Singapore Register of Psychologists?
    (Please read the posts under the Registration label to have an understanding of registration).

    Only after being registered and get yourself the title of "Registered Psychologist (Singapore)", should you then be able call yourself a psychologist (in my opinion). This is the similar situation in all other psychological countries of authority (US, UK, and Australia). However there are many "psychologists" out there in Singapore, regardless of having the qualifications and competence or not. If you do have them, why are you not registered yet?

    To truly answer the question of the title in an accurate manner: There are only 199 Registered Psychologists currently in Singapore according to this list, as at 14 August 2012.
    (Update: 227 registered psychologists as checked on 14 August 2013; and 236 registered psychologists as checked on 14 August 2014)

    Question for psychologists out there: Are you competent enough in terms of "education, training, supervised experience and appropriate professional experience" to be a registered psychologist in Singapore? Why are you not registered? What is stopping you from registering in the SRP? Why do you choose not to be registered and given that recognition?

    How to study for my psychology exams?? Part 1 - Introduction and Recognition

    As psychology students, we should make what we study work for us too, and not just for our clients. If we can make these strategies work for us, they should work pretty well for them too. This is the same for studying. Let's not put what we have studied to waste.

    So how should we study? This should work for all types of exams and not only psychology exams.

    I presume everyone who did at least an Introduction to Psychology or Foundation Psychology would have come across the chapter of "Memory". In this chapter, one of the most practical methods of memory (in my opinion) is  Recognition and Recall.

    What is recognition and recall??
    Recognition is to come up with the answer when provided with a cue or other information related to the answer. Recall is to come up with the answer from the memory yourself.
    In your brain, recognition involves a process of comparison of information with memory (familiarity). Recall involves a search of memory and then the comparison process once something is found (retrieval). There is a long story about the types of memory, interferences and effects (blah blah blah) keeping the long story short, let's move on the practical side of it.

    Before doing your FINAL revision for exam, you must first have some basic understanding of your topic material; if you do NOT understand any of it or do NOT have any memory of learning it, please go through the topic material first.

    Based on these two, I firstly assume that it will be easier for me to "pull out" this memory, if I "insert" it in a similar fashion - which is that if I require Recall to "pull out" chunks of memory, I will "insert" them in by remembering these chunks of information. Hence firstly, here is the way I classify the types of exam formats, based on recognition and recall:
    Multiple choice questions (MCQ) - recognition, because cues or clues are usually given - just have to read properly and watch out for them
    Short answers - recognition, for similar reasons as MCQ
    Long answer / Essay - recall, because need to remember chunks of information

    So if the exam format is MCQ or short answers, I will not go and memorise chunks of information, but instead try to do a chart where I can link up words or information that often appear together.
    Example: Classical conditioning - Pavlov - dogs - UCS/CS/NS/UCR/CR - forward/simultaneous/backward conditioning. So when the word "classical conditioning" comes up, you will remember the other words as well.
    Possible good methods to do it are to do mind maps or charts where associated words are linked up. The methods are up to you to make it interesting enough for yourself to remember; if it is interesting for you, it will be easier for you to remember.
    Another way that I would recommend to improve recognition is to go through the material the way you will be tested. For the MCQ, the more times you go through similar methods of testing and similar questions, the easier to recall for your exams later. Hence for your revision, you can probably try out these methods.

    Make sure you read Part 2 and 3 as well!!!

    SGPsychStud: V.I.P. (Volunteering/Internship Project)

    Some of you may know that currently there are plans to create a job attachment/internship or volunteer work database to assist students to get some experience during their undergraduate studies. Here's the link for the information:

    This is to help students, whose schools do not supply them, to get some experience as they are doing their diplomas or degrees. From my understanding, this might not be much of an issue for the the students doing the local diplomas (in polytechnics like SP, TP, NP), as they will have to do internship which should be part of the diploma programme. However this may not be the same for students who are doing their diplomas or degrees in private education institutions (PEI).

    In psychology degree courses, internship is usually not offered, unless the students are initiative enough to get some internship themselves or do some volunteer work that are psychology-related. This practicing of internship is usually done during or after the postgraduate programs, depending on whether they are provided in the program (which some don't). There is the issue with supervision if internship is taken up, which will discussed in another post.  

    But how important is experience to a psychologist or person who plans to work in this field? It was all explained in this previous post. The issue here for this post is about how you are getting access to all these information to the organisations to get your internship. If it is provided by your school, good for you. If not, where are going to get all these experience? This is the one of the purposes of this project.

