Fatimabibi_
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Please tell me your psychology A level experience as I am planning on taking in this following academic year.

Also how long do the essays need to be?

And will my lack of essay writing skills be a barrier for achieving a good grade or will my skill improve overtime?
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sadixx
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I personally don't like psychology but it's different for everyone, the essays aren't that long compared to other subjects and I think they're about 16 marks each
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Fatimabibi_
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(Original post by sadixx)
I personally don't like psychology but it's different for everyone, the essays aren't that long compared to other subjects and I think they're about 16 marks each
Is there any reason why dislike the subject?
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sadixx
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(Original post by Fatimabibi_)
Is there any reason why dislike the subject?
I just find it boring like the things you learn about isn't as interesting as I first thought it would be, we learnt about stuff like memory, attachment and research methods. The research methods part is abit more scientific and just really dry I found
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Rigby16
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Essay writing isn't really a thing in psychology, if you know how to write in paragraphs you're sorted! I also found the content not what i expected the topics i did first year were Research methods, Social Influence, Attachment, Memory and psychopathology. To be honest the only topic i found relevant and interesting was psychopathology because it's actually applied and theory and practical where as memory and attachment literally feel like you're studying random experiments and recalling the findings and the theory for the sake of the A Level.
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katie.193
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(Original post by Rigby16)
Essay writing isn't really a thing in psychology,
A2 psychology is all about essays so be prepared to write lots if you're going to take it that far! That's true at least for AQA, anyway. I'm not sure how the new curriculum works, but the biggest issue we had in psychology was the change in the exam skills you need, because at A2 our exams consisted of 5 24 mark essays and a research methods section.

Essay writing skills shouldn't be a problem at AS (or whatever the equivalent is now?), and you will practice them a little for the small essays (ours were 12 marks), but you should definitely make sure they're up to a good standard for A2.
Psychology gets mixed reviews I think because different people find different aspects interesting, and since you have to cover a broad range of topics, you won't thoroughly enjoy everything. But if you keep a positive attitude about the topics you like the least and make sure you cover everything, you will be fine.
I have to say, in my experience, psychology was probably the most challenging A-level I took (I also did maths and biology) because there's a lot to memorise and sometimes the questions can be so specific, eg literally asking for the name of a researcher and what they did. You have to memorise looooots of names and studies, but I'm told the new curriculum doesn't have as many, so that's a plus for you.

If you have any questions feel free to ask me any time, although I'm not certain about some things on the new spec
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Fatimabibi_
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(Original post by katie.193)
A2 psychology is all about essays so be prepared to write lots if you're going to take it that far! That's true at least for AQA, anyway. I'm not sure how the new curriculum works, but the biggest issue we had in psychology was the change in the exam skills you need, because at A2 our exams consisted of 5 24 mark essays and a research methods section.

Essay writing skills shouldn't be a problem at AS (or whatever the equivalent is now?), and you will practice them a little for the small essays (ours were 12 marks), but you should definitely make sure they're up to a good standard for A2.
Psychology gets mixed reviews I think because different people find different aspects interesting, and since you have to cover a broad range of topics, you won't thoroughly enjoy everything. But if you keep a positive attitude about the topics you like the least and make sure you cover everything, you will be fine.
I have to say, in my experience, psychology was probably the most challenging A-level I took (I also did maths and biology) because there's a lot to memorise and sometimes the questions can be so specific, eg literally asking for the name of a researcher and what they did. You have to memorise looooots of names and studies, but I'm told the new curriculum doesn't have as many, so that's a plus for you.

If you have any questions feel free to ask me any time, although I'm not certain about some things on the new spec
Which exam board did you do?
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katie.193
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(Original post by Fatimabibi_)
Which exam board did you do?
AQA A, which one are you doing?
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Fatimabibi_
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(Original post by katie.193)
AQA A, which one are you doing?
Ill be doing AQA too
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katie.193
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(Original post by Fatimabibi_)
Ill be doing AQA too
Nice! I managed an A* so if you have any questions feel free to ask me any time, although I'm aware the spec is changing
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Fatimabibi_
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(Original post by katie.193)
Nice! I managed an A* so if you have any questions feel free to ask me any time, although I'm aware the spec is changing
Wow! That's amazing!!
Could you please give me some revision tips? Also what did you get in your English GCSE?
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username1333513
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I enjoyed AS but found a2 difficult, there was so much more content to remember and it was all essays( I'm not good at essays) it just got boring and repetitive after a while for me.


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mythical.6
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(Original post by Fatimabibi_)
Please tell me your psychology A level experience as I am planning on taking in this following academic year.

Also how long do the essays need to be?

