wwarpspeedchicc
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I want to pursue a degree in psychology at uni but i dont know what subjects to do, im thinking of doing history, psychology, english literature and law for a level but i dont know if its going to help doing 4 subjects.is it even worth doing english literature etc? Any help would be appreciated!
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artful_lounger
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Noodlzzz can no doubt offer some advice here

Generally speaking though, there is no benefit in doing 4 A-levels over 3; you do not get awarded "bonus points" for doing an extra A-level, and offers are normally made on the basis of just 3 A-levels (even if you are taking 4). So I would suggest you focus on selecting just 3 A-levels, unless your school requires you to start with 4 and then drop one.

Note that many of the "top" psychology courses (in terms of e.g. rankings etc; some pinches of salt may be necessary though) require at least one "core" STEM subject (i.e. biology/chemistry/physics/maths) and some want two STEM subjects (but usually where two are required A-level Psychology is acceptable as one). Note that A-level Psychology alone usually will not the requirement for a science subject for these universities. This is because those universities tend to heavily focus on psychology as an experimental science, and not on applied aspects of psychology (e.g. clinical elements) or "armchair" psychology (i.e. more philosophical matter that is generally relegated to the philosophy of mind or looked at through the lens of the history of science).

Beyond admissions, bear in mind psychology degrees in the UK necessarily will all include a moderate amount of quantitative and scientific content, if they are BPS accredited. Once you are on the course having some background in biology (such as A-level Biology) is, I understand, often useful. You should also be comfortable doing quantitative work, beyond simple descriptive statistics. While you won't need to be doing calculus you will be needing to carry out inferential statistic tests and analyse a variety of data in various forms.

Strictly speaking probably the most relevant A-levels for a psychology degree as I understand would be A-level Psychology and A-level Biology. Of course, there is no point forcing yourself to do A-level Biology if you hate it and think you will do poorly in it. Equally though, this might be indicative that a psychology degree may likewise not be that enjoyable and something you might struggle in. As far as I'm aware, neither history, English lit, nor law are really relevant to a psychology degree directly. Of course they all are essay based subjects that will develop your written communication skills, so may be valuable in that vein, but none of the content will be specifically used again. But there is no perfect combination of 3 subjects to take so invariably some will just be other unrelated subjects.

However for those "other" subjects needed to bring yourself to 3 A-levels in total, you should only take them if you have a sustained interest in and enjoyment of the subject. Bear in mind that for example, A-level English Lit is a course in literary analysis, not just "reading"; so if you don't like writing paragraphs (plural) potentially on just one or two lines from a text, that is unlikely to be an enjoyable experience, as unlike GCSE you cannot simply focus on broad thematic issues and straightforward character analysis in the A-level. I gather history A-level is similarly somewhat dissimilar to the GCSE in the style of the course, with more emphasis on higher level evaluation skills rather than presenting facts with a vague argument. Taking a subject just because you think it's "reputable" or "preferred" by unis will likely result in you getting a worse result because you picked something you didn't enjoy and/or weren't as good at compared to other things!
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Noodlzzz
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2+ STEM A-levels needed for the majority of (top) universities
On top of that, something you will enjoy and good grades in
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wwarpspeedchicc
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id agree with you, but even if i didnt want to do biology, i cant even pick it anyway, im a grade 6-5 in my sciences, ill keep having a look around different unis to see what they offer but its just the STEM subjects i have a problem with
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by wwarpspeedchicc)
id agree with you, but even if i didnt want to do biology, i cant even pick it anyway, im a grade 6-5 in my sciences, ill keep having a look around different unis to see what they offer but its just the STEM subjects i have a problem with
Without wanting to sound unkind, you may want to also evaluate whether psychology is the best degree option for you then. While the "top" universities tend to require STEM subjects and emphasise the scientific side of the field, due to the requirements of accreditation by the BPS, all psychology degrees will contain a minimum amount of scientific (and quantitative) content. That minimum is a fairly significant proportion of the overall degree as it transpires. If you are not doing so well in GCSE science, doing a degree which has a non-trivial proportion of scientific content doesn't seem a good fit.