    Another purpose of the project to give students the opportunity to do some volunteer work, allowing them to experience how psychological work is done in the real world, and to contribute back to the society.
    For interested parties (both organisations with vancanies and students who are interested), please send me an email at and provide the following information:

    Organisations: Name of company/Position name/Position duties/Working Hours/Internship or Volunteer work/Contact person/Contact details
    Students: Name/University or Educational Institute/Program and which year of program/Contact details/Availability

    Confidentiality of the organisations/students will be protected at a highest possible level. This is a free service provided by the blogger to help students and the companies doing psychological work, and not related to any other companies/societies/institutions.
    *Please note that this project is Singapore-based, and does not include opportunities from other countries.*

    Postgraduate studies or Work after Bachelors? Local/overseas studies?

    Many of you might have this dilemma, as you come towards the end of your Bachelors studies. Should you take a few years more to finish up with your postgraduate studies (Masters/Phd) or proceed to work straight away? This is a very common discussion among students.

    There are many things to consider and it is really a case-by-case basis for different students.
    If you plan to become a psychologist, there is no other route other than do a Masters/Phd program in Psychology. But the question is now? or later? If there are no plans to further your studies, probably going to work directly is the next best direction to move on too. But for those who are in these dilemmas of studies/work and local/overseas studies, here are some of the things that you might consider:

    1) Money
    Taking up studies require money, and unless you have a scholarship or some methods to have your fees paid for you, you may need up to tens of thousands in order to do the studies. Even a government loan or bank loan is still a loan and still needs to be paid. If you plan to go overseas for your postgraduate studies, the money required may be even higher.
    Do you have the money to do the studies? If not, will going to work first be a better choice?

    2) Local or overseas studies? Things to consider?
    Are you planning to do the studies locally or overseas? Are you okay to move overseas for a few years for your studies? There are many issues to consider with moving overseas, such as: if your family are okay with it, any financial issues, lifestyle considerations, etc.? Moving overseas is not as simple as moving home, as there are many problems and issues caused by the chain effect of moving overseas.

    3) Which area/specialisation of psychology? Which university?
    Do you know which specialisation of psychology you want to do for your postgraduate studies? This is one thing to consider as this will determine your future career as a psychologist. Depending on your choice of specialisation, you could look at which local/overseas university offers it. This is because not all universities offer the choice that you may want, although clinical psychology could be one that is offered in almost all universities.

    4) If you decided to go overseas, what is your method of sustaining and supporting yourself?
    Unless you have good financial support or rather an "all-expenses-paid-for" way to do your postgraduate studies, you will definitely require some way to sustain your expenses overseas. Adapting and accommodating to overseas environment and cultures may not tend to be difficult to most of us, but it will be your expenditure that will cause issues. So you might have to plan before you move overseas, on whether how much you are allocating to the expenditure per month to control the "damage" and whether you plan to work overseas.

    Hope this post has helped you think through on whether you want to do your postgraduate studies or work. If you have any more questions about choices, feel free to send them to my email!

    Stage 6: Reflections of a Singaporean Masters student

    To many individuals, doing Masters would mean an MBA. This is especially so during catch up and
    gatherings when I tell different friends that I am currently doing my Masters, they would go all be
    thinking about the former. So it would usually become a conversational starter when I tell them, “uh nope, I am actually doing a Masters in Applied Psychology”. And about 50% of the time I get comments such as “so you can read minds right, I need to be careful of you”. Some go ahead further and joke about how you’d be a master in mind reading. Yeah I lost count of the number of witty responses I’ve generated depending on my mood for the day. And as we know studying isn’t exactly the best thing in the world, so sometimes I just give brutually honest answers which make the uninformed feel more informed albeit not in the best way.

    So I started the journey of this Masters programme about a year and a half ago, and I’ve probably
    another year and a half to go before I don that funny looking headgear which makes me a Masters graduate. It had been a great adventure so far; we have the usual sleepless nights, hair tearing moments, painful thumb syndrome (all from texting your classmates and checking in on how each of them is progressing in their assignments when you’ve yet to even go beyond typing your matriculation number at the top of the page,yes it happens!) and the heart in throat moments when you receive a text message telling you that results are out. It's all part of student life, undergraduate or post graduate, they’re all the same. The only difference between my undergraduate and postgraduate studies is perhaps the course in my Masters programme is more hands on and refreshing as there are 2 practicum modules which makes it way more interesting and exciting than just attempting to swallow your textbook and regurgitate it in the same form.

