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A level classic civilisation or psychology? watch

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    Hi, (edit- title was supposed to say classical, not classic haha)

    I'm currently making my A level choices and since AS levels have now been scrapped, we only choose 3 now. At the moment I've chosen English Literature and Maths (I'm good at maths, I enjoy it and I wanted some variety), but I'm conflicted between psychology and classical civilisation for the third subject! I would love to study English Lit at a good Russell group university, by the way. I'm currently considering Oxbridge, but hey, that might be a bit ambitious of me!

    I'm really really interested in psychology as a subject, but I do think that CC is more respected, especially by universities such as Cambridge, and I really would not like to hinder my chances! Also, I have not done Classics or Latin GCSE and apart from doing a little in Year 9, I have pretty minimal knowledge of the subject. However, I've heard that it involves a lot of literature and analysis and that seems to appeal to me, especially since my school has opted for mainly literature modules and I'd really like to expand my breadth of knowledge in these areas that I've never studied before.
    Also, just extra info, I'm very able at writing essays and reading large amounts etc.

    I guess what I'm asking is, in terms of my situation, would Classical Civilisation or psychology a level be more suitable/beneficial? Would it be too difficult to do CC if I've never studied it before? Is it an interesting subject to study, or is psychology more stimulating? Is one significantly harder than the other in terms or workload and exams?

    Thanks! Sorry if I made any typos, I typed this quite hurriedly!
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    Either would be fine. Psychology is not a blacklisted subject as far as I'm aware, at Cambridge or Oxford, so that's not a factor.*

    Doing Classical Civilisation without Latin or Greek is not going to put you at a disadvantage. At my school, classical civilisation was mostly there for people who didn't want to do the language element but wanted to study classics nonetheless. It is a very useful subject if you want to do English Literature, as it will introduce you to the wider canon of classical literature that informs the English canon.

    Psychology is useful for teaching you about different approaches, something which will be beneficial when it comes to studying English Literature at university level. Worth considering.

    Psychology is, however, a science – despite the fact that there's no lab work. A lot of people think it's going to be something very different than what it actually is. Back when I did it at A level, I had it missold to me as something else. I ended up trapped doing it and unable to drop it because of the way I'd sorted out my A levels (2 AS levels over 2 years and 3 A levels). i regretted being stuck with it and had a terrible teacher, although this got easier in year 13 when he only taught us for one module. I was the only student in a cohort of 26 not to have to repeat a module (no longer an option, remember.) I did it largely through self-study at AS level and in the following year by avoiding using his taught elements altogether.*

    Psychology doesn't have a very good reputation in terms of teaching. I'm a private tutor and I get more requests for A level psychology in a single year than I do for any of my other taught subjects combined, even at private schools. The variation in teaching quality is massive. I've had teachers miss out entire sections of the syllabus based on the prediction that it wouldn't come up in the exam, hence an entire cohort of students failing. The most common three issues I've had though, are teachers skimping on the research methods element, teachers neglecting essay writing skills and teachers not telling people how to evaluate studies correctly. That's consistently problematic and it leaves people unable to access the top grades without additional help.

    I am probably going to bias you with that, I know. What I would suggest is having a look at your sixth form's track record of teaching for both subjects. That should be publicly available or should be available on request at the very least.*

    Both subjects will be beneficial in different ways. Ideally, you would do both and if that's an option for you, I would pursue it if possible. Maybe think about picking up one as an AS level in year 13. **
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    (Original post by giella)
    Either would be fine. Psychology is not a blacklisted subject as far as I'm aware, at Cambridge or Oxford, so that's not a factor.*

    Doing Classical Civilisation without Latin or Greek is not going to put you at a disadvantage. At my school, classical civilisation was mostly there for people who didn't want to do the language element but wanted to study classics nonetheless. It is a very useful subject if you want to do English Literature, as it will introduce you to the wider canon of classical literature that informs the English canon.

    Psychology is useful for teaching you about different approaches, something which will be beneficial when it comes to studying English Literature at university level. Worth considering.

