What exam board is the most difficult for A-Level Psychology? Watch

dazza1801
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I have just completed my OCR Psychology A-Level exams and thought I would look at the AQA and Edexcel past papers for Psychology just out of interest. AQA looks quite difficult but Edexcel looks so much easier than both OCR or AQA, it just seems really simple, the majority of the Edexcel papers I can answer now even without having studied their syllabus, whereas when I look at the AQA past papers I can't answer any of the questions. Just thought I would start a thread to hear other people's opinions
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beccagood95
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I haven't looked at the AQA exam papers yet but I have had a look at Edexcel (I do OCR) and it does look incredibly easy. But what I've always noticed with Edexcel papers is that they tend to lay out the questions for you, so all you need to do is put the content in the space provided, rather than plan out how much you need to do and how to structure it. Also there's a lot of describe and identify questions, and a lot of the evaluating/explaining questions tend to be quite easy, such as "fill in the gaps" or it's only a 6 mark question.

I think most centres pick AQA or OCR to be honest.
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username877577
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Maybe you can answer the edexcel paper because the syllabus is similar whereas AQA is different?
:dontknow:


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dazza1801
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(Original post by Olympiad)
Maybe you can answer the edexcel paper because the syllabus is similar whereas AQA is different?
:dontknow:


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I did think this originally, maybe this is the case, but I still stand by my claim that Edexcel's Psychology course is a lot easier. I mean, in every exam the whole first section is multiple choice! What A-Level nowadays has multiple choice questions? Surely that is a GCSE thing
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joan2468
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(Original post by dazza1801)
I did think this originally, maybe this is the case, but I still stand by my claim that Edexcel's Psychology course is a lot easier. I mean, in every exam the whole first section is multiple choice! What A-Level nowadays has multiple choice questions? Surely that is a GCSE thing
I do Edexcel Psychology. Multiple-choice only exists in the AS Psychology papers, in A2 there's no more multiple-choice - if you say it is there in every exam then you have only looked at the AS papers. There is still a need to structure your answers for the 12 or 18-mark essay sections, in Unit 4, 6 out of the 18 marks for the last essay is awarded based on how well you structure and write your essay.

And while I agree with you that content-wise it seems easy and the questions are usually straightforward, Edexcel Psychology still somehow has this terrible track record for As, people rarely get them, I suspect is down to the very strict marking to compensate for the easy content.

Also Edexcel Economics Units 1 and 3 still have multiple-choice, but only 8 of them and they're worth 4 marks each because you have to explain why you chose that option - picking the right option only gives you 1 mark, the other 3 comes from explaining it properly. Edexcel Biology also has multiple choice but they're a few scattered here and there throughout the paper.
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mkhan9035
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Definitely OCR! For starters, Psych Investigations (G541) not a bad exam, learn the exam technique and content and you'll be fine, Core Studies however (G542) had 15 core studies to learn in-depth which was an absolute nightmare, and it's ridiculous how harsh they can mark that exam, not to mention its 70% of the overall AS grade! However there is a pattern to it, and once you've understood their method of marking, its less painful!
The options paper (G543) is also a full on exam as you're required to know 72 studies in minute detail but the annoying thing about this exam is always the part (b) questions which are all evaluation q's about issues/debates such as reductionism, determinism bla bla! However, there is also a pattern to this exam, but sneaky how OCR didn't include stress twice in the 2013 exams!
The last exam, G544, was an okay exam in general, but was still annoying that they included a perspective but "had" to tie it in with nature/nurture -.- They are harsh markers and its an ok-ish exam board, but personally i've hated every minute of Psychology and i'm glad I never have to do it again!


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dazza1801
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(Original post by joan2468)
I do Edexcel Psychology. Multiple-choice only exists in the AS Psychology papers, in A2 there's no more multiple-choice - if you say it is there in every exam then you have only looked at the AS papers. There is still a need to structure your answers for the 12 or 18-mark essay sections, in Unit 4, 6 out of the 18 marks for the last essay is awarded based on how well you structure and write your essay. <br />
<br />
And while I agree with you that content-wise it seems easy and the questions are usually straightforward, Edexcel Psychology still somehow has this terrible track record for As, people rarely get them, I suspect is down to the very strict marking to compensate for the easy content. <br />
<br />
Also Edexcel Economics Units 1 and 3 still have multiple-choice, but only 8 of them and they're worth 4 marks each because you have to explain why you chose that option - picking the right option only gives you 1 mark, the other 3 comes from explaining it properly. Edexcel Biology also has multiple choice but they're a few scattered here and there throughout the paper.
<br />
<br />

