How I got an A/A* In A-level Psychology (my advices and resources)


Written by a member of The Student Room community

Advice#1: Have revision notes for every spreads. Psychology is a very content heavy subject, and you need to be able to recall all the necessary content when asked in an exam question. And when I say revision notes, I don’t mean the class notes that you copy from your teacher PowerPoint while they are talking and only review them the day before the exam. You should take your revision notes after your class notes, using different resources and making sure they are neat and understandable with AO1, key words and AO3 with 3 to 4 PEELs. I recommend these to be digital because you can lose your physical notes pretty easily, but when digital you can access them everywhere. Having revision notes is especially important during A-level season, you don’t wanna be running around like a headless chicken between your class notes or asking your friends for their notes because you missed a spread, that’s just added stress. So make sure you have your notes for all 3 papers before the start of your A-level. 

If you struggle with taking your own notes, or you’re at a point where you are seeing this post and don’t have time to make them, you can get my notes. These are on studocu and have all of the topics in a neat and organised way. They should be free normally. When I was in year 13 I had multiple classmates asking me to share my notes with them for revision and they constantly complimented me on how good these were, and during this summer break I went back and edited all of them, especially my evaluation to reach a year 13 standard. Here is the link to my profile where you can find all of the notes:


Advice #2: Use different revision techniques. Memorising your content is one of the key component in doing well in Psychology, and this comes down to effective revision. You can use Flashcards, Blurting (when you write everything you can remember about a spread without looking back) and exam questions. Now not all of these are made equals. Flashcards and blurting are important to check your knowledge and memorise, but exam questions will always be better to improve on your exams and develop your exam techniques. You can do blurting and feel very confident of everything you can remember, however you may not be able to apply this to the style of question in the exam since blurting involves recalling EVERYTHING while exam question in psychology need you to be VERY SPECIFIC, and recall only what you need to gain marks. If you recall everything you will lose time and not gain any additional marks.


Advice #3: Do a lot of past papers. In the days leading up to each exam, I used to read the whole topic for 30 minutes or an hour, then do 8 hours of exam questions everyday per topic. I would then marks this, correct my answers, annotate the questions I got wrong and why I got them wrong, and then the questions I got wrong I would compile them in a document and when revising that topic again I would only revise from this document. This means I would only focus on my weakness and understand the mark-scheme, and this is the best thing you can do to ensure you do well in your exams. I would also go back to my notes and edit them to make them more catered towards the mark-scheme. If you are not confident about any essay or PEEL, give them to your teacher to read and comment on, and apply this feedback to your essay.


Advice #4: Read examiner reports. I feel like this is not talked about enough whenever people give advice on how to improve in psychology or any subject, but this is one of the most important thing. If you want to improve, you need to know where you get things wrong. And when you are self-marking it might be harder to identify your weakness. So instead why not read weakness that student, and probably yourself, make, and commentary of examiner that you can use to improve. If you type AQA examiner reports, you should have all the available one for public for each exam seasons. I recommend doing the past paper, then reading the examiner report to see if you made any of the mistakes that were talked about, and then mark that past paper using the mark-scheme.


Advice #5: Focus on strategy, not on showing off. So this is specifically when you are answering exam questions. I used to have this issue where I would write a lot for a question that only required a little. And this was because I did not know how to be more specific and concise with my answer. But this is literally gonna make you lose so much time. You might feel good about showing all of this information that you can remember, but at the end of the day the exam is on how many marks you’re going to gain, and you’re not gonna be able to gain lots of marks if you waste time writing unnecessary things. And this is also why you should practice past papers more than blurting, because blurting just reinforce this issue whereas if you time your past papers, you will practice time management and being more precise in your answers. 

An example of this is in 8 markers. Some 8 markers can ask you to outline and evaluate one or more theory, but the smartest decision will always be to only talk about ONE theory instead of two. This is because if you outline two theories, you will have to evaluate both of them, and you would have gotten the same marks as if you only talked about one. So there is no point in showing how much you can remember in this case, because you will only lose time and not gain anything from it.


Advice #6: Revise regularly. This is specifically for A-level season, but you do not want to be cramming for such important exams. You wanna have a REALISTIC study timetable to make sure you can revise everything that you need before the exam. A reason why people often give up on a timetable is that they make one when they are motivated, stick to it for a few days, and completely give up on it because of burn out and over estimating themselves, then they just procrastinate and waste even more time. Avoiding this issue is simple, instead of throwing out your timetable, review it, see what works and what doesn’t work and create a new one. Take into account that you’re human and you’re not gonna be motivated to study everyday. Track your revision and make sure you use different techniques and do a lot of past papers. I created these revision trackers for all 3 papers of psychology, inspired by miss Estruch, they’re free and you can use this google drive links, make and copy and edit them: 

Paper 1:

Paper 2:

Paper 3:


So these are all the advice I can think of as of right now, this post was a bit long but I hope it was helpful.



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