jennybear
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Hi i'm picking my A-Levels next year and was thinking of doing Government & Politics, History and Psychology.

Could anyone who has done any of these subjects please tell me what it is like?

Also I understand that History is the only subject I am thinking of doing that is a facilitating subject - will this impact me should I apply to a Russel Group uni? How important is it that I do two facilitating subjects, as stated on their website?

Thanks
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randomsheep11
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Tbf, I do none of those subjects. But I'd really be an advocate for doing at least 2 facilitating subjects. I would say History and G&P go very well together. Psychology is said to be very hard, as you need to remember loads of studies, be good at the science parts, and be able to write good essays at the same time.
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minivampire
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Heyy I took Psychology!
Honestly, I loved it, and everyone in my class preferred it over other subjects they took (mainly biology, sociology, health and social...)

Anything specific you'd like to know? the course content? what the exams are like?..
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username3508100
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I do Psychology and History, love them both. History, for me, was a huge step up from GCSE and I do struggle with essay writing, a lot even though I was good at it in the lower years. There's a lot of historiography, like with the degree and a lot of information. Psychology is the degree I aim to study so obviously I love it, therefore I don't find it too difficult. The maths can be tricky if you, like me, struggle with numbers but it shouldn't put you off. There are a lot of theories and studies that we have to know, plus biological elements as well as essay writing so it's a very rounded subject, which I find fascinating. I wouldn't say History and Psychology complement each other all that well, however, I take RS too and the three of them weave into each other perfectly.

In regards to the second part of your post, what do you want to study at uni?
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laurenai
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Hi!

I study Government and Politics and History at A level, and they're both essay-based subjects. It can be a lot of work, both courses have quite a lot of content that is essential to take in, in order to obtain good marks. The workload however, is very manageable and can be fun if you like the topics but it is essential to consolidate information you are given and it is advisable that you often do extra essays in order to improve your writing skills and essay structure.

There's also source questions in both courses, so make sure you're comfortable with those too! Overall tbough, I think they're very manageable and easy to do well in if you like the topics.

As for facilitating subjects, I personally don't think it matters. I will be applying to Russel Group universities and I'm only studying one 'facilitating' subject and my college are aware of this and have not flagged this up. I'm fairly certain that it doesn't really matter at all.

Hope this helps, also happy to answer any other questions you might have.
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jennybear
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(Original post by minivampire)
Heyy I took Psychology!
Honestly, I loved it, and everyone in my class preferred it over other subjects they took (mainly biology, sociology, health and social...)

Anything specific you'd like to know? the course content? what the exams are like?..
Hi something I would like to ask about the exams - from looking at specimen papers and everything, in the exams there seems to be statements, like where it is like "Zina witnessed a violent incident". I was just wondering how do you answer these types of questions? It's just that I've seen nothing like this at GCSE

Also, do you find that there is a lot of science content in the course? I'm ok at Science but it's not my strongest subject... do you think that could hold me back?

Thanks for your quick reply btw
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jennybear
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(Original post by wastedcuriosity)
I do Psychology and History, love them both. History, for me, was a huge step up from GCSE and I do struggle with essay writing, a lot even though I was good at it in the lower years. There's a lot of historiography, like with the degree and a lot of information. Psychology is the degree I aim to study so obviously I love it, therefore I don't find it too difficult. The maths can be tricky if you, like me, struggle with numbers but it shouldn't put you off. There are a lot of theories and studies that we have to know, plus biological elements as well as essay writing so it's a very rounded subject, which I find fascinating. I wouldn't say History and Psychology complement each other all that well, however, I take RS too and the three of them weave into each other perfectly.

In regards to the second part of your post, what do you want to study at uni?
Thanks - yeah, lots of people say that the step up from GCSE to A-Level is huge!

I do find maths difficult at times - i'm not a natural, however if I work at it then I'll understand it.

I want to study Law at uni - where i'm not fully sure, but definitely at one of the higher ranking ones (Russel Group). I'm not clever enough for Oxbridge though!
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Tasha Black
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Hi, I did psychology and government and politics for A2. I also did history AS however I dropped it as I found the content uninteresting (British empire) and the essay technique to be very different to gcse. Despite that if you like history it is a very good a level and I would definitely recommend psychology ( lots of memorising) and politics. Overall I ended up doing psy, politics and photography but had no problem getting offers from Russel groups 😊
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username3508100
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(Original post by jennybear)
Thanks - yeah, lots of people say that the step up from GCSE to A-Level is huge!

I do find maths difficult at times - i'm not a natural, however if I work at it then I'll understand it.

