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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 6:40 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2013 10:52 pm
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Hi All
Can anyone advise what are the difficult aspects of Psychology, and Govt & Politics at A levels? And whether it is straightforward to get top grades in these subjects?

These new subjects are very difficult for a child to know what they are getting into.

It will also, be interesting to know what criteria you use when judging school's A level results. Say, if 50% get A and A* in a subject is that good enough?

Thanks


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 7:10 pm 
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The difficult aspects of these subjects are if DC are not interested in them. Particularly in Politics and Government, wider reading and awareness of current affairs etc would be expected. Forget about judging a school's grades, unless they are truly dreadful, and encourage your DC to consider what he/she is interested in. You do not mention their age but I would suggest that if they are mid teens or above then and interest in politics, for example, will have clearly manifested itself, or not as the case may be.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 7:25 pm 
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And w/r to psychology approx 40% of the subject is actually Statistics so an ability in Maths coupled with an ability to read and understand copious amounts of information and form coherent arguments in an essay form, are expected. Whether it is easy to get top grades in any subject depends a lot on how hard your child is prepared to work and whether they have a natural affinity/love of the subject as well. NO A level is "easy" to get top grades in with no effort.

Teaching of the subjects well does depend a little on the teacher - for a while, when the popularity of Psychology "exploded", it was very difficult to get qualified Psychology teachers, so often people who were learning the subject were employed - this is true of Mandarin teachers currently, or Physics teachers generally - they are in short supply so sometimes they are taught by none specialists (in the case of Physics) or nationals who may be (naturally) less fluent in English and may not have a teaching qualification.

Knowing how many were in a class and what proportion got what grades gives you a measure but how useful it is would depend on an understanding of that cohort too. Get your child to choose subjects that they need for their future career ideas BUT these should be chosen due to an enjoyment/love/genuine interest in the subject. A levels are hard; if you don't really like the subject that you are going to be studying in depth for two years, then you are likely to hate it by the time you finish.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 9:24 pm 
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Potterfan, is this for choosing A level subjects for some time in the future, or trying to decide on a third subject to start in year 12 next week?

If the former, then they have got another couple of months at least to seek out the relevant teachers at school and discuss what is involved in each course. S/he can also find the specification specification or the relevant exam board online and have a good read of that. And / or find a friendly sixth former studying the subjects and ask them?

If it's next week we are talking about, reading the spec online is probably the only one of those your DC can reasonably do between now and then

FWIW, DD takes Politics (just going into year 13); she became interested in the subject, both as an academic discipline and IRL after being encouraged by a friend at school to get involved with our local Youth Council.

Based on her grades across year 12 and in her end of year exams, she hopes tbe predicted (and to achieve, of course :) ) an A. (But ditto French and Eng Lit, so I don't know whether Politics is meant to be an 'easy' option).

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 7:48 am 
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My son is taking Govt and Politics and it's worked out well for him. He was looking for something to compliment Geography, he was deciding between Geology and Politics. A chat with his Geography teacher, who pointed out that he enjoyed human geography more than physical helped him to make up his mind. It's been a good fit for him. That said we dicusss politics a lot at home (so much to discuss over the last few years) so I think he's had an above average level of background knowledge. Also have a good look at the course specifications, the politics course has a large chunk of USA politics in; plenty to discuss there!


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 3:04 pm 
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Thank you for your replies. I know this seems like a daft question, but given the variation in quality of teaching, what would you prioritise; feedback from essays done as homework and tests from a boring teacher or an inspiring teacher who goes off track and doesn't give homework ?


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 3:17 pm 
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Potterfan wrote:
... feedback from essays done as homework and tests from a boring teacher or an inspiring teacher who goes off track and doesn't give homework ?

How can a sixth form teacher not give homework? I would value the former as this person is giving feedback. The A level tests knowledge expressed in essay format I presume? Being 'inspired' isn't going to help that.

You need a mix of the inspirational and exam focused approach in my experience.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:46 pm 
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Please don't choose A levels on whether your DC will get an A or A*. They do have to enjoy the subject!

Having had one go through the 6th form and one about to enter it I would be very surprised if a teacher didn't give homework!

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 5:23 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:51 pm
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All sixth forms have open evenings where young people can go along and talk to teachers about each subject. They often also give out hangouts. Has your child not been to one yet and if they did what did they find out? Students really have to be interested for A level as they are intense. My DS loved history throughout his time at school but after 1 yr of A.level realised it was not for him thankfully at his school they start with 4 and can drop one so he was able to sit the AS history this year but drop it for y13.


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