I did actually look at the A2 papers too, it was just the multiple choice questions that really surprised me, I didn't realise there was no multiple choice in the A2 ones. I have since re-looked however. It seems to me that there is no real progression in difficulty from AS Psychology to A2 on the Edexcel exam board, each exam looks as straight forward as the last. The main thing here is that I feel rather envious of the people who took/take Edexcel Psychology as there seems to be no breadth and only a small amount of depth required. In OCR Psychology across the whole of AS and A2 we learn probably about 120 different studies. There are the 72 for the G543 Options paper, but my centre made us learn an additional approximately 20 more, basically just follow up studies by other Psychologists furthering someone elses research, and then for G542 Core Studies 15 need to be learnt, this totals to around 107. As back ground knowledge we were expected to know a but about other research too, such as that by Skinner, Pavlov or Zimbado, studies that weren't really needed for us to talk about specifically, they simply explained a theory or process. I contrast this to Edecxcel where the level of knowledge about actual studies is very limited, I think I am right in saying there is no expectation to learn around 120 studies over the length of the course.

It just amazes me how different the two courses are, the level of effort needed in OCR Psychology seems to be worlds above the amount needed for Edexcel Psychology. It makes me feel as if I could have put more time and brain power into my other subjects (Sociology (AQA) and Geography (AQA)) if my centre did Edexcel Psychology.

I understand your point about the possibility that is is harder to achieve an A in Edexcel Psychology which very well may be the case but I know that I would rather of taken Edexcel Psychology and ended up with a B than do OCR Psychology and get an A but havey other subject grades suffer as a result if the sheer content I was expected to memorise.

I just cannot see how Edexcel Psychology could prepare a student for studying the subject at degree level, it seems to be too relaxed and not encompassing the skills or test of memory that would be required at university. This is however all my opinion, I have never studied Edexcel Psychology before; if I had then possibly my opinion woudl be different, it may be harder than it looks, I will never know
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thelion0
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ikz94
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(Original post by mkhan9035)
Definitely OCR! For starters, Psych Investigations (G541) not a bad exam, learn the exam technique and content and you'll be fine, Core Studies however (G542) had 15 core studies to learn in-depth which was an absolute nightmare, and it's ridiculous how harsh they can mark that exam, not to mention its 70% of the overall AS grade! However there is a pattern to it, and once you've understood their method of marking, its less painful!
The options paper (G543) is also a full on exam as you're required to know 72 studies in minute detail but the annoying thing about this exam is always the part (b) questions which are all evaluation q's about issues/debates such as reductionism, determinism bla bla! However, there is also a pattern to this exam, but sneaky how OCR didn't include stress twice in the 2013 exams!
The last exam, G544, was an okay exam in general, but was still annoying that they included a perspective but "had" to tie it in with nature/nurture -.- They are harsh markers and its an ok-ish exam board, but personally i've hated every minute of Psychology and i'm glad I never have to do it again!


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OCR dosent sound too bad AQA A was a *****!
PSYA1: Cognitive Psychology, Developmental Psychology and Research- fairly straightforward but like can slip up on the easiest things and the scenario qs get you all the time. Though its predicatble to know what will coem up.
PSYA2: Stress, Abnormailty and Social influence- This topics less thsn Unit 1 aint that bad to be honest but got a good deal of Biology in it.
PSYA3: Defo a *****! 3 Topics chsoen by the college which you have to know 20+ ESSAYS including a01-a03 so thats more than 50 studies defo
PSYA4: Essays again which 2 topics and Reserach Mehtods which is same as Unit 1 with additional stuff but still a pain!

To be honest that Core studies unit of learning JUST 15 studies anyday, comsidering i actually went through learning 20 essays!!!
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psychstudent95
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(Original post by ikz94)
OCR dosent sound too bad AQA A was a *****!
PSYA1: Cognitive Psychology, Developmental Psychology and Research- fairly straightforward but like can slip up on the easiest things and the scenario qs get you all the time. Though its predicatble to know what will coem up.
PSYA2: Stress, Abnormailty and Social influence- This topics less thsn Unit 1 aint that bad to be honest but got a good deal of Biology in it.
PSYA3: Defo a *****! 3 Topics chsoen by the college which you have to know 20+ ESSAYS including a01-a03 so thats more than 50 studies defo
PSYA4: Essays again which 2 topics and Reserach Mehtods which is same as Unit 1 with additional stuff but still a pain!

