A common question I’m asked by students wanting to study psychology at degree level is generally how I made it through psychology A-level, any tips and tricks I learnt along the way and quite frankly how I managed to stay sane throughout the whole process. I can honestly say It wasn’t easy by any means and yes there is a lot of content you need to know – in fact I would argue some aspects are actually harder than psychology at degree level.
The exams have also changed from modular to linear, meaning instead of having exams split into half at the end of AS and half at the end of A2 – you now have double the amount all at the end of a2. I was extremely lucky that when I sat them that I had the opportunity to have my exams spread over the two-year course so I really empathise with the immense pressure put on A-level students today.
My first load of advice to you would be to start early; I know everyone tells you this and quite frankly you tell yourself this – but somehow the weeks start rolling over with 18th birthday parties and cosy nights in when suddenly it dawns on you it’s 2 months before the exam and you’re totally stumped. If you haven’t started revising yet; start NOW. Honestly learning and solidifying each topic by week, is so much more effective (and less stressful) than panic bulk learning a few months before.
Revising everyday sounds slightly daunting, however believe me setting yourself aside 30 minutes each day to create or learn an essay plan, is a drop in the ocean compared to intense 4 hourly revision periods. Whilst, 30 minutes seems a small amount to efficiently revise, it all adds up as long as you stay consistent.
One really useful website I found that made a difference was Loopa. It’s run by a former psychology student turned teacher named Saj Devshi. On Loopa he regularly posted loads of his psychology revision notes and these really made a difference for me as it saved me from having to create my answers from scratch (the exams are heavily essay based so it takes ages otherwise). He also posted tons of his predictions there too which although isn’t always guaranteed, they did help me see which topics I should focus on more.
Personally I really utilised the Loopa website, I’d learn the rough basis of his essays and write out a brief essay plan onto cue cards and read over the cue cards as much as humanely possible – before bed, on the bus to school, even asking my mum to test me whilst waiting at a restaurants.
So those were just a few methods that I used to aid me through psychology A-level, I hope these were of help to anyone stressing out right about now due to the looming prospect of mocks and the nearing half way mark. Stay focused, use Loopa and keep revising!