And will my lack of essay writing skills be a barrier for achieving a good grade or will my skill improve overtime?
i'm not sure on the place you're going, but i'll just speak from experience at my school.

it's really interesting! the things you learn about are genuinely engaging.

the essays are a tipping point however. the most amount of marks will be 24 on one question. while that sounds intimidating, it's actually a debate, so learning 12 marks worth of each side of it is much easier than a bulk 24 marks of a single POV. as long as you get the content in that will get you marks, the length doesn't matter. it's better to keep it concise, though

also, good spelling/punctuation/grammar is pretty big for the examiners in psychology. i'm not sure if you mean general SPG, but since it's so focused on i think you'll be able to improve over the course. your teacher will definitely point out mistakes and it's up to you to help your skill to improve after then.

if it's something you really want to do, go for it. any doubts you have will be made easier to deal with as you get through the year and start to understand how the essays etc work. good luck
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katie.193
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(Original post by Fatimabibi_)
Wow! That's amazing!!
Could you please give me some revision tips? Also what did you get in your English GCSE?
(I wrote so much I'm so sorry!!)
Thanks!! I was predicted no higher than a B all year and I got a B at AS, then resat and got As this year and almost full UMS in my A2 modules, so revision honest to god saved my life.

Different things work for different people with revision, at AS I always used posters and comic strips to memorise studies, but lots of people prefer flashcards. Try both ways and see what works best. I used flashcards when I retook the AS exams because my revision was very last-minute and I felt like they worked more for short-term memory, while having posters up for a few weeks before the exams lodged information in my long-term memory. The reason I went up a grade was probably more to do with the skills I picked up at A2 than the revision, though. Essay writing skills are important but at AS it's more important that you can discuss the pros and cons of a theory or a piece of research than it is to have perfect English. If you're going to struggle with essay writing, ask your teacher for help outside of class, make sure you know how to structure a 12 mark essay, and write practice essays and ask for marks and feedback.

At A2 you'll probably come across this site loopa.co.uk where the owner writes booklets full of model essays. Some people like to memorise these essays word for word, but I didn't like that, especially as examiners were becoming aware of it. It wasn't considered cheating, but examiners reports stated that some students were losing marks because they didn't think the essays were always perfect, and some students struggle to adapt the full 24 mark essays when the questions are smaller (eg you could get a 10+6 mark question and an 8 mark question instead). Instead I wrote my own essays, but loopa's essays did come in handy when I wasn't sure where I was going with the next paragraph or which researchers I should include. You could get 12 mark questions in AS exams, so loopa has some of those too, but my advice would be to make use of loopa without relying on it too much - make sure you're confident in writing your own essays in case you can't remember a paragraph you memorised in the exam.

Another thing that helped me a LOT was writing every essay that could possibly come up. I know that sounds like a lot, but the specification outlines everything they could ask you - it's probably easier if you ask your teacher for a list of possible 12 mark questions. Start them as soon as you can, hand them in for grades and improve on them if you need to. Even if you don't try to memorise every essay (which I didn't lol who has time) the question won't be intimidating if you've done it before.

A lot of people try to memorise entire essays, but it just causes so much stress and takes up so much time. If it works for you, then great! I just don't understand it hahaha, in my opinion it was much easier just to have a bullet point style list of topics I want to include and researchers I need for each essay, and I put them into spider diagrams and memorised those smaller points using songs and acronyms.

Organisation is important in revision, make sure you know which researchers you need for which topics so that when you see a question or a key phrase like "stress and the immune system" a name will come to your head straight away. Generally you only need one or two pieces of research to support a point, so don't learn lots of researchers names if they're all saying the same thing.

Sorry I've written so much hahahaha but I hope it helps, also do your best in every mock/assessment so you know where you're at and don't get disheartened if you get grades you're not happy with at first because the essay writing takes time to learn, I was getting Es and Ds for a long time this year, I think I got a D in my January mock but in the few months before exams I wrote countless essays, my teachers hated me for it lol but they'll be glad I did now.

I got an A* in my English GCSEs but English is my first language and writing essays in psychology is nothing like writing essays in English because in psychology they will be science based. Which reminds me - learn about the scientific method!! It's things like, what makes a piece of research reliable and valid, and how theories are made etc., you might find it in AS books with the new spec but if not you'll definitely find it in current or old A2 books. A big part of psychology is trying to make it as scientific as possible so using knowledge of the scientific method to support or criticise studies and theories can get you some good marks.

I'm so sorry I wrote so much you were probably expecting "highlight important things!!" (also a good tip, highlight researchers names if you're going to use them) and instead you got a whole novel hahahahaha
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Fatimabibi_
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(Original post by katie.193)
(I wrote so much I'm so sorry!!)
Thanks!! I was predicted no higher than a B all year and I got a B at AS, then resat and got As this year and almost full UMS in my A2 modules, so revision honest to god saved my life.