    Practicum last for a year for the applied Masters programme and during this time, we get placed at
    schools (special,mainstream) or hospitals. Practicum is probably the most exciting part of the course
    because the textbooks which you’ve been reading suddenly come to life as you get assigned to cases by your site. Aside from dealing with children with all kinds of behavioural problems and issues that are awaiting their diagnoses, you may deal with overly-anxious parents (yes, tiger mothers and kiasu parents included), teachers and sometimes cases that are referred by doctors (we are the side kicks, yeah! ). The practicum provides for hands-on practice in using the various assessment tools, and also for the Y-generation who is always facing their Ipad and Iphones: a chance to practice and hone their communication and interpersonal skills. So really, an applied masters programme is 50% application, 30% coursework, and 20% communication skills sharpening.


    Sport Psychology and Sports Success: Introduction to Sport Psychology

    Sport Psychology and Sports Success

    Frank Jing-Horng Lu
    National Taiwan Sport University

    Recently I finished a book’s chapter titled “Golf in Taiwan: A Case of Social and Family Influences on Talent Development.” I use Taiwanese women elite golfer Yani Tseng’s story as example to depict how social others and family members contribute to her success. This book is tentatively titled “Secrets of Asian Sport Psychology” will be published soon in an open access.

    One of the missions of sport psychology is to study why people success in sport (under a label of “talent development.”) In my chapter, I found Yani’s success comprised many social-psychological components. One of these components is her parent’s role in cultivating her talent---unconditioned care and love, provided with sufficient sources, and planned with high quality education, all of these make her success. Also, her parents arranged experts in golf and language so promote her abilities in every aspect. Also, they sent her participating in many youth golf development programs either in domestic or abroad such as Australia Hill Academy and U.S. Youth Golf Tours to accumulate her experiences and skills. These developmental opportunities make Yani unique and exceptional.

    In addition to social influence, I also introduced some examples of how sport psychology skills underlie her success. She is not success all the way to her peak. She encountered many set backs and slumps in her career. The most significant psychological skill lesson she learnt was from a well-known sport psychologist ---Dr. Deborah Graham. In 2009, Yani came to see Dr. Graham with a terrible set-back because she could not enter a qualified round in the middle of that year (actually she was pretty sharp in the beginning of the year). At their first meet, Dr. Graham tried to find Yani’s problems by interviews. After several talks Dr. Graham completely understood the major problems, she used a combination of goal setting and concentration skills eliminated Yani’ negative thoughts and altered mental state. The program was very successful. Later, Yani improved quite a lot and became concentrated and confident in every shot and competitions, and had a successful outcome in 2010, 2011, and 2012.

    Sport psychology is an interesting field in sport sciences. It includes many topics such as psychological skills, motivation, personality, group dynamics, social influences, moral development, burnout, psychology of sport injury, positive psychology (such as mindfulness, resilience, and peak experience) to name a few. If you like sport psychology, I welcome you contact sport psychology scholars near you, or visit professional sport psychology websites such as Asian South Pacific Association Of Sport Psychology (ASPASP)Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP), International Society of Sport Psychology (ISSP)North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity (NASPSPA). You will find something you like and have a different world in your life.

    Academic requirements for local psychology diplomas and degrees

    Psychology is becoming such a popular subject and program that there are a lot of schools (private and government-funded) that offers psychology programs. In this post, I will mainly focus on the local and non-private institutions as they tend to be the most popular, and the ones which tend to be thought of first when considering for diploma and degree programs. The programs that will focused on are from: SP (Singapore Polytechnic), NP (Ngee Ann Polytechnic), TP (Temasek Polytechnic), NUS, NTU, and SMU.
    There are actually many psychology diploma and degree programs in Singapore that are being offered in private institutions, but in order not to confuse the readers, only those mentioned above would be looked at. To find out more, please contact the individual private institutions for the diplomas and degrees.

    There is the assumption in this post that readers understand the Singaporean education system with the 'O' levels, 'A' levels, and diplomas, and their grading systems, so I will not go much into them.

