Best A levels for psychology at university?

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Arquitecto78
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#1
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#1
I have been looking forward to doing a psychology degree at uni but I am unsure of what A levels I should do, I am going to do only 3 A levels to minimize workload and one of them will be Spanish and that can't be changed.
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Em.-.
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#2
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#2
Science looks good. I’m doing Scottish advanced highers (physics, maths and chemistry) and got a conditional offer from Durham very quickly and an unconditional from Glasgow only around a week after sending my application (based of previous attainment).

They often recommend doing one or two sciences (which include maths and psychology). I’d suggest making sure u do one science at least. But you don’t need psychology.

Of course if you’re not picky about what uni you go to u don’t need to worry about straight As and A*s, but most want at least one science. As well as this try another science or if not a social or literacy subject.
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artful_lounger
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#3
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Many psychology courses (including virtualy all of the "top" courses) expect at least one of your courses to be a STEM subject; some restrict this specifically to only maths/FM/biology/chemistry/physics, while others may include psychology or such other subjects as geology or geography. A-level Psychology is not however a requirement for any psychology degree I'm aware off. Several indicate a preference for two such STEM subjects, although usually in this case that will include psychology and other para-scientific subjects.

For the "top" courses, their degrees tend to be fairly scientific (usually along biological lines) and involve a fair amount of data analysis, so A-levels in Biology and/or Maths might be useful preparation. Although not required for admission, if you are interested in psychology it may be worth considering taking that as an option, as usually it's best to pick subjects you are likely to do best in to maximise your potential grades. Most courses will involve some essay writing though, so having an essay subject might also be a useful background - A-level Psychology should fill this criteria. At least one university (Bath) indicates they prefer applicants taking A-levels to have one numerical or analytical subject and one humanities or social science subject.

Generally speaking though, I imagine A-level Biology is probably the most directly useful for when you are studying on the degree, as all BPS accredited courses should include some biological psychology content, and it underpins a wide range of relevant topics to psychologists and the study psychology both within psychology itself and in related areas of e.g. neuroscience and behavioural ecology. This compares to the other above suggestions, since they won't assume any of the A-level Psychology content (indeed in the past older formats were generally held to be somewhat unlike degree level psychology), and it's unlikely you will do the full range of maths in A-level Maths (I doubt you'll use much if any calculus in an undergrad psychology course).

Noodlzzz would probably be best placed to advise on the matter though! I would note the above is specifically for psychology (assumed to be BPS accredited courses), and may not apply to e.g. neuroscience or non-accredited applied psychology or psychosocial studies courses (the former of which often requires A-level Chemistry to be taken, and the latter of which tend to have fewer specific requirements or even preferences to my knowledge).
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Arquitecto78
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#4
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#4
(Original post by artful_lounger)
Many psychology courses (including virtualy all of the "top" courses) expect at least one of your courses to be a STEM subject; some restrict this specifically to only maths/FM/biology/chemistry/physics, while others may include psychology or such other subjects as geology or geography. A-level Psychology is not however a requirement for any psychology degree I'm aware off. Several indicate a preference for two such STEM subjects, although usually in this case that will include psychology and other para-scientific subjects.

For the "top" courses, their degrees tend to be fairly scientific (usually along biological lines) and involve a fair amount of data analysis, so A-levels in Biology and/or Maths might be useful preparation. Although not required for admission, if you are interested in psychology it may be worth considering taking that as an option, as usually it's best to pick subjects you are likely to do best in to maximise your potential grades. Most courses will involve some essay writing though, so having an essay subject might also be a useful background - A-level Psychology should fill this criteria. At least one university (Bath) indicates they prefer applicants taking A-levels to have one numerical or analytical subject and one humanities or social science subject.

Generally speaking though, I imagine A-level Biology is probably the most directly useful for when you are studying on the degree, as all BPS accredited courses should include some biological psychology content, and it underpins a wide range of relevant topics to psychologists and the study psychology both within psychology itself and in related areas of e.g. neuroscience and behavioural ecology. This compares to the other above suggestions, since they won't assume any of the A-level Psychology content (indeed in the past older formats were generally held to be somewhat unlike degree level psychology), and it's unlikely you will do the full range of maths in A-level Maths (I doubt you'll use much if any calculus in an undergrad psychology course).

Noodlzzz would probably be best placed to advise on the matter though! I would note the above is specifically for psychology (assumed to be BPS accredited courses), and may not apply to e.g. neuroscience or non-accredited applied psychology or psychosocial studies courses (the former of which often requires A-level Chemistry to be taken, and the latter of which tend to have fewer specific requirements or even preferences to my knowledge).
Wow, thanks for such a detailed response.
So in your opinion would you recommend me to do 2 science subjects at A-level (maths, biology, chemistry, physics) or do you think I would be better off doing A level in one science and psychology?
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artful_lounger
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#5
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#5
(Original post by Arquitecto78)
Wow, thanks for such a detailed response.
So in your opinion would you recommend me to do 2 science subjects at A-level (maths, biology, chemistry, physics) or do you think I would be better off doing A level in one science and psychology?
The universities that prefer two STEM subjects seem happy to consider A-level Psychology for the second one. I think one from those "core" STEM subjects along with A-level Psychology should be perfectly suitable, if you are confident you will do best in that combination compared to the other. This will satisfy the requirements for those that require one core STEM subject, and also satisfy those that prefer a second STEM subject (as this seems to include psychology for all the ones I briefly looked at now). It should also (I believe) satisfy the requirements to have taken an essay based subject as well, for those universities that is important for (i.e. Bath, and maybe LSE)!
Last edited by artful_lounger; 2 years ago
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username4212512
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#6
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#6
Depending on what branch of psychology you want to get into, I recommend Psychology, Sociology and Biology.

If you're looking at a Ba with more essay-based work, then defo go the psych and socio route, but if it's a BSc and focuses more on the neurological and lab-based content, then bio would look much better.

I got into a Ba with psych, eng lit and geo so that tells you all you need to about the importance of the sciences vs humanities when it comes to picking a Ba or BSc.

(if you're still struggling, check uni websites for their preferred a levels)

Good luck!
Last edited by username4212512; 2 years ago
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ellanewmarch
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#7
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#7
biology and maths are really good, if you like those.
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