The Student Room Group

Debating my options (Media Studies vs Psychology)

Hello! I am currently in my final year of GCSEs and am trying to work out my A-level choices. I know I want to do Computer Science and Drama, but I'm not sure what I should do for my third as I'd like to take both Media Studies and Psychology. In an ideal world, I'd get the grades to do all four, which the sixth form I'm applying for allows, but I have a health condition which has messed with my study and brought down my grades, meaning I cannot take four options (which I probably would have been able to get the grades for otherwise).

I'm highly interested in both subjects. My backup plan for uni is marketing of some type, which both psych and media help with. I like coursework more than exams, which media has more of, but I'm also aware I'm doing two coursework subjects already. My memory is also pretty bad normally, and my health condition also doesn't help w that much, which will make psych a LOT harder. I really am interested in psychology though (criminology is one of my favourite bits), but I also enjoy things to do w media studies a lot too.

Basically, I have NO idea which to choose. Any help, advice, or anecdotes about any courses you have taken is very much appreciated.
Thanks :biggrin:
Hello!! Take everything I say with a pinch of salt as it’s all very dependant on the person but…

I do AQA A-level psych and it’s probably my easiest A-Level and the most interesting. I personally have found the context is a lot but once you remember it the exam technique is relatively easy to pick up. I also do 2 coursework based subjects (English lit and history) and have to say I found not having to do psych coursework was a relief.

However, it is important to do what’s best for you as I know some people who hate psych and you’re gonna get that will all subjects! Maybe have a look at some YouTube videos on some of the content and see what interests you.

Just an FYI, in my experience, there hasn’t been that much in criminology related topics. We did some of it in memory when we did eyewitness testimony, some in forensic (but it’s more about crime scenes and the criminal mind) and that’s pretty much it. So I would say if that’s the only part that interests you it may not be the best option. Lots of it is about the Brain and human interactions and it is really interesting.

Also about taking 4 A-Levels, I would carefully consider that as the workload Is very heavy as it is and having 4 is not expected and only having 3 won’t disadvantage you. I would think carefully as I couldn’t imagine being able to do 4, at least not well anyway. Especially if you have a medical condition. Make sure you put your health first!
(edited 1 year ago)
Much depends on what you intend to do with these A levels - in particular, if Uni, which subject.

General advice here - https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/a-level/subjects/choosing-your-subjects
Original post by Username10101
Hello! I am currently in my final year of GCSEs and am trying to work out my A-level choices. I know I want to do Computer Science and Drama, but I'm not sure what I should do for my third as I'd like to take both Media Studies and Psychology. In an ideal world, I'd get the grades to do all four, which the sixth form I'm applying for allows, but I have a health condition which has messed with my study and brought down my grades, meaning I cannot take four options (which I probably would have been able to get the grades for otherwise).

I'm highly interested in both subjects. My backup plan for uni is marketing of some type, which both psych and media help with. I like coursework more than exams, which media has more of, but I'm also aware I'm doing two coursework subjects already. My memory is also pretty bad normally, and my health condition also doesn't help w that much, which will make psych a LOT harder. I really am interested in psychology though (criminology is one of my favourite bits), but I also enjoy things to do w media studies a lot too.

Basically, I have NO idea which to choose. Any help, advice, or anecdotes about any courses you have taken is very much appreciated.
Thanks :biggrin:

Your backup plan for uni is marketing - what's your main plan?

If you are looking at courses where it doesn't matter what A levels you have taken, and you struggle with exams for medical reasons which aren't going away, a subject which is more coursework is probably your best option.

Taking four subjects when you have a medical issue which makes exams difficult and are not looking at doing a degree where it will be useful is completely pointless.
Original post by skylark2
Your backup plan for uni is marketing - what's your main plan?

If you are looking at courses where it doesn't matter what A levels you have taken, and you struggle with exams for medical reasons which aren't going away, a subject which is more coursework is probably your best option.