What is it that drew you to psychology in the first place? What are you hoping to do after getting a psychology degree? It may be that there are other degrees that match up with your interests and/or prospective career plans, which are less scientific (and thus won't require more of a scientific background like many psychology degrees do).
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wwarpspeedchicc
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Without wanting to sound unkind, you may want to also evaluate whether psychology is the best degree option for you then. While the "top" universities tend to require STEM subjects and emphasise the scientific side of the field, due to the requirements of accreditation by the BPS, all psychology degrees will contain a minimum amount of scientific (and quantitative) content. That minimum is a fairly significant proportion of the overall degree as it transpires. If you are not doing so well in GCSE science, doing a degree which has a non-trivial proportion of scientific content doesn't seem a good fit.

What is it that drew you to psychology in the first place? What are you hoping to do after getting a psychology degree? It may be that there are other degrees that match up with your interests and/or prospective career plans, which are less scientific (and thus won't require more of a scientific background like many psychology degrees do).
for me, i like psychology for the criminal/forensic and mental disorder types of things, i really enjoy talking about the experiments and theories. i really dont know what to do at this point, and i need to do my application in a weeks time . i hope to work in something like clinical psychology or something to do with criminal behaviour. Psychology is the only grade i have ever gotten a 7 for.
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wwarpspeedchicc
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(Original post by wwarpspeedchicc)
for me, i like psychology for the criminal/forensic and mental disorder types of things, i really enjoy talking about the experiments and theories. i really dont know what to do at this point, and i need to do my application in a weeks time . i hope to work in something like clinical psychology or something to do with criminal behaviour. Psychology is the only grade i have ever gotten a 7 for.
i can try to like something, but then im just lying to myself.
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by wwarpspeedchicc)
for me, i like psychology for the criminal/forensic and mental disorder types of things, i really enjoy talking about the experiments and theories. i really dont know what to do at this point, and i need to do my application in a weeks time . i hope to work in something like clinical psychology or something to do with criminal behaviour. Psychology is the only grade i have ever gotten a 7 for.
If you're interested in learning about crime from a social science perspective, you might find criminology something that is appealing as a prospective degree programme. That said, to become a clinical psychologist you do need to do a BPS accredited psychology degree, and that does include a fair bit of scientific work. I would note also that the training route for clinical psychology is very long and very competitive, as getting the BPS accredited undergraduate degree is just the first step. I don't know much about the content or structure of the DClinPsy though.

I would suggest then in the meantime that you focus on trying to bring up your science grades by putting in work for it and getting feedback from your teacher(s) on how to improve. You certainly can do A-levels in science subjects with just a B at GCSE, in practical terms (of course some schools may mandate you need an A to go on to A-level, but that isn't always the case) but you need to be pretty dedicated to that work and motivated for it. Even if you don't continue to a science A-level that will be good practice for if you do go on to a psychology degree in the future and need to do all those scientific modules on the course (which you will probably have much less support than you do in school now for, so make use of the fact you can relatively easily discuss issues, concerns, or confusion over the subject with them directly).