To be honest that Core studies unit of learning JUST 15 studies anyday, comsidering i actually went through learning 20 essays!!!
Agreed, unit 1 and 2 are fairly easy, and then BOOM unit 3. The amount you need to know is actually ridiculous, and you'll only be tested on a tiny bit of it but you'll have to know like 10 studies (plus A01 and loads of evaluation and IDA) per essay, and there are tons of essays per unit. Unit 4 is pretty much the same, but a bit easier though you need to know loads of research methods. My college made me do unit 3 and 4 at the same time, so the workload was absolutely hectic.
I borrowed an OCR book from the library and it was so much simpler content but I don't really know about the exam, so I can't comment apart from I'd have given my limbs to ONLY learn 15 studies.
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Eliea
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(Original post by psychstudent95)
Agreed, unit 1 and 2 are fairly easy, and then BOOM unit 3. The amount you need to know is actually ridiculous, and you'll only be tested on a tiny bit of it but you'll have to know like 10 studies (plus A01 and loads of evaluation and IDA) per essay, and there are tons of essays per unit. Unit 4 is pretty much the same, but a bit easier though you need to know loads of research methods. My college made me do unit 3 and 4 at the same time, so the workload was absolutely hectic.
I borrowed an OCR book from the library and it was so much simpler content but I don't really know about the exam, so I can't comment apart from I'd have given my limbs to ONLY learn 15 studies.
you don't 'ONLY' learn 15 studies. In total its around 130 (approx) and you have to know nearly all of them in detail so you can answer 4 describe or explain questions on different topics such as health and clinical and forensics. That is also without all of the approaches, perspectives and the methods and investigations. I think everyones workload was absolutely hectic regardless of exam board, except perhaps Edexcel as they get multiple choice at AS.
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psychstudent95
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(Original post by Eliea)
you don't 'ONLY' learn 15 studies. In total its around 130 (approx) and you have to know nearly all of them in detail so you can answer 4 describe or explain questions on different topics such as health and clinical and forensics. That is also without all of the approaches, perspectives and the methods and investigations. I think everyones workload was absolutely hectic regardless of exam board, except perhaps Edexcel as they get multiple choice at AS.
Haha, okay I just went through my notes and if I learnt about 10 per essay (which I did for most, but some it was less) then I actually learnt about 300, although for most it was name + year and a one sentence conclusion. I don't think it's a good idea to say "my exam is harder than yours" etc because their all different and even with exam boards different teachers have different recommendations. I learned very few in detail for A2 so that's easier than the detail you said you needed to learn them in. Tbh, it's not about how many you learn, it's all how you evaluate which is much more difficult to do well than learning by heart.
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ikz94
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(Original post by psychstudent95)
Agreed, unit 1 and 2 are fairly easy, and then BOOM unit 3. The amount you need to know is actually ridiculous, and you'll only be tested on a tiny bit of it but you'll have to know like 10 studies (plus A01 and loads of evaluation and IDA) per essay, and there are tons of essays per unit. Unit 4 is pretty much the same, but a bit easier though you need to know loads of research methods. My college made me do unit 3 and 4 at the same time, so the workload was absolutely hectic.
I borrowed an OCR book from the library and it was so much simpler content but I don't really know about the exam, so I can't comment apart from I'd have given my limbs to ONLY learn 15 studies.
I got a C overall which im ok with but had it been any other board would have been higher and this was in my re-sit eyar last year so had to handle my new AS levels with A2 Psychology too.
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psychstudent95
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(Original post by ikz94)
I got a C overall which im ok with but had it been any other board would have been higher and this was in my re-sit eyar last year so had to handle my new AS levels with A2 Psychology too.
I don't know too much about the other boards, maybe you'd have got better, maybe not. I just think that it's wrong that there are different boards tbh, because I think everyone should be judged on the same paper..
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Eliea
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(Original post by psychstudent95)
Haha, okay I just went through my notes and if I learnt about 10 per essay (which I did for most, but some it was less) then I actually learnt about 300, although for most it was name + year and a one sentence conclusion. I don't think it's a good idea to say "my exam is harder than yours" etc because their all different and even with exam boards different teachers have different recommendations. I learned very few in detail for A2 so that's easier than the detail you said you needed to learn them in. Tbh, it's not about how many you learn, it's all how you evaluate which is much more difficult to do well than learning by heart.
