BioChemLad
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So I have just started year 12, and have had lessons in the three subjects I am taking: Biology, Chemistry and History. As I am aware that biology and chemistry require alot of work, I was wondering if anyone did both psychology and history, which they prefer, and if i should swap history for psychology. I am interested in history but feel like psychology would be less work and just as interesting. I need AAA to study medicine so was wondering how different my work load would be, any help is appreciated.
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Deanna R
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Hiya i did both history and psychology, the content for psychology is easier to remember then for history
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6th form student
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Hi I have also started year 12 and I’m taking the same A levels. I really enjoyed history at GCSE but after my first week of A level history I feel as though history may not be for me as it seems like a lot of work and I don’t feel particularly interested in it (I also want to do Medicine), so I need to get at least an A. Therefore, I was thinking of taking Psychology as it seems quite interesting and the chance of me getting an A could be higher.I initially took history as I was looking forward to it and I know that it is regarded highly by Russell group universities, also if I decided not to do Medicine and go for law instead it would provide me with the necessary skills to succeed in a law degree. Therefore, I am confused to whether I should try to get over my initial feelings of history and stick with it as I might enjoy it further down the line, or should I switch to Psychology and potentially make sixth form a bit easier (although I know that all a levels will have some sort of challenging aspect to them.)I would be grateful for any advice or suggestions.
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Rouge1234
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Hey,
I am currently in year 13 doing bio, chem and history. I too, was pondering between history and psychology at the start of year 12. Most of my friends do psychology and the content does seem really interesting. In terms of workload, both are relatively easy to understand, but I would say history requires a more 'refined' writing style + it is more time-consuming - regular essays and coursework tend to eat into your revision time.
Psychology is very respectable A-Level and it can be a nice break from bio and chem. However, it is perfectly possible to manage sixth form doing history instead - though I would say that it is a bit harder.
Does your school allow you to have jump between options in the first few weeks? - I attended some Maths and English lessons before sticking with History in the end.
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Rouge1234
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(Original post by 6th form student)
Hi I have also started year 12 and I’m taking the same A levels. I really enjoyed history at GCSE but after my first week of A level history I feel as though history may not be for me as it seems like a lot of work and I don’t feel particularly interested in it (I also want to do Medicine), so I need to get at least an A. Therefore, I was thinking of taking Psychology as it seems quite interesting and the chance of me getting an A could be higher.I initially took history as I was looking forward to it and I know that it is regarded highly by Russell group universities, also if I decided not to do Medicine and go for law instead it would provide me with the necessary skills to succeed in a law degree. Therefore, I am confused to whether I should try to get over my initial feelings of history and stick with it as I might enjoy it further down the line, or should I switch to Psychology and potentially make sixth form a bit easier (although I know that all a levels will have some sort of challenging aspect to them.)I would be grateful for any advice or suggestions.
Hey, a law degree doesn't require you to do history as such but doing so improves your writing and vocabulary in general. But, history can be a very time-consuming subject - If you don't seem interested maybe attend a few psychology lessons before you make up mind. Personally, I think having a solid interest in a subject is key when pursuing it at A-levels, otherwise it just becomes a chore.
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Hi thanks a lot for the advice. Yeah my school allow you to change your subjects in the first few weeks, that’s a good idea I’ll ask if I can go to some Psychology lessons before I make my decision. I’m also going to speak to my history teacher to find out what history will be like further into the course as it might just be the initial part of it which I’m not that interested in.

What exam board do you do for history?