    Psychology is, however, a science – despite the fact that there's no lab work. A lot of people think it's going to be something very different than what it actually is. Back when I did it at A level, I had it missold to me as something else. I ended up trapped doing it and unable to drop it because of the way I'd sorted out my A levels (2 AS levels over 2 years and 3 A levels). i regretted being stuck with it and had a terrible teacher, although this got easier in year 13 when he only taught us for one module. I was the only student in a cohort of 26 not to have to repeat a module (no longer an option, remember.) I did it largely through self-study at AS level and in the following year by avoiding using his taught elements altogether.*

    Psychology doesn't have a very good reputation in terms of teaching. I'm a private tutor and I get more requests for A level psychology in a single year than I do for any of my other taught subjects combined, even at private schools. The variation in teaching quality is massive. I've had teachers miss out entire sections of the syllabus based on the prediction that it wouldn't come up in the exam, hence an entire cohort of students failing. The most common three issues I've had though, are teachers skimping on the research methods element, teachers neglecting essay writing skills and teachers not telling people how to evaluate studies correctly. That's consistently problematic and it leaves people unable to access the top grades without additional help.

    I am probably going to bias you with that, I know. What I would suggest is having a look at your sixth form's track record of teaching for both subjects. That should be publicly available or should be available on request at the very least.*

    Both subjects will be beneficial in different ways. Ideally, you would do both and if that's an option for you, I would pursue it if possible. Maybe think about picking up one as an AS level in year 13. **
    thank you so much for such a detailed response!! very insightful and helpful Also, I've heard people say that psychology at a level mostly entails memorising large amounts of case studies etc. Is this true?
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    Ok. username is a problem for me
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    (Original post by Trinculo)
    Ok. username is a problem for me
    why so?
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    (Original post by humbert-humbert)
    why so?
    Sorry for OT:Named yourself after paedophile- really?

    On the A-levels - I don't know anything about the university situation, but Classical Civilisation seems way more interesting that Psychology. Also, I would guess that you can learn a lot more Classics in A-level than you can Psychology, which I would guess would be a very simplified and faulty version of undergraduate Psychology.
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    (Original post by Trinculo)
    Sorry for OT:Named yourself after paedophile- really?

    On the A-levels - I don't know anything about the university situation, but Classical Civilisation seems way more interesting that Psychology. Also, I would guess that you can learn a lot more Classics in A-level than you can Psychology, which I would guess would be a very simplified and faulty version of undergraduate Psychology.
    do fictional characters bother you so much? Is there something so wrong with a villain who is iconic in literature?

    also- yeah, I'm leaning more towards Classics at the moment, I think it's more worthwhile for me and will probably compliment English more.
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    (Original post by humbert-humbert)
    do fictional characters bother you so much? Is there something so wrong with a villain who is iconic in literature?

    also- yeah, I'm leaning more towards Classics at the moment, I think it's more worthwhile for me and will probably compliment English more.
    Fictional characters don't bother me at all - rather the sentiment that you would choose to name yourself after the world's most famous literary paedophile.

    Are Classical Civ and Psychology your only choices?
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    Memorising case studies and evaluating them is what psychology is. You do it in order to test theories for their validity.*

    I dislike A level for psychology because it uses old studies. It's generally considered out of date. However, taught well, you do learn a lot that's useful for English in terms of learning what you can say definitively and what you can't. It teaches you to be cautious in making statements without evidence to back it up. The two subjects actually can complement very well. However, that also depends on the English teachers teaching you that as well. I don't know many schools that emphasise interdisciplinary learning at sixth form.*

    You've just got to do what feels right.*
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    Psychology (particularly A2) requires a great deal of memory; not an easy subject at all. I wish I picked classics instead of history because my friends who do it enjoy it a lot! Very interesting from the looks of it.
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    (Original post by Trinculo)
    Fictional characters don't bother me at all - rather the sentiment that you would choose to name yourself after the world's most famous literary paedophile.

    Are Classical Civ and Psychology your only choices?
    I suppose the main thing going through my mind was just the fact that he is simply a character I thoroughly enjoyed reading about. I mean, you see people naming themselves after all sorts of evil natured characters like Voldemort, Norman Bates, Moriarty, even Lady Macbeth; all of whom do horrific things yet are still greatly appreciated characters because of their contributions to brilliant stories. Anyway, sorry if I upset you.

    They're not my only options, but out of the curriculum my school offers, they're the subjects that pique my interest the most. I like stuff like economics, biology and physics but they're not really paths I would consider pursuing so...