Im not sure wether your refering to me when you say 'I don't think it's a good idea to say "my exam is harder than yours" etc' but i was not implying that at all. The only reason I felt the need to comment was because the way I interpreted your previous comment was that your exam with AQA was much harder as you said about the ocr books being 'simpler' and 'ONLY 15 studies' which is not the case.
'Tbh, it's not about how many you learn, it's all how you evaluate which is much more difficult to do well than learning by heart.' Yep!
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psychstudent95
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(Original post by Eliea)
Im not sure wether your refering to me when you say 'I don't think it's a good idea to say "my exam is harder than yours" etc' but i was not implying that at all. The only reason I felt the need to comment was because the way I interpreted your previous comment was that your exam with AQA was much harder as you said about the ocr books being 'simpler' and 'ONLY 15 studies' which is not the case.
'Tbh, it's not about how many you learn, it's all how you evaluate which is much more difficult to do well than learning by heart.' Yep!
No, I wasn't referring to you in particular, I was saying it generally to everyone, including myself, because I think everyone likes to think that they've got the hardest exam board.
Sorry if my comment came across as if I think AQA is much harder, I was quite annoyed that someone (not you) put "definitely OCR" and my argument was for them, because I thought that they were quite rude. They put (and I'm getting into it now because I'm quoting haha) "15 core studies to learn in-depth which was an absolute nightmare". IMO, that would have been much easier, and it was only later that you mentioned all the other hundreds you learned. When I put the textbook was simpler, it was, I said there that I didn't know about the exam on the comment maybe the textbook was a simple one (my ones for AQA vary so much in difficulty!) So I wasn't trying to offend you (or anyone) just argue why OCR is not "Definitely harder" (though I'm open to the idea it may be) and make a fair argument for AQA A.
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Eliea
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(Original post by psychstudent95)
No, I wasn't referring to you in particular, I was saying it generally to everyone, including myself, because I think everyone likes to think that they've got the hardest exam board.
Sorry if my comment came across as if I think AQA is much harder, I was quite annoyed that someone (not you) put "definitely OCR" and my argument was for them, because I thought that they were quite rude. They put (and I'm getting into it now because I'm quoting haha) "15 core studies to learn in-depth which was an absolute nightmare". IMO, that would have been much easier, and it was only later that you mentioned all the other hundreds you learned. When I put the textbook was simpler, it was, I said there that I didn't know about the exam on the comment maybe the textbook was a simple one (my ones for AQA vary so much in difficulty!) So I wasn't trying to offend you (or anyone) just argue why OCR is not "Definitely harder" (though I'm open to the idea it may be) and make a fair argument for AQA A.
Yeah thats true and everyones getting defensive of the exams they had to take and the amount of content they had to learn lol. They are all probably just as hard as each other but in different ways. Im just so glad the psychology exams are over now!
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psychstudent95
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(Original post by Eliea)
Yeah thats true and everyones getting defensive of the exams they had to take and the amount of content they had to learn lol. They are all probably just as hard as each other but in different ways. Im just so glad the psychology exams are over now!
Yep, I was so relieved now that they're over Though I have no idea what to do with my life now... :confused: Have you finished all your exams?
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caraak
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i've just finished the 2 year AQA course... and it was TOUGH
not so much the theory, but there were soooo many case studies to learn, and although they werent all in a ton of detail, to score max marks you needed to learn them in a lot of detail
just an example, my last exam which i did on monday was the topics schizophrenia and anomalistic psychology (which is a load of rubbish to begin with)... and by the end of it i had notes covering 170 case studies...
and you cant just not learn a section because the essay could be on any of the topics youve covered (in schizophrenia there were 5 topics, and in anomalistic there were 7)
the AS exams werent too bad, with 4, 8 and sometimes 12 mark questions, but the A2 exam is two 24 mark essays (sometimes broken down) and then 30 marks on research methods, which tbh was just a pain to learn...
so i would say that AQA is hard, and it has none of this multiple choice people are talking about... but obviously ive only done AQA so cant compare..
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Eliea
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(Original post by psychstudent95)
Yep, I was so relieved now that they're over Though I have no idea what to do with my life now... :confused: Have you finished all your exams?
Yep had my last one monday! You? Have you applied to uni?
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