(Original post by Rouge1234)
Hey,
I am currently in year 13 doing bio, chem and history. I too, was pondering between history and psychology at the start of year 12. Most of my friends do psychology and the content does seem really interesting. In terms of workload, both are relatively easy to understand, but I would say history requires a more 'refined' writing style + it is more time-consuming - regular essays and coursework tend to eat into your revision time.
Psychology is very respectable A-Level and it can be a nice break from bio and chem. However, it is perfectly possible to manage sixth form doing history instead - though I would say that it is a bit harder.
Does your school allow you to have jump between options in the first few weeks? - I attended some Maths and English lessons before sticking with History in the end.
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6th form student
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(Original post by Rouge1234)
Hey, a law degree doesn't require you to do history as such but doing so improves your writing and vocabulary in general. But, history can be a very time-consuming subject - If you don't seem interested maybe attend a few psychology lesson before you make up mind. Personally, I think having a solid interest in a subject is key when pursuing it at A-levels, otherwise it just becomes a chore.
Hi, I wanted to do history as I thought it would be completely different to the science A levels so it would be a nice break and you develop many useful skills, but I agree with what you said I don’t want to do a level I’m not interested in as I won’t put as much effort into it.
Thanks again for your help.
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Rouge1234
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(Original post by 6th form student)
Hi thanks a lot for the advice. Yeah my school allow you to change your subjects in the first few weeks, that’s a good idea I’ll ask if I can go to some Psychology lessons before I make my decision. I’m also going to speak to my history teacher to find out what history will be like further into the course as it might just be the initial part of it which I’m not that interested in.