I want to study Law at uni - where i'm not fully sure, but definitely at one of the higher ranking ones (Russel Group). I'm not clever enough for Oxbridge though!
Oooh fab, history and psychology are really good subjects for law at uni, at least in my opinion. History, in particular, gives you a lot of skills needed for the degree. I actually had law in mind when I picked my A-Levels. Good luck!!
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jennybear
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(Original post by laurenai)
Hi!

I study Government and Politics and History at A level, and they're both essay-based subjects. It can be a lot of work, both courses have quite a lot of content that is essential to take in, in order to obtain good marks. The workload however, is very manageable and can be fun if you like the topics but it is essential to consolidate information you are given and it is advisable that you often do extra essays in order to improve your writing skills and essay structure.

There's also source questions in both courses, so make sure you're comfortable with those too! Overall tbough, I think they're very manageable and easy to do well in if you like the topics.

As for facilitating subjects, I personally don't think it matters. I will be applying to Russel Group universities and I'm only studying one 'facilitating' subject and my college are aware of this and have not flagged this up. I'm fairly certain that it doesn't really matter at all.

Hope this helps, also happy to answer any other questions you might have.
Thanks

Yeah, I really don't want to choose my subjects then fourteen months later find out that I can't apply for the course that I want to do (law) because of my subject choices. I really enjoy the idea of Politics and find it interesting, I've looked through the specification and it seems quite interesting (for AQA).

Essay structure is something that I have to really work on to get it - but when I do, I can follow it through.
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jennybear
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(Original post by wastedcuriosity)
Oooh fab, history and psychology are really good subjects for law at uni, at least in my opinion. History, in particular, gives you a lot of skills needed for the degree. I actually had law in mind when I picked my A-Levels. Good luck!!
Thank you! You too
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jennybear
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(Original post by Tasha Black)
Hi, I did psychology and government and politics for A2. I also did history AS however I dropped it as I found the content uninteresting (British empire) and the essay technique to be very different to gcse. Despite that if you like history it is a very good a level and I would definitely recommend psychology ( lots of memorising) and politics. Overall I ended up doing psy, politics and photography but had no problem getting offers from Russel groups 😊
Thanks for your reply - I've heard that the essay format (and exam questioning) is very different from GCSE, and would take some getting used to...

And it's great to hear that you study Psychology and Politics, and still have ended up getting offers from RG unis. Well done for your offers btw!
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minivampire
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(Original post by jennybear)
Hi something I would like to ask about the exams - from looking at specimen papers and everything, in the exams there seems to be statements, like where it is like "Zina witnessed a violent incident". I was just wondering how do you answer these types of questions? It's just that I've seen nothing like this at GCSE

Also, do you find that there is a lot of science content in the course? I'm ok at Science but it's not my strongest subject... do you think that could hold me back?

Thanks for your quick reply btw
The type of question you are referring to "Zina" is what we call an AO2 question, there are three styles of questions you can get...

AO1 - Knowledge question, you'll just state knowledge of that question. Such as 'Outline a study into conformity'. (don't worry about the terms you'll get a hang of it!
For this you will talk about the procedure and findings of an experiment (ASCH or Zimbardo).
I would suggest looking into Asch, Zimbardo and Milgram - they'll be your main guys for your first paper (social influence section).

AO2 - Application. The question will have a scenario. "Jack says..." "Ethan saw..." etc. Followed by a question...Referring to the conversation, demonstrate how this shows such and such.
When writing your answer you will refer to the conversation, I'll demonstrate a random question
Jay says "It is interesting how when Sarah smiles, Emily smiles back" (I know, weird conversation)
I would say "Referring to Jay's conversation with his friend, when Sarah smiles and Emily smiles back, they are showing reciprocity" You would then explain what reciprocity is.
-- At first I hated these type of questions, they confused me in the beginning, but I eventually loved them and hoped for them to be on the exam! I'm sorry my explanation is so bad.. I could explain it to you better if I used a real question xD

AO3 - Evaluation. Strengths and weaknesses.
Such as what is the strength of Zimbardo's experiment?

You can also get these types of questions together as an essay.
So AO1 + AO3. You would explain the topic, then explain what the strengths and weaknesses are.
In your first year essays are worth 12 marks, in the second year they're 16 marks.

A lack of knowledge would not hold you back at all! You'd be fine, science was never my strongest suit - although I loved biology.
You do have a section called 'biopsychology' which is obviously biology and psychology (on paper 2), which looks a little daunting - but it really is not that bad! I dreaded it on the paper...but I ended up doing amazing on this section in the mocks

There are studies which you need to remember, and it does seem like a lot! But honestly, they stick so well because the experiments are just so weird and wonderful! The only experiments I found that people struggled with were the ones on paper 3, this is the optional topics paper. So every college will be doing a different section.
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laurenai
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(Original post by jennybear)
Thanks

Yeah, I really don't want to choose my subjects then fourteen months later find out that I can't apply for the course that I want to do (law) because of my subject choices. I really enjoy the idea of Politics and find it interesting, I've looked through the specification and it seems quite interesting (for AQA).