    I am keeping my options open, though.
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    Psychology can be good to do at graduate and post-graduate levels, as it can be very applied and keeps options open.
    But from an A level perspective, I have no idea (just did the degree >.<)
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    (Original post by humbert-humbert)
    I suppose the main thing going through my mind was just the fact that he is simply a character I thoroughly enjoyed reading about. I mean, you see people naming themselves after all sorts of evil natured characters like Voldemort, Norman Bates, Moriarty, even Lady Macbeth; all of whom do horrific things yet are still greatly appreciated characters because of their contributions to brilliant stories. Anyway, sorry if I upset you.

    They're not my only options, but out of the curriculum my school offers, they're the subjects that pique my interest the most. I like stuff like economics, biology and physics but they're not really paths I would consider pursuing so...

    I am keeping my options open, though.
    You're not upsetting me. I just find it really difficult to understand why anyone would do such a thing. Voldemort is a fantastical character tied into magic and stuff. Norman Bates is closer - but the point about Humbert Humbert is how normal and mundane the story is except for the fact of his relationship with Lolita. I don't see much difference between that and screenaming yourself Fred West.

    Back to subject - who knew? Economics I don't see as being much different to Psychology. Classical Civ sounds a lot more interesting to me.
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    Self-taught ClassCiv AS last year and really enjoyed it! I do Latin in school, and my school offers ClassCiv AS over two years as enrichment, but I wanted to do it in one. I chose to do two literature units: the Odyssey, and Roman Thought + Society. I definitely enjoyed RTS more than the Odyssey, but there's an abundance of Odyssey stuff online to help you out, which is really nice. ClassCiv AS really does seem similar to English Lit, though. I essentially drew on a mixture of History/Latin A Level and GCSE Eng Lit skills to help me out with the essay writing, and (touch wood) I've come out with 90+ UMS in both exams - I was predicted to by my Latin teacher, at least!

    ClassCiv is a wonderful mix of History and English Literature, and will definitely boost your uni application. As has been said before, several 'classic' English authors make references to the actual classical writers: Dinner with Trimalchio (by Petronius), for example, is referenced in The Great Gatsby
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    (Original post by humbert-humbert)
    Hi, (edit- title was supposed to say classical, not classic haha)

    I'm currently making my A level choices and since AS levels have now been scrapped, we only choose 3 now. At the moment I've chosen English Literature and Maths (I'm good at maths, I enjoy it and I wanted some variety), but I'm conflicted between psychology and classical civilisation for the third subject! I would love to study English Lit at a good Russell group university, by the way. I'm currently considering Oxbridge, but hey, that might be a bit ambitious of me!

    I'm really really interested in psychology as a subject, but I do think that CC is more respected, especially by universities such as Cambridge, and I really would not like to hinder my chances! Also, I have not done Classics or Latin GCSE and apart from doing a little in Year 9, I have pretty minimal knowledge of the subject. However, I've heard that it involves a lot of literature and analysis and that seems to appeal to me, especially since my school has opted for mainly literature modules and I'd really like to expand my breadth of knowledge in these areas that I've never studied before.
    Also, just extra info, I'm very able at writing essays and reading large amounts etc.

    I guess what I'm asking is, in terms of my situation, would Classical Civilisation or psychology a level be more suitable/beneficial? Would it be too difficult to do CC if I've never studied it before? Is it an interesting subject to study, or is psychology more stimulating? Is one significantly harder than the other in terms or workload and exams?

    Thanks! Sorry if I made any typos, I typed this quite hurriedly!
    I'd suggest you take Psychology as your third A Level, since it opens you to more options at university and also goes well with both English Lit and Maths. I take Psychology and Maths too.

    Go with Psychology - you won't regret it!
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    (Original post by Trinculo)
    You're not upsetting me. I just find it really difficult to understand why anyone would do such a thing. Voldemort is a fantastical character tied into magic and stuff. Norman Bates is closer - but the point about Humbert Humbert is how normal and mundane the story is except for the fact of his relationship with Lolita. I don't see much difference between that and screenaming yourself Fred West.

    Back to subject - who knew? Economics I don't see as being much different to Psychology. Classical Civ sounds a lot more interesting to me.
    yes that is true, however who says that all iconic villains must have supernatural aspects in order for them to be acceptable to admire? can we only appreciate villains who are written in completely unrealistic standards? Isn't a villain committing such horrific crimes in such a "mundane" setting, even more powerful?