What exam board do you do for history?
I do OCR. In year 12 we did the Early Stuarts - James I & Charles I, and Westward Expansion & the Civil War. Obviously, your school will choose the topics. Do a trial for psychology and see how you go.
Good luck!
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(Original post by Rouge1234)
I do OCR. In year 12 we did the Early Stuarts - James I & Charles I, and Westward Expansion & the Civil War. Obviously, your school will choose the topics. Do a trial for psychology and see how you go.
Good luck!
Thanks we are doing aqa America and Britain.
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BioChemLad
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Thanks, i'm glad to hear this as it's what i expected, how does the workload differ between the two subjects?
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BioChemLad
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(Original post by 6th form student)
Hi I have also started year 12 and I’m taking the same A levels. I really enjoyed history at GCSE but after my first week of A level history I feel as though history may not be for me as it seems like a lot of work and I don’t feel particularly interested in it (I also want to do Medicine), so I need to get at least an A. Therefore, I was thinking of taking Psychology as it seems quite interesting and the chance of me getting an A could be higher.I initially took history as I was looking forward to it and I know that it is regarded highly by Russell group universities, also if I decided not to do Medicine and go for law instead it would provide me with the necessary skills to succeed in a law degree. Therefore, I am confused to whether I should try to get over my initial feelings of history and stick with it as I might enjoy it further down the line, or should I switch to Psychology and potentially make sixth form a bit easier (although I know that all a levels will have some sort of challenging aspect to them.)I would be grateful for any advice or suggestions.
Glad to hear that we are in exactly the same boat, I knew history could lead to many options at uni should i decide to change my mind. It seems that psychology would be easier, however this restricts our path to a career in science, although this interests me, i feel like i could change my mind. Let me know how you're feeling about switching to psychology after reading these comments, as we both have the same mindset so we could help each other.
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BioChemLad
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(Original post by Rouge1234)
Hey,
I am currently in year 13 doing bio, chem and history. I too, was pondering between history and psychology at the start of year 12. Most of my friends do psychology and the content does seem really interesting. In terms of workload, both are relatively easy to understand, but I would say history requires a more 'refined' writing style + it is more time-consuming - regular essays and coursework tend to eat into your revision time.
Psychology is very respectable A-Level and it can be a nice break from bio and chem. However, it is perfectly possible to manage sixth form doing history instead - though I would say that it is a bit harder...
Thanks for this response and i am glad to know it's manageable, i will speak to my teachers and ask if i can trial psychology for a week or so and then decide, what career path are you headed down, apart from enjoyment is there any reason you picked history in comparison to other subjects? Thanks.
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Rouge1234
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(Original post by BioChemLad)
Thanks for this response and i am glad to know it's manageable, i will speak to my teachers and ask if i can trial psychology for a week or so and then decide, what career path are you headed down, apart from enjoyment is there any reason you picked history in comparison to other subjects? Thanks.
No really, my interest in the subject is the main reason I took it. But I guess it gives me more applicable skills such as critical thinking, essay writing etc. Bearing in mind I don't do psychology, it may also serve the same purpose.
I am planning to apply to medicine and so thought history would give me a 'flair' amongst traditional applicants who take bio, chem and maths.
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BioChemLad
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(Original post by Rouge1234)
No really, my interest in the subject is the main reason I took it. But I guess it gives me more applicable skills such as critical thinking, essay writing etc.
I am planning to apply to medicine and so thought history would give me a 'flair' amongst traditional applicants who take bio, chem and maths.
I am exactly the same, it interests me and i thought i would stand out more as a medical applicant, any advice for things you wish you started early would be helpful, (in terms of revision and preparation as we are doing the same a levels) if DMing me would be easier then feel free to do so, if you can DM people on here that is.
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(Original post by BioChemLad)
Glad to hear that we are in exactly the same boat, I knew history could lead to many options at uni should i decide to change my mind. It seems that psychology would be easier, however this restricts our path to a career in science, although this interests me, i feel like i could change my mind. Let me know how you're feeling about switching to psychology after reading these comments, as we both have the same mindset so we could help each other.
Yeah sure, I’m going to try some psychology classes before I decide but I think I will probably stick with history as I’m starting to adapt to the new way of learning also the lessons seem to be more interesting now.
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(Original post by Rouge1234)
I do OCR. In year 12 we did the Early Stuarts - James I & Charles I, and Westward Expansion & the Civil War. Obviously, your school will choose the topics. Do a trial for psychology and see how you go.
Good luck!
I would be grateful for any revision tips for history and how to manage it as A level is quite different to Gcse.
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Rouge1234
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(Original post by 6th form student)
I would be grateful for any revision tips for history and how to manage it as A level is quite different to Gcse.
Make a list of essay questions that have come up in the past 15 years or so for your specific exam board. Your teacher will set you past essay questions to do at home. Try and do the rest in your own time and get your teacher to mark them, or at the very least make detailed plans for them. Obviously, you'll be doing this throughout the year so it won't seem as much work. By the time the mocks arrive, you'll virtually have seen every essay question and the exam won't seem that stressful. (By doing this, I got an A in my year 12 mock)
Also, whilst learning the content for history, don't just learn random facts and figures. When learning about a specific event, note down its significance in the overall timeline of your course. This will make it easier for you to plan essays as the paragraphs for each event will link together - there's no point in you knowing stuff if you can't form coherent sentences to sustain an argument.
Make the most of examiners reports, sample answers and mark schemes when planning out your essays.
When writing your essays most of the marks will come from the evaluation rather than the explanation, so don't endlessly describe/explain things, but look at its importance in comparison to other factors. Unlike GCSE, the evaluation bit is not all in the conclusion of the essay, but sprinkled in throughout.
Hope this helps. Good luck for year 12!
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Rouge1234
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(Original post by BioChemLad)
I am exactly the same, it interests me and i thought i would stand out more as a medical applicant, any advice for things you wish you started early would be helpful, (in terms of revision and preparation as we are doing the same a levels) if DMing me would be easier then feel free to do so, if you can DM people on here that is.
I am new to studentroom, so I am not that familiar with how it works!

For Biology and Chemistry, make a list of AS/A-Level papers by year, and tick them off as you do them. This most likely won't be done at the start of the year, but nearer to mocks it will be useful. Try to actually revise for your class tests, because most schools take a holistic approach to predicted grades (it won't just be your mocks, but tests as well). Also, if you flop your mocks (fingers crossed, you won't!), your teachers will know its probably an one-off thing.
Use your frees to complete your homework, so you'll only have to do revision at home (or vice-versa)
You'll probably have a lab/practical book - just try to keep on top of it, my teachers were quite picky on that.
Just do as many exam questions as you can, as well as questions in your textbook.
http://www.pxsbiology.com/ - has some great exam questions.

