Which a-levels would best prepare me for a psychology degree? Watch

JMcGarry00
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I'm thinking of doing chemistry, biology and psychology. Are there any other A levels that will help me as opposed to chemistry as it's meant to be hell. Does chemistry actually pose useful or is it just good for scientists and doctors?
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FinalMasquerade
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Hi JMcGarry00,

It is course dependent, and would also be influenced by your abilities. I think you mentioned being interested in neuropsychology? As such, I would imagine both Biology and Chemistry being useful for you. You would also have the added benefit of pursuing medicine if you change your mind later on. (Though I am a little biased as I am speaking from personal experience of regretting not having Chemistry.)

In terms of the actual Psychology degree, there is regular report writing (research projects, labs), as well as statistics modules (often open book exams). You will pick these skills up on the course.
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JMcGarry00
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Yeah, neuropsychology. Is the chemistry in psychology difficult to understand? Why do you regret not choosing it?
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FinalMasquerade
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From what I can recall, no. There was not a heavy emphasis on the course I chose (pure Psychology, but there may be neuropsychology degrees available, or joint honours courses, but again check BPS accreditation). There may be modules such as Psychopathology, Cognition, etc. Though, you can understand these with the course materials, in any case.

I regret not doing Chemistry as I am now wanting to go in to graduate entry for medicine. I am limited by my options due to not having a Chemistry A Level.
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psychstudent1209
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(Original post by JMcGarry00)
I'm thinking of doing chemistry, biology and psychology. Are there any other A levels that will help me as opposed to chemistry as it's meant to be hell. Does chemistry actually pose useful or is it just good for scientists and doctors?
Having taken those exact subjects this year with an EPQ as well, my advice is that you should genuinely pick whichever A-Levels interest you the most. I know people say that a lot about most things, but it's true in this case.

If Psychology is an option for you (which it seems to be), definitely go for it because it'll develop your passion for the subject further or be an indicator that you might not want to pursue it in the future - from what I did this year (I've just finished Year 12) there was a very good balance between essay-style questions and biological/mathematical content, so it'll almost certainly be useful. Just keep in mind that Psychology whilst useful isn't essential, as with any other A-level to get onto the degree course since it's non-subject specific in MOST places. Always check with the universities first.

As for Biology, there's a small Biopsychology section in Y12 and a bigger section in Y13 so it might actually come in handy. Saying this, there's a big difference between the biological content in the main subject than what appears in Psychology - in Psychology, it's mainly neurological and 100% nothing to do with plants (thankfully..), but Biology this year hasn't really gone into any detail about that side of the spectrum. Again, it might be useful, but if you did well (so I'd say like.. if you got a 6/7 or above) in GCSE Biology I wouldn't worry too much.

Chemistry.. I hated it this year for the most part, so no I wouldn't advise it. If you like the subject, by all means go for it but I've done nothing that's crossed over with Psychology at all. If you have options open to you such as Law, Health & Social Care, Sociology, Politics or Criminology then I'd advise taking one of those to broaden your social science or healthcare content (HSC actually links in with Psychology more than Biology does in AS), if not then English Language or even an art-based subject to add diversity into your options (if you enjoy any, that is, personally I love music and I regret not picking it at GCSE or picking Music Performance at A-level).

If you're interested in neuropsychology specifically, I'm pretty sure you can specialise in neuropsychology at Master's level once you've completed your BSc Psychology degree (or equivalent, IK there's joint honours degrees as well, some of which hold BPS accreditation which is important if you wanna become a psychologist so always look out for whether the uni course is BPS-accredited ). Don't worry too much but if you're genuinely concerned then talk to your teachers about the best option for you. (I'd suggest looking into Neuroscience by the way if you do end up taking Bio/Chem, that'd be right down your street for sure.)

ALSO.. if you have the option to do an EPQ (Extended Project Qualification), I would strongly advise that you do one because it'll definitely develop your essay-writing skills a lot if you choose to do a dissertation (an extended-writing discussion on any topic of your choice, and if you're interested in Psychology like me then definitely base it on a Psychology-related topic). It also helps you when you come to reference your work, which you'll need to do at university anyway. I wish you the best of luck with whatever you choose to do though!
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JMcGarry00
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Thank you so much, your advice has been invaluable to making my A-level decisions. In that case, I'll do Psychology, Biology and either music, Spanish or HSC.
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marinade
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Chemistry gets a bad press. I can't work out why so few people in the psychology studentdom dislike it so much.

I never studied psychology, but I found Chemistry invaluable in pharmacy and understanding various bits of biology/neuroscience that so many psychology students crave to understand and usually fail at. It's your loss in life if you don't study it.
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Myrtey
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Most people who I know studied psychology and wanted to take it further also took two of biology, chemistry, or maths. I don't take psychology so I dont know from experience, but I heard the stats section of maths can be quite useful for it.
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psychstudent1209
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(Original post by marinade)
Chemistry gets a bad press. I can't work out why so few people in the psychology studentdom dislike it so much.

I never studied psychology, but I found Chemistry invaluable in pharmacy and understanding various bits of biology/neuroscience that so many psychology students crave to understand and usually fail at. It's your loss in life if you don't study it.
I think taking a science subject if you someone intends to go down a Neuroscience route is a no-brainer (I mean it's kinda compulsory) and I would also have to agree with you on how Chemistry is very good at aiding the understanding of certain biological processes. As for not studying it and being at a loss, it honestly depends on how the individual feels about whether they'd need to deepen their scientific knowledge before pursuing a Psychology degree and then further postgraduate study in more scientific areas, i.e. clinical psychology, neuropsychology, biopsychology, psychopharmacology etc,. Nothing I've done in either Chemistry or Biology has helped me with the scientific concepts within Psychology and I highly doubt they'll impact my comprehension of them next year either - there's some pretty hefty neurological content that comes up in Year 2 like hemispheric lateralisation, electroencephalograms/ERPs/fMRIs, endogenous pacemakers, exogenous zeitgebers and circadian/infradian/ultradian rhythms - the only one of those that I've done anything about in Chemistry has been about nuclear magnetic resonance imaging but even then it's sort of not closely related enough to what's taught in Psychology about fMRIs to impact someone's understanding of them to a great extent. Also, Biology hasn't really touched on any neurological content thus far (more to do with shapes and molecules, the heart, communicable diseases, respiration in plants and ecology), but I'm excited to see what the next year holds. Saying all of this, there's no doubting the value of Chemistry at all, it's just whether someone's suited to the subject or whether it's required for their course that's the key. Personally I wanted to go down the Psychiatry route but changed my mind during the course of this year (I now intend to look into clinical psychology or psychopathology) and highly regret picking Chemistry as I've not found it enjoyable since before my GCSEs began and I'm now going into Year 13 - if anything it'd hindered me more than it's helped this year, but that's not to say it's like that for everyone else.
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TigerTia
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(Original post by JMcGarry00)
I'm thinking of doing chemistry, biology and psychology. Are there any other A levels that will help me as opposed to chemistry as it's meant to be hell. Does chemistry actually pose useful or is it just good for scientists and doctors?
Everyone that I know says that biology is much worse than chemistry. However chemistry contains a lot more maths content. I recommend you look at what potential universities are looking for (usually two sciences) and see what you can do around that. It’s also worth mentioning that if you want any career in the psychology area your going to want an MSc not an MA so chemistry would probably be more beneficial as you aren’t taking maths and the MSc is more number based
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bones-mccoy
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Maths would be useful as you'd cover Statistics which is heavily featured in Psychology degrees. As long as you have some science-based subjects you'll be fine, you don't even need A Level Psychology to study it at degree level a lot of the time.
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