Taking four subjects when you have a medical issue which makes exams difficult and are not looking at doing a degree where it will be useful is completely pointless.

My main plan currently is to do Computer Science - I know that most top unis want maths for CS but I know I'd hate taking it, so I'm not. One of the (more competitive) computing courses I'm really interested in requires psych, but the grades it wants are 3 A*s which seems rather hard. I am currently working at around a 7/8 for these subjects at GCSE (CS and Drama) even with everything going on , so maybe it'd be achievable at A-levels? I'm not sure, but that's one of the reasons I'm reluctant to give up psych.

I should also add that my medical condition is not necessarily permanent? I have chronic migraines, which, while it is not fun, does have treatments to improve/cure it. Nothing's worked yet, but I'm hoping by y13 and A-levels it won't be (too big of) a factor anymore. though we don't know.
Original post by Username10101
My main plan currently is to do Computer Science - I know that most top unis want maths for CS but I know I'd hate taking it, so I'm not. One of the (more competitive) computing courses I'm really interested in requires psych, but the grades it wants are 3 A*s which seems rather hard. I am currently working at around a 7/8 for these subjects at GCSE (CS and Drama) even with everything going on , so maybe it'd be achievable at A-levels? I'm not sure, but that's one of the reasons I'm reluctant to give up psych.

I should also add that my medical condition is not necessarily permanent? I have chronic migraines, which, while it is not fun, does have treatments to improve/cure it. Nothing's worked yet, but I'm hoping by y13 and A-levels it won't be (too big of) a factor anymore. though we don't know.

Most unis want maths A level for CS because it's an extremely mathematical subject. I really suggest you take a close look at what the content of a CS degree would be to be sure that there isn't a significant chunk of something you already know you don't enjoy. A CS degree is not a programming degree, or a web development degree, and not requiring A level maths for entry may simply mean that you'll have to do additional maths content in your first year.

Yes, 3 A*s is going to be significantly hard - much harder than getting 3 9s now would be. Not impossible though, especially if things start going better health-wise.

Good luck!
Original post by Username10101
My main plan currently is to do Computer Science - I know that most top unis want maths for CS but I know I'd hate taking it, so I'm not.



Then you might need to rethink Comp Sci - A level Maths may not be a requrement for all course but at degree level this subject relies heavily on Maths amd Maths concepts..

And btw, Psychology at degree level is a science and it also relies heavilty on Maths / Stats.
Original post by skylark2
Most unis want maths A level for CS because it's an extremely mathematical subject. I really suggest you take a close look at what the content of a CS degree would be to be sure that there isn't a significant chunk of something you already know you don't enjoy. A CS degree is not a programming degree, or a web development degree, and not requiring A level maths for entry may simply mean that you'll have to do additional maths content in your first year.

Original post by McGinger
Then you might need to rethink Comp Sci - A level Maths may not be a requrement for all course but at degree level this subject relies heavily on Maths amd Maths concepts..

I enjoy the parts of maths present in the CS courses (eg algebra) and I'm pretty good at those parts too. It's all the mental maths I struggle with, hence not wanting to take the A-level as there's too much memory involved for methods and too many opportunity for small calculation mistakes to screw me over (I lost almost all my marks in mocks on simple miscalculations like adding two 2-digit numbers incorrectly).In CS I don't have this issue because the bits I usually screw up the computer does for me - no need to manually add numbers, so way less errors. It is true that I haven't looked at the degree-level courses in detail yet, but at this stage I'm simply trying to keep my options as open as possible, so I'm not thinking too much about courses specifically, more about closing off as few as my interests as possible - I'd hate to get more into something and find it's bricked off further down the road.

I really appreciate the feedback though - Maths A-level isn't completely off the table, but I'd have to get a far higher grade in the GCSE papers than I think I'm going to get (the school I'm applying to has higher entry grades for Maths than the other subjects) in order to take it :smile:

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