    For the diplomas:
    These cut-off points are based on ELR2B2: (Please refer to the websites for more details)
    EL=English Language; R2=Two relevant subjects; B2=Any two other subjects excluding CCA
    SP Programs:  Applied Drama and PsychologyHuman Resource Management with Psychology (Cut-off for Both: 12)
    NP Programs: Psychological Studies (Cut-off: 9) / Child Psychology and Early Childhood (Cut-off: 12)
    TP Programs: Psychological Studies (Cut-off: 9)

    For the degrees: (This are represented by their current year entry students' 3H2/1H1 and polytechnic GPA grades and stated by 10th <lowest minimum> and 90th <safest to be confirmed> percentile)
    NUS (2011/12)3H2/1H1: 10th - ABB/C, 90% - AAA/A.  GPA: 10th - 3.68, 90% - 3.89
    (Additional criteria - Students must obtain at least a B-grade in each of these modules during their first year of the program: PL1101E and PL2131)
    NTU (2011/12)3H2/1H1: 10th - BBB/C, 90% - AAA/A.  GPA: 10th - 3.67, 90% - 3.91
    SMU (2011/12)3H2/1H1: 10th - BBB/C, 90% - AAA/A.  GPA: 10th - 3.63, 90% - 3.89

    Please note that this cut-off points tend to change from year to year, and hence if you are looking at this list in 2013, it might be different. Hope this will help students who wish to do psychology and preparing for their exams to have an aim towards getting good grades to enter university!

    For the updated version of 2012/13, please view here!

    Jobs (Part 5): Why are they so hard to find??? Part 2

    What else can you do if you still cannot find a job?
    Remember the median duration of employment is 8 to 10 weeks, so it is okay if you are a few weeks away.

    My advice would be to keep looking; because that is the one of the few things you can do. The other things you could do is to further your studies, or continue networking in your psychological area of interest, as this will make sure you keep in touch with people in the field, or even volunteer in some psychological-related work.
    For job searches, must sure you research into the areas you might be interested in (social work/counselling/areas of psychology) and refine your search in those areas and those related companies. That would depend on your background, experiences, skills and abilities that you have, that might help you decide. Here's a read for some more advice.

    However, the question might also vary between "Have you found a job?", and "Have you found a job you like?"
    Often people may just take any job that comes, as that might just be one of the few companies that replied. You might say "Beggars can't be choosers". However it would just be another choice you made to take up that position you were given.
    One way to prevent this is to do some practicum/work experience/internship to understand the nature of the jobs and, most importantly, what you want to get out of your professional career. Hence this states again for the importance of practicum/work experience/internship. This experience can also help in the networking of your career.

    Most importantly, you should always know what you are looking for in the job and which area of psychology you are interested in, as this will help towards your satisfaction of the job.

    But always remember: the salary you get may not be proportional to your years of studies. Which is more important to you? Money or Passion for Psychology?

    Jobs (Part 4): Why are they so hard to find??? Part 1

    Lately there have been some posts on the SPS Facebook Page on this topic, which set me wondering on this topic. Are jobs in psychology really that hard to find? What is the problem behind this?

    According to the Ministry of Manpower, the median duration of unemployment for the last 3 years has been 8 to 10 weeks. So if you have been unemployed or have not found a job for a month, do not panic, as there are more others like you.   

    But the question is why do psychology students have issues finding jobs? (These reasons are of the author's opinions, and may not be 100% accurate)

    1) Psychology degrees are general degrees. 
    Honestly, psychology degrees (undergraduate and diploma level) are often seen as general degrees by many employers. When asked about your specialisation, "I specialise in psychology" never seemed like a good enough reply, as Psychology is a very broad topic of study. Psychology is the philosophy of human behaviour and thoughts (in my opinion), hence it is definitely a good basic degree to have, but it covers a VERY LARGE range of topics required for one to become a psychologist. But "Jack of all trades, master of none" do not seem to be a good employee for some organisations. 

    2) Lack of experience in the field. 
    Some psychology programs do not require students to undertake internship/work placements. If yours does, good for you. Without these extra "real" experience, there is often nothing else much to brag to your employer about other than the knowledge you have got from your books. With the experience, you will then be able to connect "theories" to "experience". As mentioned before, "All the theories learnt would forever be theories that you have learnt, but not something to be applied, if they were not being experienced before. With real experience, you will see the theories becoming true and knowledge that you have learnt to become applicable. Things will start to make sense from a psychological point of view."  