In terms of your choices then you just need to focus on picking things you actually enjoy and are good at, because otherwise there is nothing specifically relevant to that degree programme to choose form if you rule out science subjects, and you will still be expected to get good grades in the other "random" subjects you take.
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hss_2004
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I wouldn't recommend science at a-level if you're working at a 5-6 in combined, don't get mislead by your teacher predictions as they will be inflated. the jump between GCSE science to a level is HUGE. I got a 9-9 in combined, take Chem and Bio and have been averaging A/B's but this is with 3-4 weeks prior revision for topic tests. My friends who took a level sciences with a low combined grade are struggling big time, they find it harder to understand concepts because their foundation knowledge isn't strong enough, even with a lot of hard-work they will automatically be behind and sciences only will look good if you do well in them (B-A grade). If you want to take 3 essay subjects be prepared for a huge workload, you need to be able to be okay with maintaining that workload too. I wouldn't recommend law as an a level either not going to lie, it isn't that applicable. Taking 4 a levels is a waste of time, if you want too tho you should take one subject as an AS and call it a day.
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stephsmhb
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(Original post by wwarpspeedchicc)
for me, i like psychology for the criminal/forensic and mental disorder types of things, i really enjoy talking about the experiments and theories. i really dont know what to do at this point, and i need to do my application in a weeks time . i hope to work in something like clinical psychology or something to do with criminal behaviour. Psychology is the only grade i have ever gotten a 7 for.
Have you considered criminology. I understand your interest but people often underestimate the maths and science in a psychology degree. And if you're struggling now, you'll probably struggle later
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hss_2004
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(Original post by stephsmhb)
Have you considered criminology. I understand your interest but people often underestimate the maths and science in a psychology degree. And if you're struggling now, you'll probably struggle later
Completely agree, especially the maths part. At a-level there is a chunky science topic as well
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wwarpspeedchicc
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(Original post by stephsmhb)
Have you considered criminology. I understand your interest but people often underestimate the maths and science in a psychology degree. And if you're struggling now, you'll probably struggle later
ive had a thought about it and i think i want to go forward with a criminology degree to be more of a homicide detective.

im thinking of doing psychology, sociology, and history for a level
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hootdoot04
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Also I’d recommend doing a medicine degree then going into a psychiatric course...more secure then doing a psychology degree imo
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stephsmhb
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(Original post by wwarpspeedchicc)
ive had a thought about it and i think i want to go forward with a criminology degree to be more of a homicide detective.

im thinking of doing psychology, sociology, and history for a level
Yeah based on your interests/ grades and subjects you like... criminology sounds like a pretty solid career option. Just remember there is some science and a bit of maths in alevel psychology so i'd suggest you work on those skills a bit so you have a better foundation for them. As you'll get a lot more support now than you do in year 13.
Good luck
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stephsmhb
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(Original post by hootdoot04)
Also I’d recommend doing a medicine degree then going into a psychiatric course...more secure then doing a psychology degree imo
The OP said they don't want to do alevel sciences and are getting 5's and 6's in gcse science, they also don't seem to have any interest in medicine. Recommending them one of the most competitive courses in the UK which also has large scientific requirements and dedication sounds like pretty bad advice to me
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wwarpspeedchicc
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(Original post by stephsmhb)
Yeah based on your interests/ grades and subjects you like... criminology sounds like a pretty solid career option. Just remember there is some science and a bit of maths in alevel psychology so i'd suggest you work on those skills a bit so you have a better foundation for them. As you'll get a lot more support now than you do in year 13.
Good luck
Thank you so much for your advice !!!
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hootdoot04
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(Original post by stephsmhb)
The OP said they don't want to do alevel sciences and are getting 5's and 6's in gcse science, they also don't seem to have any interest in medicine. Recommending them one of the most competitive courses in the UK which also has large scientific requirements and dedication sounds like pretty bad advice to me
much better than them doing a psychology degree and then struggling to find work... it ain't 'bad advice', that's how you become a psychiatrist
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stephsmhb
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(Original post by hootdoot04)
much better than them doing a psychology degree and then struggling to find work... it ain't 'bad advice', that's how you become a psychiatrist
When advising people you have to consider their current situation. You just recommending everyone to become a doctor is pointless, as it's just not for some people.
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Emma:-)
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(Original post by wwarpspeedchicc)
I want to pursue a degree in psychology at uni but i dont know what subjects to do, im thinking of doing history, psychology, english literature and law for a level but i dont know if its going to help doing 4 subjects.is it even worth doing english literature etc? Any help would be appreciated!
I'd che
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Emma:-)
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I'd checheck the course on unis websites to see if there's any specific subjects they want.
I'd deffo do psychology though.
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