Let’s have a *drum roll* for my favourite paper of the entire year and the final paper review of 2021!
HLTHPSYC 122 is one of the core papers for the BHSc degree in first year offered by the School of Population Health. It’s one of the non-core papers that are taken in Semester 2 alongside HLTHPSYC 122 (and MEDSCI 142 if you’re going for a clinical programme). It’s also a core paper for Medical Imaging (BMedImag (Hons)) and Nursing (BNurs), as well as taken by some Arts and Science students.
I took this course in Semester 2 of 2021 which was affected by the August 2021 lockdown. Therefore my experiences are going to be very different from students from other years. However, this was my favourite course of the year and the paper I did the best in. While there’s a lot of content, all of it is very interesting and is related to helping patients get the best treatment possible by understanding their psychology.*
*Remember that this is based on my own experience when I took the course in 2021. The course may have changed and you’re definitely not going to have the exact same experience as me!
- Content = 5/5 — The content of this course is so relevant to clinical skills and looking after patients that I’m really surprised the other clinical programmes don’t have to take this course.
- Delivery of Lectures/Information = 4/5 — Because of online learning I didn’t really get a good feel for the rest of the lectures. However, what I managed to see was really good from most (if not all) lecturers.
- Teaching Staff = 4.5/5 — Everyone in the HLTHPSYC 122 teaching staff is super friendly and lovely to deal with from what I encountered! They are always open to answering questions and making sure you understand the assignment’s expectations
- Course Organisation = 4/5 — Everything is very very organised on Canvas and the marking schedule for the assignment is super duper clear that there shouldn’t be any issues at all. They even moved our whole assignment timeline back by a week to accommodate for the lockdown
- Assessments = 4/5 —Very fair and easy to get good marks in as long as you know your stuff!
- Tutorials = 5/5 — The tutors were amazing and they were interactive (without too much group work) which is a big plus for me. They were also very well structured and often finished quicker than expected.
- Overall = 4.42/5(A) —My highest rating to date as this course was basically the highlight of my year! ALSO YOU DON’T NEED THE BOOK — spend your money on food or something else more useful :’)
Assessments and Weighting
- Quizzes = 10%
- Formative Project Plan = 5%
- Assignments/Project Plan = 25%
- Test = 20%
- Final Exam = 40%
The lectures for HLTHPSYC 122 are split into 5 (technically 4) modules with two lectures each week (gl for that 8am lecture time lol). They are taken by a variety of different lecturers which keeps it *fun and fresh*. However we were moved online due to the August 2021 lockdown and I highkey didn’t watch any of the lectures. Whoops :’)
- Introduction (2 lectures) — The first lecture is just your typical introduction to the course which you would’ve experienced in every first lecture of the semester you’ve ever experienced (they’re always desperate for class reps for some reason). The second is about the science behind behaviour, health and development which basically means recapping POPLHLTH 111 on what different types of research studies are.
- Biological Foundations of Behaviour, Health and Development (5 lectures) — The first ‘real’ block of lectures is pretty much all about the basic neuroscience behind behaviour, health and development. I adored this module and it was probably my favourite of the lot holistically. You get a range of lectures from different hormones that affect stress (you’re going to be sweet for MEDSCI 142 since there’s actually a lot of overlap) to how sleep is important in our daily functioning (a motto that I should probably start living by…)
- Cognitive Foundations of Behaviour, Health and Development (7 lectures) — This block is all about the basics of psychology. You’ll learn about classical and operant conditioning, how memory is important in a variety of contexts and how these foundations relate closely to health psychology and caring for patients in a clinical setting. This section was a nice blend between psychological principles and how it relates to looking after people’s health.
- Social-Emotional Foundations of Behaviour, Health and Development and Mental Health (6 lectures) — This part is applying social psychology to the BHD framework, as well as looking at differences in people’s mental health due to psychopathology and social situations. I didn’t really find the social psychology side as interesting as some of the other topics, but the lectures in the mental health side were probably my favourite in terms of content. It’s interesting to learn about what clinical psychologists do vs. psychiatrists in terms of treatment options that you could perhaps help you or those around you!
- Health Psychology (4 lectures) — Surprisingly for a course titled ‘HLTHPSYC’ there isn’t actually a lot of real health psychology. According to a health psychologist I met, HLTHPSYC 122 only provides a small taste of what health psychology is actually like in postgraduate studies. Nonetheless, this is still a cool module on different ways health can be affected from a psychological standpoint, and the best ways to adhere to treatment.
There are 10 tutorials, with one every week except in Week 1 and just after the semester break before the mid-semester test. There is no assessed activity in them and therefore they are not compulsory. However, you learn a lot of new information that may be asked in the mid-semester test, final exam or even in your assignment so I strongly recommend you go to all of them if you can. They’re scheduled for 2 hours but we managed to finish most of ours within an hour. Therefore there’s no reason why you shouldn’t go!
The quizzes on Canvas are very similar to how MEDSCI 142 run theirs in which you have 10 questions, a time limit and unlimited attempts. It’s a very easy 10% to get if you make sure to get these done on time!
In order to prepare for these, I would have a look at the revision PDFs linked in each quiz which had the questions they could ask. I would look at my notes and try answer the questions, and if I got really stuck, lots of the questions could be copy and pasted into Google and found that way on some American Quizlets. They are very similar to what they may ask in the mid-term test so make sure you kill two birds with one stone!
Behaviour Modification Programme Assignment
The Behaviour Modification Programme is overall worth 30% of your grade, split into two separate parts. The assignment itself is all about choosing a particular behaviour that you would like to change in order to improve your lifestyle and following a programme that you design to maximise these benefits. Sounds pretty complicated, but it really isn’t! I’ll quickly break it down now, but everything is literally in the little PDF you get and is outlined clearly in the marking schedule.
