Although certain schools offer Psychology as a GCSE subject, a majority do not, meaning that when it comes to choosing A Levels, Psychology is an entirely new subject for most. This does not prevent it from being an extremely popular A Level; in fact last year 97,095 students chose Psychology at A Level.

If you’re considering taking A level Psychology yourself but are worrying that it’s somewhat of a leap of faith. After all you don’t know what the lessons and exams will be like, or whether or not you might be any good at the subject at this stage. So to help you out I will give you a run through of what you can expect from A Level Psychology. This way you can enter the A Level less anxious and more excited about this entirely new subject.

  • You may well pick up some handy revision tactics. If you study Psychology with AQA you will complete an entire module on memory, which will not only be very interesting but will teach you practical skills to help you excel in exams.
  • Expect complicated questions rather than easy answers. Unlike traditional sciences, psychology doesn’t claim to know everything. Instead, it explores daring, difficult and often socially sensitive questions, always taking in to account alternative perspectives.
  • You’ll learn all about research techniques and how to conduct and evaluate an experiment. It’s certainly not as simple as you might have thought but a lot more interesting. You will even get the opportunity to conduct your own experiments.
  • You will learn a lot about yourself, the world and your friends and family. Psychology is one of those great subjects that really does change the way you view your everyday life and the world around you. Because Psychology asks a lot of questions, it will prompt you to think critically about human behaviour, what we accept as natural and why people think in certain ways. It’s truly fascinating.
  • Be prepared to do some critical thinking. You will have to pick apart case studies, experiments and surveys to discover biases, problems and inconsistencies. Psychology will encourage you to hypothesise, be self-critical and to deconstruct even the most convincing studies.
  • You’ll have to learn some basic Biology. This will not be extremely complicated stuff so if traditional sciences aren’t your forte doesn’t let this put you off. It will be interesting, specific biology relevant to the Psychology topics. Psychology is enjoyable to students with a background in both science subjects and humanities.
  • You’ll learn all about ethics. In Psychology, ethics aren’t as simple as being told what is and isn’t right. Instead you will discuss where to draw the line between ethical and non-ethical and whether certain unethical experiments have been for the greater good of society. There are also a variety of ethical issues to be considered that are not just limited to physical pain and emotional stress.
  • A fair amount of writing and a number of essays at A2 level. So if articulating yourself and writing long pieces isn’t your forte then perhaps talk to a teacher to figure out whether you’ll be able to pick it up. However, if you’re eager to boost your writing skills, Psychology allows you to develop your ability to communicate clearly and succinctly, under time constraints.

So if you’re worrying about the challenges of a new subject, do not fear. Psychology is a great subject that is popular for a reason. However, if you are still a little jittery then perhaps read a few articles on Psychology or read some psychological fiction over the summer. It will not only get your psychological brain going but will hopefully get you excited about this new, inspiring subject.





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Joseph is a French and Spanish to English translator, language enthusiast, and blogger.