    3) Disparity of job expectancies and salaries
    After three to four years of studying to get a psychology degree, most people would think that they might get a job as a counsellor or social worker, and others. Yes, not a psychologist. It has been said and explained in this post, so stop thinking about it. However, even getting a counsellor/social worker position requires some luck too, as it will depend on the organisations and the demand during the period when you start to search. 
    The disappointing part of the search is the point where you may find that the position offered is actually of a much lower grade and of a lower salary (which could be due to the prestige and recognition of psychology in Singapore and other issues). Question is "Will you take the job after a long 8-to-10-week job search?"

    There may be other reasons and answers to the above question, and these may not be the ones affecting you. But they are definitely some issues for some psychology students out there. If you have one that is not in this list, leave a message or email me and I can add it in. Thanks. 

    To be continued (Part 5)....

    Analogies: The Healthy Diet Pyramid

    I have brought this analogy up in previous posts but it may not be obvious to how it also symbols the education and work specificity of people studying psychology. This is something we all learnt in primary and secondary schools in Singapore in health education. It is the Healthy Diet Pyramid.

    This picture is from the Health Promotion Board of Singapore. For more details, please view here.

    So how does this pyramid represent the educational levels and jobs in psychology?

    As for educational levels, it can be seen with the bachelors degree holders being at the lowest level, and honours degree holders at the middle levels, and the postgraduate degree holders at the highest level. In here, the pyramid is based on the number of students who are doing the respective levels of studies. As you go up the pyramid, the path to becoming a psychologist gets tougher, as it gets more difficult to enrol into the programs after the undergraduate one. Here is the post that mentioned about this pyramid.

    As for work specificity in psychology, the pyramid is similar to the previous one with the bachelors at the lowest level and the postgraduates at the top; the main difference is that the jobs get from being less specific to most specific towards the top. The below descriptions from this Jobs post explained it very clearly. 
    Diplomas/Degree holders: A lot of jobs to choose from, however they tend to be more general and of a lower status level and pay.
    Honours Degree Holders: Jobs may include those of the degree holders as well, but fewer jobs as they now become more specific such as research assistants.
    Masters/Postgraduate Degree holders: Jobs now become very very specific and little. Common jobs include psychologists, lecturers and tutors. 

    Studies and jobs, all within one simple pyramid.

    Stage 2: Reflections of a part-time undergraduate student

    People say life in university is probably one of the most exciting moments in a lifetime; my guess would be that this is directly referring to students doing full time programme in the campus itself.  As for myself, being a part time student was not really something enjoyable.  Having to take up a double life as company employee by the day and student by the night is a task that drains up lot of energy.  That is also a doubled up anxiety to handle, given that there are both goals to achieve in work and study at the same time.

    However, there are interesting things about being a part time student.  Sometimes one may wonder where on earth the energy comes from, despite being near to burnt-out after spending close to 9 hours average daily in the office environment.  That is all thanks to passion built to carry on studying in a field of one's own interest.  As an undergraduate student, the time committed to subjects (despite being in the working class) were no less different than an individual doing their bachelor degree in the full time environment.  That literally means work life is not an option to serve as an excuse shall one fail to complete a set of given activity or assignments on time because the expectations, may it be full time or part time students, are of equal standards.

    The only advantage being a part time student probably will be the longer time frame given to complete the entire programme versus the full time candidates.  This leads to one beginning to think if we should spend longer time to graduate or bear with momentary pain to complete the course to enjoy the fruits of hard labour in the shortest time possible?  That will depend on how important the program means to each individual.


    Stage 9: Reflections of a fresh graduate from a Masters program

    I’m an Australian woman in my early 40’s and came to psychology quite late. Having served Australia in the RAAF and worked in adult education as a computer lecturer, I got up one morning and realised all I had ever wanted to be was a psychologist – the classic epiphany. That was in July 2005. I started study almost immediately, and have recently submitted my thesis to finalise my Masters in Psychology (Forensic), through James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland. I was able to register as a psychologist in August 2011.
    I pursued my undergrad degree and honours, with a heap of credit from a previous degree externally through USQ in Toowoomba. I then underwent my Masters by block attendance in Townsville – which was quite a commute from my home state of South Australia. I thoroughly enjoyed my study, and struggled to see how one can be an effective psychologist without the learning implicit in a Masters level qualification. I gained excellent and varied experience in my placements, with placements at a men’s Labour Prison, a Child Development Unit specialising in autism,  a private practise forensic psychologist, and at the university clinic in Townsville. All of these, excepting the clinic, were completed in Adelaide. I secured contract employment with the prison after my placement, which is always nice.