- Project Plan (5%) — Perhaps the easiest 5% you can gain while feeling like you actually did work to earn it. In this, you’ll follow a template where you will answer some questions on what behaviour modification is, and what behaviour you are wanting to change is. As long as you follow the template, use the required reading and use correct APA referencing, it’s an easy 10/10
- Behaviour Modification Programme (25%) — Again, follow the template to create a comprehensive overview of what you did to change your behaviours and how it relates in a health context. Once again, sounds pretty complicated but the marking rubric is your holy grail! It gives you a great overview of what you need to include and how you could carry out your programme to yield the best results.
As a musician, my chosen behaviour was to increase the amount of times I practised piano throughout the two week programme. It was actually really fun because I got use the programme to sort of ‘destress’ away from university work (although I didn’t really continue with it afterwards because MEDSCI 142 hit me like a ton of bricks). I suggest picking something you’re interested in and that you’ll have fun doing because it’ll make your programme feel like it’s not work.
ALSO if you need help with writing your actual essay, here’s a link to someone’s assignment that is free to use from the UOA Academic Writing at Auckland website (pls don’t plagiarise though :3).
HLTHPSYC 122 was actually going to have in person tests. I think this is because BMedImag and BNurs needed it for registering into their clinical programmes so they needed the exam to be invigilated. However, when we moved back online in Semester 2 2021, they all switched pretty quickly to open book Canvas or Inspera assessments. Luckily, the types of questions they asked were comparable to previous years when they did them in person which helped in my preparation.
- Mid-Term Test — This test is made up of 80 MCQs and was probably my best assessment for the entire year (besides my gen ed). Most of the MCQs are based on the revision ones you are given in the online quizzes. Also top tip if you end up sitting this assessment online again, lots of the questions are based on Quizlets from colleges in the US so if you get stuck you can try and copy and paste the questions into Google to see if any come up!
- Final Exam — The final exam was made up of 20 ‘fill in the blank’ style questions, followed by two sections of medium answer questions. Section A is pretty straightforward and you pretty much just need to complete the sentence. Section B and C requires a good understanding of the content and being able to assess all aspects of a certain treatment, behaviour etc. While there are 6 questions to choose from in both sections, you only need to pick 3 to answer. Therefore, it could be in your best interest to study more for what interests you the most and having that content fresh in your head. Also, the examiners love to reuse the same exam questions from past years and they also give hints on Piazza as to what they may ask, so use those to your advantage!
How I Studied (and How I Should’ve Studied)
Even though it was a non-core paper, I absolutely loved the content in HLTPSYC 122 so much, I actually wanted to study for it. Like I do with all my paper reviews, I’ll give you a guide as to how I studied and how I should’ve studied if it was as intense as a premed paper.
In preparation for lectures, I would ‘prime’ by reading the lecture slides the day before and typing up my notes from the lecture slides into a Google Doc. I would then attend the lectures (if I could wake up in time lol) and then just fill in the blanks. The good thing about these lectures is that everything you need is on the lecture slide so you won’t be missing much if you don’t attend the lectures. I didn’t really end up needing flashcards just because of lockdown but I would recommend making them or Quizlets if you need them to remember important terms or definitions.
For the essay I honestly wrote the Project Plan in one sitting after a lecture in OGGB. Definitely spend a couple of days before you write it thinking about the best behaviour for you modify would be — obviously you want it to be simple enough for you to carry out. Once you’ve done that, just follow the template and get your sources ready for the next phase while you’re at it. I then collected data throughout the mid-semester break by just noting it down on a spreadsheet so that my graphs could be made automatically. Remember that when you’re collecting data for your project plan, it doesn’t need to work out perfectly. The main thing is that you communicate what went well or went wrong and what implications this could have on behaviour modification in health psychology.
I prepared for the test by just redoing the MCQs after a period of time had passed. I was honestly so stressed out for the MEDSCI 142 test that I didn’t give it much thought (especially since it was online). I would recommend splitting your revision something like 75:25 MEDSCI:HLTHPSYC if you are in person for both assessments since both are very content heavy and hard to do well in if you don’t know your stuff. I practised for the final exam in a similar way I did for my other POPLHLTH papers by copying and pasting the questions into a Google Doc and using my notes to complete them. While it may not be the best for in person learning, it might actually help having this sort of guide to answering questions as they ended up reusing most of them anyway.
Going Psycho(logy)’s POV
I’ve already said it about 10 times but I’ll say it again — HLTHPSYC 122 was absolutely my favourite paper of the year. The content was super interesting and the teaching staff were all very engaging and wonderful people. It’s definitely an easy A+ if you’re into psychology! This paper was pretty much the reason why I decided to do a conjoint after first year, but it’s super relevant if you want to do a clinical degree and relate to patients! Even the Biomed kids were jealous that we got such a chill paper compared to their other BIOSCI and physics papers.
I know a lot of health science students also felt the same way as I did. However, students that have taken the course in the past often complain about the paper being too content heavy (especially when you have MEDSCI 142 to compete with). My advice is to use this paper as a ‘brain break’. Don’t feel obliged to have to go to the 8am lectures and instead use that time to just read over the lecture slides and quickly type up some notes for revision. You can’t really cram the content, so perhaps spend like an hour a week just brushing up on the lectures that happened so you’re not falling behind.
And just like that, this is my last paper review for 2021! Hopefully all have informed you on what it’s like to be a first year BHSc student and I’m looking forward to writing more as I progress through my degree. If you need anything, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Stay safe, stay healthy and stay happy!
Going Psycho(logy) ^.^