    I disagree with the Fred West thing. You keep blurring the lines between real life criminals and fictional ones. Fred West was a real serial killer who tortured many women and to use his name would be disrespectul to all his victims, really. Because the crimes really happened, to real people.
    However, Humbert Humbert is, again, fictional. I do not at all admire or condone his paedophilic actions; this is only the basis of his character! Instead, he is admired for his ability to get away with such volatile crimes whilst hidden in plain sight; his charming wit which allows him to so smoothly get away with the unthinkable; his ability to make the reader feel conflicted about their own morals because of his sheer power of manipulation. Nabokov wrote the character in such a way that he wanted the reader to be on Humbert's side, something that is not easy to achieve; yes, I know he is anything but a good character and I have never made that claim. I'm simply appreciating his brilliance as a character. Nobody idolises a villain for their actual crimes; rather, the way the villain is portrayed in regards to the book as a whole. I don't understand why you imply we should be treading on eggshells when it comes to any characters who commit genuinely realistic crimes, rather than shooting fire from a wand. Just my opinion.

    and yeah back to subjects (this seems more like an afterthought rather than the actual topic now hah) - am I right in thinking all three involve essays? If so, I suppose it's now mainly up to what I think I'd enjoy most. I'm leaning towards Classical Civ.
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    (Original post by t s)
    I'd suggest you take Psychology as your third A Level, since it opens you to more options at university and also goes well with both English Lit and Maths. I take Psychology and Maths too.

    Go with Psychology - you won't regret it!
    Yes I did think it would go well with the subjects! Is there much maths involved in Psychology?
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    (Original post by roarchika)
    Self-taught ClassCiv AS last year and really enjoyed it! I do Latin in school, and my school offers ClassCiv AS over two years as enrichment, but I wanted to do it in one. I chose to do two literature units: the Odyssey, and Roman Thought + Society. I definitely enjoyed RTS more than the Odyssey, but there's an abundance of Odyssey stuff online to help you out, which is really nice. ClassCiv AS really does seem similar to English Lit, though. I essentially drew on a mixture of History/Latin A Level and GCSE Eng Lit skills to help me out with the essay writing, and (touch wood) I've come out with 90+ UMS in both exams - I was predicted to by my Latin teacher, at least!

    ClassCiv is a wonderful mix of History and English Literature, and will definitely boost your uni application. As has been said before, several 'classic' English authors make references to the actual classical writers: Dinner with Trimalchio (by Petronius), for example, is referenced in The Great Gatsby
    Wow congrats on your results! Do you think it would be hard to grasp without previous knowledge, or is it doable?
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    (Original post by humbert-humbert)
    Yes I did think it would go well with the subjects! Is there much maths involved in Psychology?
    Have you just finished Year 11 then? If so goodluck with results!

    I've just finished my AS in Psychology and 100% Know i have an A (although it doesn't count we still use them for UCAS applications and for our teachers to see what we need to drop ect)

    The only hard-ish but of maths was the "sign test" in psychology which isn't so much the maths really it's getting your head around what the probability actually means. All the rest is simply means, modes, correlations. All C grade GCSE really .

    I found myself teaching the syllabus to myself as the teacher wouldn't go into much detail however it is a large course with LOTS of small studies a few larger ones. So you have an overall topic which is say Memory and then within that you have 5 sub topics e.g the types of memory ect which you need to know the theory on. Then within those you have 5 -10 mini studies and maybe one large one and all of which you need to know evaluation points for.
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    (Original post by humbert-humbert)
    Wow congrats on your results! Do you think it would be hard to grasp without previous knowledge, or is it doable?
    It's most definitely doable. ClassCiv was basically designed to allow students who had never studied an ancient language to be able to still enjoy Classics, so you'll only be reading translations for your set text, and all your interactions with the literature will be in English. You may have to learn some Greek words if you're doing Greek Tragedy and Drama (as my school does - that + the Odyssey are by far the two most popular units), but those are pretty easy and are just technical terms, e.g. pathos, which is something that evokes pity or sadness in the audience for a character. The exam questions usually have something to do with character development or the role of females/gods/etc, so are very easy to prepare for - they do reword questions from past exams quite often, so as long as you've done your fair share of past papers and know your texts well, getting an A is very easy!
 
 
 
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