    In September 2011, I moved to Tasmania, and although a very early career, I went straight into private practise, and I love it! I am largely doing therapy work, much of it sourced through the local probation and parole office, and so I get to use my forensic training. Some days it’s hard and I feel out of my depth, but I consult my peers and the research for guidance constantly. I know I’m fairly green to be out on my own, but I live in a regional city and didn’t want to work for government full-time or rehab providers. I’m also a bit of an autism specialist and am moving into delivering social skills programs for kids in the local community where no other services exist. My own son is diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome so this is a bit of a long standing interest for me. I’m also doing a few days a week with the local Education Department, and have built new networks and friends through that work. They are very supportive, and given the shortage of psychs in Tasmania willing to do the work, they’re as grateful to have me as I am to do the work.
    Being on my own, and not in a practise with others is a challenge, but my business is growing every day. I love doing educational and forensic work, and hope in the future to be able to do more assessment and report writing than therapy work, in particular for defence lawyers. The reality is that breaking into that market can take time, and given I’m in a regional city, I have to create the market too.
    Professionally, making new networks is an ongoing challenge and pleasure. I love meeting the psychologists and associated professions here, and I hope that we both learn from each other. I am a member of the Australian Psychological Society and the Australia New Zealand Association for Psychiatry, Psychology and the Law, and value the benefits of both organisations both to my personal and professional development.

    I have never regretted my chosen path, even for a minute. The study was long and arduous at times, and sometimes I have to work long hours. I have to kick myself sometimes and say “You ARE a psychologist”. And you know, when a client session comes together and they walk out, it’s a great feeling knowing that we do make a difference in more ways than we realise, and that all those years of study were worth every minute.


    SGPsychStud: Analogies - The passenger and the driver

    I often think about psychological things and how things work whenever I take a ride. This next analogy took place when I was in a car ride.

    The analogy that I thought of was: Doing counselling or being a counsellor or therapist in a counselling session is just like taking a car ride.

    With the client being the driver, the therapist would be in the passenger seat. Counselling is done normally with the client being the one in charge of directing the "wheel" or the session, and the therapist's role is to sit by the client's side, experiencing what the driver is experiencing.
    Being empathic, the therapist would (or try to) experience similar things as the client, which helps in improving their relationship and as well as reaching the "destination", which is towards resolving the client's issue.
    The driver is often usually seeing only the "outside" of the car, which is similar to clients only focusing on the issues. But as the passenger, the therapist can not only see the issues, he can also see what is happening in the inner thoughts of the driver, by paying attention to what is happening in the car.

    Work of the therapist is not just noticing the "inner" thoughts and "outer" experiences, but also to see how they link to each other, to find the link between the experiences and thoughts, which will help in identifying the conflict in the client.

    Yes the client is the driver, but the therapist's job is to help the client get to the "destination" of resolving the issue. So through identifying the conflict, the passenger can then point the driver to how to get to the destination, but getting there is still the driver's responsibility. The therapist can point out the issue and help the client in resolving the issue, but the choice of resolution is still in the client's hands.

    (Hope this analogy is not too difficult to understand. If anyone have any issues in understanding or have any comments about it, feel free to comment. If responses are receptive, there may be more future analogies. Thanks!)    

    SGPsychStud: Do you have a goal? What is your goal?

    Being in the month of May, many students would have finished or would be finishing their exams soon. For some of you, this period marks the beginning of your new semesters or time to have a break. So this might be a good time to do some reflection looking at yourself and asking yourself why you are studying what you are studying. This post may not only apply to psychology students but rather all students.

    The question here is: Do you have a goal? What is your goal?

    A phenomenon I noticed (since the years I have been teaching tuition) in students, especially younger students, do not really have a goal. They seemed to be purely studying for the sake of studying. If they were asked why do you need to study, an answer often heard would be because "I have to" or "need to", but this does not really answer the "why". Think about it. They could have given an answer towards their preferred future occupation or dreams, but studying seemed to have become a daily action that is required to be done for the sake of doing it.

    But this may not be the case for students who are doing tertiary studies as they may have chosen their education path due to their choice of future possible careers. I used "may" in the last sentence, as there are students who chose the certain diplomas or degrees because those are the only ones they may be able to get in.