Essay structure is something that I have to really work on to get it - but when I do, I can follow it through.

I study btec applied law alongside politics and history, and honestly law and politics gel together so well. There's a lot of overlap, or there was in my case. For law, I think politics, psychology and potentially law would be great choices if you're aiming to study law at university. Even though most law degrees don't usually have any specific course requirements, there's people in my classes and friends who take a level law who wish to do law at university and they take it to gain insight into law as a subject.
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jennybear
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(Original post by minivampire)
The type of question you are referring to "Zina" is what we call an AO2 question, there are three styles of questions you can get...

AO1 - Knowledge question, you'll just state knowledge of that question. Such as 'Outline a study into conformity'. (don't worry about the terms you'll get a hang of it!
For this you will talk about the procedure and findings of an experiment (ASCH or Zimbardo).
I would suggest looking into Asch, Zimbardo and Milgram - they'll be your main guys for your first paper (social influence section).

AO2 - Application. The question will have a scenario. "Jack says..." "Ethan saw..." etc. Followed by a question...Referring to the conversation, demonstrate how this shows such and such.
When writing your answer you will refer to the conversation, I'll demonstrate a random question
Jay says "It is interesting how when Sarah smiles, Emily smiles back" (I know, weird conversation)
I would say "Referring to Jay's conversation with his friend, when Sarah smiles and Emily smiles back, they are showing reciprocity" You would then explain what reciprocity is.
-- At first I hated these type of questions, they confused me in the beginning, but I eventually loved them and hoped for them to be on the exam! I'm sorry my explanation is so bad.. I could explain it to you better if I used a real question xD

AO3 - Evaluation. Strengths and weaknesses.
Such as what is the strength of Zimbardo's experiment?

You can also get these types of questions together as an essay.
So AO1 + AO3. You would explain the topic, then explain what the strengths and weaknesses are.
In your first year essays are worth 12 marks, in the second year they're 16 marks.

Thank you so much - I finally understand what those annoying assessment objectives are now!

I'll do the research into those areas you suggested -

It's so relieving to hear that someone gets the essay structure - I think like you said, you will get used to it, and be able to carry it out perfectly

Thanks for all your help explaining this
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Tasha Black
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(Original post by jennybear)
Thanks for your reply - I've heard that the essay format (and exam questioning) is very different from GCSE, and would take some getting used to...

And it's great to hear that you study Psychology and Politics, and still have ended up getting offers from RG unis. Well done for your offers btw!
Yes the essay structure was definitely a step up and I struggled with it. However I still like essay subjects and found politics essays absolutely fine.

Thank you and best of luck to you!!!
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jennybear
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(Original post by laurenai)
I study btec applied law alongside politics and history, and honestly law and politics gel together so well. There's a lot of overlap, or there was in my case. For law, I think politics, psychology and potentially law would be great choices if you're aiming to study law at university. Even though most law degrees don't usually have any specific course requirements, there's people in my classes and friends who take a level law who wish to do law at university and they take it to gain insight into law as a subject.
Thanks, that's a great idea - me doing A-Level/BTEC Law would mean I would get to see the course and understand what it is all about. It's definitely something that I will consider strongly before I make my final choices
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jennybear
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(Original post by Tasha Black)
Yes the essay structure was definitely a step up and I struggled with it. However I still like essay subjects and found politics essays absolutely fine.

Thank you and best of luck to you!!!
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minivampire
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(Original post by jennybear)
Thank you so much - I finally understand what those annoying assessment objectives are now!

I'll do the research into those areas you suggested -

It's so relieving to hear that someone gets the essay structure - I think like you said, you will get used to it, and be able to carry it out perfectly

Thanks for all your help explaining this
No problem, when you start - if you ever need help in anything, don't hesitate but ask okay

https://www.simplypsychology.org/a-l...sychology.html - I used this site for revision, but it doesn't have everything you need
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jennybear
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(Original post by minivampire)
No problem, when you start - if you ever need help in anything, don't hesitate but ask okay

https://www.simplypsychology.org/a-l...sychology.html - I used this site for revision, but it doesn't have everything you need
Thank you - that's so kind of you

That website looks really cool, I will have a scan through the details on the pages to see the types of stuff i'll be learning about - I find that the specification doesn't really say much!
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