Psychology or Sociology - Which one??

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ravenwing
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To all the psychology/sociology students out there - what are they like? I'm thinking of doing one for A-Level, so what are the pros/cons/skills needed etc of them? Friends say that sociology is the 'easier' of the two, or not a 'real' A- level, but none of them actually do it, so i would like some inside knowledge
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nzy
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I've just been doing psychology for a couple months so I can't really speak for what sociology is like. Both are essay focused so you need to be able to write well, but psychology probably has the shortest questions with 16 marks at most.
From what I've heard from people in my class who do both psychology goes further into the science side of behaviour, but you definitely still have to look at research methods, collecting data, ethics etc in both. That said, sociology is generally easier and not really considered a science because it doesn't require any biology, whereas psychology involves looking at some stuff like the nervous system, hormones and the brain.
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T.J.A
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I do both so I'll let you know what I think
Psychology:
Pros - Very varied topics (you do 11 with AQA, including research methods, so if you have 1 topic you don't like it isn't a major part of the course (research methods not counting, but we'll come back to that).
The longest essay at AS is 12 marks and at A2 it's 16 marks, which isn't that long so if you aren't stellar at essay's it isn't a problem.
Has a scientific basis (if you like that of course, this may be a con if it isn't your thing but the science isn't too hard).
The class book we use (

Cons - A large focus on Research Methods (It's minimum 25% across all three papers, and paper 2 has a section solely on Research Methods which is worth 48 marks, double the length of any other section). The stuff covered is also much harder then Sociology, with things like statistic testing, Sociology research methods is much easier.
Many people think it will be all things like 'mind reading' or mental health discussions, it isn't. As a result many people in my school were disappointed with it and dropped it.

Sociology:
Pros - Essay's can be worth up to 30 marks, the paper is out of 80 marks, so if essay's are your thing you'll be good.
Research methods is much easier then in Psychology, you won't need to revise research methods in Sociology for very long.
Less scientific, so if science isn't your thing you'll be happy here.

Cons - There are 6 main sections, including research methods and a section called 'theories and methods, so if you find a section you don't like you'll be with it for a long time.
Paper 2 is the 'optional topics' paper, so you have 8 options to choose from and your school will pick 2 of those 8, if you get an unpopular topic there might not be as many resources available. Anecdotal evidence I know, but one of my Sociology teachers told us how one year they did the topic 'The Media' for A2 and there were no extra resources to help them, so they switched to Beliefs in Society the next year.
If you use the Ken Brown book as your class book it is very wordy and awful to revise from, so buy the CGP book, it's a life saver.
Last edited by T.J.A; 1 year ago
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absolutelysprout
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i do psychology- it's a subject you need to be prepared to write a lot for! it's an essay based subject and i personally find it so interesting- the topics are broad and encompass a variety of things so there's likely to be at least one topic you'll enjoy.
there's a lot of case studies and dates you need to remember, and there's a fair amount of content so being able to condense information down will be useful when coming to revising. you learn about stats and all that but i believe that you don't need to be a great mathematician or doing a level maths to be able to do the stats stuff- it's slightly maths based and science based but i wouldn't say it's super difficult.

i have a friend who does psychology and sociology and she says that she finds sociology easier.
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username3731912
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It really doesn't matter. Both are generally on universities preferred subjects list. It depends what you want to do. I do sociology and am doing it in a year and yet I don't find it too hard to cope with doing an entire subject in a year. It's more content heavy than psychology which is maybe a con for me because I have the worst memory ever lol. That being said, the theories are normally slightly easier to understand.

I think a thing to consider is that for my spec anyway, there aren't many chapters in sociology - there are just a lot of topics within them. In psychology, there are more chapters so more of a variety.

Both are fine - choose it based on interest.
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ravenwing
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Thank you everyone!
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Daniyal Shah
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(Original post by T.J.A)
I do both so I'll let you know what I think
Psychology:
Pros - Very varied topics (you do 11 with AQA, including research methods, so if you have 1 topic you don't like it isn't a major part of the course (research methods not counting, but we'll come back to that).
The longest essay at AS is 12 marks and at A2 it's 16 marks, which isn't that long so if you aren't stellar at essay's it isn't a problem.
Has a scientific basis (if you like that of course, this may be a con if it isn't your thing but the science isn't too hard).
The class book we use (

Cons - A large focus on Research Methods (It's minimum 25% across all three papers, and paper 2 has a section solely on Research Methods which is worth 48 marks, double the length of any other section). The stuff covered is also much harder then Sociology, with things like statistic testing, Sociology research methods is much easier.
Many people think it will be all things like 'mind reading' or mental health discussions, it isn't. As a result many people in my school were disappointed with it and dropped it.

Sociology:
Pros - Essay's can be worth up to 30 marks, the paper is out of 80 marks, so if essay's are your thing you'll be good.
Research methods is much easier then in Psychology, you won't need to revise research methods in Sociology for very long.
Less scientific, so if science isn't your thing you'll be happy here.

Cons - There are 6 main sections, including research methods and a section called 'theories and methods, so if you find a section you don't like you'll be with it for a long time.
Paper 2 is the 'optional topics' paper, so you have 8 options to choose from and your school will pick 2 of those 8, if you get an unpopular topic there might not be as many resources available. Anecdotal evidence I know, but one of my Sociology teachers told us how one year they did the topic 'The Media' for A2 and there were no extra resources to help them, so they switched to Beliefs in Society the next year.
If you use the Ken Brown book as your class book it is very wordy and awful to revise from, so buy the CGP book, it's a life saver.
I am also doing psychology can you help me out ?
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T.J.A
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(Original post by Daniyal Shah)
I am also doing psychology can you help me out ?
Help you out in what what way? I do AQA BTW.
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Daniyal Shah
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(Original post by T.J.A)
Help you out in what what way? I do AQA BTW.
Any idea how to solve this question ?Attachment 783928
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T.J.A
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(Original post by Daniyal Shah)
Any idea how to solve this question ?Attachment 783928
I can't see the question.
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Daniyal Shah
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(Original post by T.J.A)
I can't see the question.
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T.J.A
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(Original post by Daniyal Shah)
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We haven't done designing a study in class you but I'll do my best. So, firstly we need to identify the IV and then DV, then we need to find a way to research it. We're looking for a correlation here so we need to pick a research method which will let us test this correlation. We need to also decide whether we need qualitative or quantitative data. I'm thinking something like a questionnaire would be good. Next, look at sampling so what people do we need, are they from a range of groups etc? Finally, think about how we can keep the data reliable and valid, also, think about any ethical issues
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Daniyal Shah
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(Original post by T.J.A)
We haven't done designing a study in class you but I'll do my best. So, firstly we need to identify the IV and then DV, then we need to find a way to research it. We're looking for a correlation here so we need to pick a research method which will let us test this correlation. We need to also decide whether we need qualitative or quantitative data. I'm thinking something like a questionnaire would be good. Next, look at sampling so what people do we need, are they from a range of groups etc? Finally, think about how we can keep the data reliable and valid, also, think about any ethical issues
Thanks
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Kayla1709
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I have been taking sociology AS with the CIE board and the topics were family and theory and methods and honestly I found it the most mind numbing, boring and useless subject ever. I wanted to be a psychiatric nurse and I was told that’s a good one for applying to university. It was absolutely terrible.
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Emma:-)
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I did sociology.
I loved it. It was very interesting. It was also the one i found the easiest (but that could just be me). Id deffo recommend it. And yes it is a proper a-level.
I didnt do psychology though so cant comment on that.
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