    It is ideal to have a goal, to know where you are going and what you are striving for. With a goal, there is direction, an aim and an reason for why you are studying what you are studying.

    Do you have a goal? What is your goal in psychology?

    Stage 5: Reflections of a working mum with a psychological degree

    How does psychology affect me in my work and daily lives?

    Well, having two kids, with my parents-in-law staying with us, has definitely been very challenging. For example, having to change my behavioural styles and communication with my kids as a mother because they see me as a role model, and controlling my unnecessary bad temper and mood swings to communicate with my kids in a manner that they will learn to be better persons. 
    G., my elder daughter was full of jealousy when her baby sister came to join our family. How did I realise? This was through being more sensitive to her behaviour and her communication methods. She had shown and proven that she was unhappy with a lot of things that concerned her younger sister, J. Thank god, I picked up on her negative thinking and managed to save (or rather minimize) this continuation of bad behaviour in her. Now her management skills and tolerant levels are better. However, my job does not stop here. It was not even a job. It was a responsibility, a huge one in making sure they grew up as better persons. I believe in giving them the childhood that they need, making sure they are happy at the same time having discipline at a very young age.
    At work, psychology too had helped me recognise certain elements that may lead to stress. Understanding people's behaviour helped me in handling them better. I don't believe in stress-free working environments unless you got no objective or dateline to meet. However by recognizing that I am stressed, I can learn to manage them. Hence I believe it is very important to manage your stress at work, and only then, you will produce effectiveness and efficiency in your work.


    Stage 7: Reflections of a Phd Candidate

    My supervisor once told me that undertaking a PhD is like running a marathon – it’s more about endurance and perseverance than intellect. My seniors told me that a PhD should come with a health warning, that I should brace myself for the worst. My parents wondered why I was putting off a full time psychologist job to undertake something that won’t necessarily result in a pay rise. Having just past my first year milestone, I often reflect on my reasons for undertaking a PhD, and what it means to me. After all, in the past year, I’ve had my fair share of health hazards – sleep deprivation, non-existent social life, irregular meals, and low self-esteem (supervisor tells me my work is very undergraduate) to name a few. But, I’ve had the opportunity to work with the world’s best in Alzheimer’s disease research, to push my creative and intellectual capacities to limits I never knew I had, to really make a difference in a field I’m passionate about, and come to the realization that I have an amazing support network. In my often sleep deprived state, I find myself being grateful for this rare opportunity to indulge my interest in neuroscience, psychology, and cognition. So even with all the hazards, I can safely say that I’m loving it, and I’m certainly having fun. And there's a lot that's been done for less.


    SGPsychStud - Working and Studying: Advisable??

    Some students doing their psychological studies may be working a full-time (FT) job at the same time. This is quite common especially for those doing their studies in a PEI (private education institute). The question is: Can you handle all the load???

    Often it is assumed that if you are studying in a night course, you are doing a part-time (PT) program. However in fact, if you are doing a university degree with three or more subjects, you are actually doing a FT load, according to most universities. A usual FT load for universities are 4 subjects. Better check with your university and ask if it is a FT/PT load, rather that if it is a FT/PT program. You might actually be doing a night program with a FT load.

     Is it a good way of working out the program as you work? Definitely not!
    Yes you do get to finish the program faster, if you choose to do it full-time. However if you are working as well, this could take a terrible toil on you. Let's do some calculations.

    Assuming you have a FT job (8am to 5/6pm) and taking up a program with FT load (hence requiring 40 hours each week including the lectures and tutorials of 3 sessions a week, and time taken up for readings and assignments):
    Out of 5 weekdays, 3 are gone due to the lectures and tutorials, hence leaving out 2 weekday nights and the weekends. In those days, assuming everyone sleeps a normal 6 to 8 hours sleep (which most don't), you are left with about 4 to 5 hours per weeknight and 16 to 18 hours for the each weekend, which adds up to a total of 40 to 45 hours. This remaining hours will include travelling time between home and work, and eating time.  But you need another 30ish hours for your work other than classes, which means you probably only have around 10 hours left for travelling and food over 2 weekends and the weekends.
    (This timings are estimates and varies from person to person, depending on amount of time you need for your various activities.)

    Is that enough time for you? You decide...
    My advice for students are "Manage your time"; time management is extremely important if you plan to do a FT job and a program with a FT load at the same time. If it is possible, do one FT and one PT, either work or studies, but probably not those two FT together.