Different things work for different people with revision, at AS I always used posters and comic strips to memorise studies, but lots of people prefer flashcards. Try both ways and see what works best. I used flashcards when I retook the AS exams because my revision was very last-minute and I felt like they worked more for short-term memory, while having posters up for a few weeks before the exams lodged information in my long-term memory. The reason I went up a grade was probably more to do with the skills I picked up at A2 than the revision, though. Essay writing skills are important but at AS it's more important that you can discuss the pros and cons of a theory or a piece of research than it is to have perfect English. If you're going to struggle with essay writing, ask your teacher for help outside of class, make sure you know how to structure a 12 mark essay, and write practice essays and ask for marks and feedback.

At A2 you'll probably come across this site loopa.co.uk where the owner writes booklets full of model essays. Some people like to memorise these essays word for word, but I didn't like that, especially as examiners were becoming aware of it. It wasn't considered cheating, but examiners reports stated that some students were losing marks because they didn't think the essays were always perfect, and some students struggle to adapt the full 24 mark essays when the questions are smaller (eg you could get a 10+6 mark question and an 8 mark question instead). Instead I wrote my own essays, but loopa's essays did come in handy when I wasn't sure where I was going with the next paragraph or which researchers I should include. You could get 12 mark questions in AS exams, so loopa has some of those too, but my advice would be to make use of loopa without relying on it too much - make sure you're confident in writing your own essays in case you can't remember a paragraph you memorised in the exam.

Another thing that helped me a LOT was writing every essay that could possibly come up. I know that sounds like a lot, but the specification outlines everything they could ask you - it's probably easier if you ask your teacher for a list of possible 12 mark questions. Start them as soon as you can, hand them in for grades and improve on them if you need to. Even if you don't try to memorise every essay (which I didn't lol who has time) the question won't be intimidating if you've done it before.

A lot of people try to memorise entire essays, but it just causes so much stress and takes up so much time. If it works for you, then great! I just don't understand it hahaha, in my opinion it was much easier just to have a bullet point style list of topics I want to include and researchers I need for each essay, and I put them into spider diagrams and memorised those smaller points using songs and acronyms.

Organisation is important in revision, make sure you know which researchers you need for which topics so that when you see a question or a key phrase like "stress and the immune system" a name will come to your head straight away. Generally you only need one or two pieces of research to support a point, so don't learn lots of researchers names if they're all saying the same thing.

Sorry I've written so much hahahaha but I hope it helps, also do your best in every mock/assessment so you know where you're at and don't get disheartened if you get grades you're not happy with at first because the essay writing takes time to learn, I was getting Es and Ds for a long time this year, I think I got a D in my January mock but in the few months before exams I wrote countless essays, my teachers hated me for it lol but they'll be glad I did now.

I got an A* in my English GCSEs but English is my first language and writing essays in psychology is nothing like writing essays in English because in psychology they will be science based. Which reminds me - learn about the scientific method!! It's things like, what makes a piece of research reliable and valid, and how theories are made etc., you might find it in AS books with the new spec but if not you'll definitely find it in current or old A2 books. A big part of psychology is trying to make it as scientific as possible so using knowledge of the scientific method to support or criticise studies and theories can get you some good marks.

I'm so sorry I wrote so much you were probably expecting "highlight important things!!" (also a good tip, highlight researchers names if you're going to use them) and instead you got a whole novel hahahahaha
Thank you so much for this!
I'm actually scared of taking this subject as I feel as though I will fail. It seems like a hard course 😶.
How many essay plans did you have to memorise? And what other subjects did you take?
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katie.193
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(Original post by Fatimabibi_)
Thank you so much for this!
I'm actually scared of taking this subject as I feel as though I will fail. It seems like a hard course 😶.
How many essay plans did you have to memorise? And what other subjects did you take?
It is tough but as long as you put the same work you put into every A-level into it, you will be fine! It'll take some time to get the writing techniques right so don't accept failure, just keep working on it because it is possible to do really well even if you fail all year like me lol

AS was a lot easier because the essays were shorter (12 marks), so I didn't need to memorise whole essay plans for those, I just practised them all during the year and before the exam I practised the questions I was less confident on. A2 is different because almost every question is guaranteed to include an essay. As long as it works the same as it did when I took my exams, the questions in 4 out of the 6 topics you study are likely to just be one big 24 mark essay. There are a lot of essays to remember, I had 26 essay plans, but the advantage is that once you're confident in all of them, you're confident in absolutely anything the exam could throw at you.

I also took maths and biology, and AS Spanish in year 12
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