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Politics or Psychology A level? *edited by MNHQ*

(36 Posts)
Coconutty Thu 06-Feb-14 21:48:32

DS has chosen maths, economics and geography for A level.

He now needs to choose a fourth one and has narrowed it down to Psychology or politics. He would probably prefer psychology as a subject but isn't really keen on essays.

Are they both regarded the same by the universities and has anyone got any advice/opinions on either?

Coconutty Thu 06-Feb-14 21:49:48

He also liked the sound of DT but wasn't sure it would be viewed as well as the other two. Also been told its very hard to get an A in it, which put him off a bit.

EverybodysStressyEyed Thu 06-Feb-14 21:51:05

I did his 3 (plus an extra maths) and went on to do politics at university

i would say they are both well regarded and they will both be essay subjects. I would choose the one he is more interested in.

EverybodysStressyEyed Thu 06-Feb-14 21:51:32

What does he want to do after A levels?

KatherinaMinola Thu 06-Feb-14 21:53:33

Neither is regarded as a 'traditional' subject, and both are frowned on a little by certain universities. (Actually, the same goes for Economics in some cases). Depending on what he wants to do, he might be better off going for a more traditional subject. Take advice.

meerschweinchen Thu 06-Feb-14 21:53:57

I'm a bit confused! Is he choosing between Politics and Economics or between Psychology and Politics?

Coconutty Thu 06-Feb-14 22:04:17

Between politics and psychology. Economics is one that he is definitely taking.

Coconutty Thu 06-Feb-14 22:05:17

Not sure yet what career he wants, but wants to go to uni.

EverybodysStressyEyed Thu 06-Feb-14 22:10:51

Does he know what he wants to study or where he wants to study?

EmmaGoldmanSachs Thu 06-Feb-14 22:13:40

Unhelpful, but if he might want to study Economics then would further maths be worth considering?

Ouchiebum Thu 06-Feb-14 22:16:07

My husband is a p

Ouchiebum Thu 06-Feb-14 22:20:22

My husband is a politics teacher. His advice is if he doesn't like essays don't do politics. Or economics or geography! He says that pyschology and politics are both well regarded by unis but politics is more established and more traditional. His bottom line is, you don't like essays don't do politics.

Coconutty Thu 06-Feb-14 22:30:08

He did consider further maths but though just maths would be enough for him.

No idea what or where he wants to study after A levels which makes it harder to choose what to do now tbh.

EverybodysStressyEyed Thu 06-Feb-14 22:32:23

I would do psychology then. It gives a broader range.

Both economics and geography cover some politics

MillyMollyMama Thu 06-Feb-14 23:52:43

People who do economics beyond A level have to like Maths and want to do it. Further Maths would be better than anything else. If he does not like essays, some of these subjects will not be suitable for him at university where essays will be required.

EverybodysStressyEyed Fri 07-Feb-14 08:31:06

Essays are a necessary evil though. He might not like them but if he learns to do them well it will stand him in good stead.

I'm an accountant now and the one area candidates let themselves down is in their written skills.

ChocolateWombat Fri 07-Feb-14 09:01:25

Just to point out that your post title is misleading, as it sounds like the choice is between politics and economics.

People wanting to go to RG Unis are advised these days to have 2 of the core subjects (Eng, Maths, Hist, Geog, Lang, Sci) which are known as facilitator subjects. If they have these 2 , having a third non facilitator is fine as long as well regarded. Both Economics and Politics would fall into this category. So at A2 if you are down to 3 subjects at that point ideally you don't want more than 1 non facilitator and you need to make sure it is well regarded. Choosing 4 for AS is important, because you don't know what you will drop, but will ideally not want to be left at A2 with 2 non facilitators.

Facilitating subjects are those which can be a requirement to do certain Courses. The reason Econ and Pol are not facilitators, is not because they are academically inferior, but because to do those at Uni, you don't actually require an A level in them. If you are applying to do Econ or Pol these would be regarded well, as would they if applying to do something else, but should be balanced with other academic facilitators.

If you are not interested in RG or Oxbridge, it's not such an issue.

ChocolateWombat Fri 07-Feb-14 09:04:58

Would also confirm that it is very good to do maths with Econ. Very hard on a good Uni course to do Econ without maths. At Uni it is very mathsy and you would be foolish to try to do such a course without maths A level. It isn't very mathsy at A level.
So important kids get the right advice when choosing A Levels. The RG have done research and produced documents to show kids and parents what RG Unis want, so they can make I formed choices. Unfortunately being told 'choose exactly what you like best, in whatever combination you fancy' is not helpful advice. Kids need to know how to keep door open.

My DS did this same combo at A2 and fell in love with economics but couldn't get in as he didn't have further maths. So you do have to plan ahead really early, even before you've started!

reddidi Fri 07-Feb-14 13:50:21

"My DS did this same combo at A2 and fell in love with economics but couldn't get in as he didn't have further maths. So you do have to plan ahead really early, even before you've started!"

Couldn't get in where? I think it's only LSE that requires further maths for economics and then only at AS. How about Oxbridge, Warwick, UCL ...?

reddidi Fri 07-Feb-14 13:51:48

OTOH Maths at A2 is often required, sometimes with A*.

Warwick laughed at him, as did Oxbridge! And I do mean literally. It may not be an explicit requirement but it is expected, especially if you come from a school where it is offered and you could have done it.

He didn't know at the stage he selected that he would be interested in applying for economics so it didn't occur to him it mattered.

reddidi Fri 07-Feb-14 14:02:05

OTOH again if you are can handle further maths it is an excellent choice because (1) further maths is a much better indicator that you can handle the maths in a degree course with mathematical content, A level maths doesn't go far enough and (2) there is some overlap between the courses so much of the work you do in further maths strengthens your ability in maths.

reddidi Fri 07-Feb-14 14:10:29

That's interesting WorkingItOutAsIGo, didn't used to be the case. Shows how important it is to contact admissions tutors early in Y11.

I'm still surprised though, what was his UMS mark at AS?

reddidi Fri 07-Feb-14 14:16:33

"My husband is a politics teacher. His advice is if he doesn't like essays don't do politics. Or economics or geography! He says that pyschology and politics are both well regarded by unis but politics is more established and more traditional. His bottom line is, you don't like essays don't do politics."

Exactly this. In fact Psycholgy can be quite essay based with some exam boards. For these subjects "isn't really keen on essays" is a really bad thing to say, not just at A level but for a degree in anything except a STEM subject, essays are what it is all about!

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