Tips for medicine in general:
Try and get work experience sorted as soon as you can. Ideally start looking for places now. I'd suggest 1 week in an hospital and GP. (Work exp, is hard to get, so volunteering can be used to supplement)
For volunteering, visit your local care home/charity shop on a weekly basis - 6 months should suffice
Try mentoring/tutoring and stuff in school - ticks off the roles and responsibilities skill that unis love to see!
Try and apply for summer schools and stuff as well - UNIQ, Suttons trust etc.
I don't know if you live near London, but KCL have 'Medicine in action' lectures which might prove useful - other unis may have lectures/workshops, which you might wanna research.
Remember to do your UCAT/BMAT during the summer, as well as the personal statement.
I suggest you get as much of the work exp and volunteering done in year 12 - so you can purely focus on academics in year 13.

Good luck!
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(Original post by Rouge1234)
Make a list of essay questions that have come up in the past 15 years or so for your specific exam board. Your teacher will set you past essay questions to do at home. Try and do the rest in your own time and get your teacher to mark them, or at the very least make detailed plans for them. Obviously, you'll be doing this throughout the year so it won't seem as much work. By the time the mocks arrive, you'll virtually have seen every essay question and the exam won't seem that stressful. (By doing this, I got an A in my year 12 mock)
Also, whilst learning the content for history, don't just learn random facts and figures. When learning about a specific event, note down its significance in the overall timeline of your course. This will make it easier for you to plan essays as the paragraphs for each event will link together - there's no point in you knowing stuff if you can't form coherent sentences to sustain an argument.
Make the most of examiners reports, sample answers and mark schemes when planning out your essays.
When writing your essays most of the marks will come from the evaluation rather than the explanation, so don't endlessly describe/explain things, but look at its importance in comparison to other factors. Unlike GCSE, the evaluation bit is not all in the conclusion of the essay, but sprinkled in throughout.
Hope this helps. Good luck for year 12!
Thanks
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6th form student
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(Original post by Rouge1234)
I am new to studentroom, so I am not that familiar with how it works!

For Biology and Chemistry, make a list of AS/A-Level papers by year, and tick them off as you do them. This most likely won't be done at the start of the year, but nearer to mocks it will be useful. Try to actually revise for your class tests, because most schools take a holistic approach to predicted grades (it won't just be your mocks, but tests as well). Also, if you flop your mocks (fingers crossed, you won't!), your teachers will know its probably an one-off thing.
Use your frees to complete your homework, so you'll only have to do revision at home (or vice-versa)
You'll probably have a lab/practical book - just try to keep on top of it, my teachers were quite picky on that.
Just do as many exam questions as you can, as well as questions in your textbook.
http://www.pxsbiology.com/ - has some great exam questions.

Tips for medicine in general:
Try and get work experience sorted as soon as you can. Ideally start looking for places now. I'd suggest 1 week in an hospital and GP. (Work exp, is hard to get, so volunteering can be used to supplement)
For volunteering, visit your local care home/charity shop on a weekly basis - 6 months should suffice
Try mentoring/tutoring and stuff in school - ticks off the roles and responsibilities skill that unis love to see!
Try and apply for summer schools and stuff as well - UNIQ, Suttons trust etc.
I don't know if you live near London, but KCL have 'Medicine in action' lectures which might prove useful - other unis may have lectures/workshops, which you might wanna research.
Remember to do your UCAT/BMAT during the summer, as well as the personal statement.
I suggest you get as much of the work exp and volunteering done in year 12 - so you can purely focus on academics in year 13.

Good luck!
These are great tips. I know that the BMAT is a test you need to do when applying for medicine, but what exactly are you tested on? I’m going to look at the KCL lectures. Thanks
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