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dd cannot decide a levels.. psychology, philosophy or sociology?

(42 Posts)
slartybartfast Sun 16-Dec-12 17:39:04

well she shoudl be doing two of the above, as well as a double art.

hoodiemum Tue 13-Jan-15 22:42:42

Hi Slarty
I'm interested in reading this thread as my DD is in a similar position now to your daughter 2 years ago. Arty, but struggling to pick her other a levels. What did your daughter go for? Is she enjoying them? Is she still heading for an arty course at uni?

slartybartfast Sat 29-Dec-12 09:13:21

she is enjoying RE which is why she is interested in philosophy,
she does history but doesnt want to take it further, neither does she want to take music further.

boomting Sat 29-Dec-12 03:03:05

If she is capable of, and thinks she might like to, go to uni, then she should rethink the BTEC. They're vocational qualifications and whatever the literature might say, they are simply not as well regarded as A Levels. If uni is a route she might like to go down, then I would also suggest Art A Level and two or three other A Levels.

There is still a lot of art work to be done in Art A Level - I can assure you that she won't feel short of art to do.

As for what subjects she should do, then
- it's a big risk doing three entirely new subjects, as many people find that they are not quite what they imagined
- Neither art, psychology, philosophy or sociology have the best of reputations as academic subjects, especially at A Level.
- Psychology does have a stats element. However, it's really not hard (I'd describe myself as competent at maths but definitely no genius) and our teach absolutely spoon fed us through the stats. It's really nothing to worry about - I saw a girl who had to retake maths GCSE multiple times to get a C grade get through the stats element.

What GCSEs is she currently doing, what sort of grades is she likely to get, and would she be willing to carry on any of her GCSE subjects other than art at all?

TeamBacon Wed 19-Dec-12 16:10:58

There's very little chance of getting into art foundation at the colleges near us without art a'level. They're heavily oversubscribed

bigkidsdidit Wed 19-Dec-12 15:58:13

None of them are the sort of a levels universities like, unfortunately. I would advise art a level, one of that list and a more academic subject if poss. English?

caramal Wed 19-Dec-12 15:53:51

Psychology and philosophy

breatheslowly Wed 19-Dec-12 14:29:15

Psychology is a great subject at A level. It is gently scientific and a brilliant way to re-engage with science if you weren't keen on traditional sciences as the scientific method is really challenged by trying to apply it to people's minds.

I disagree with twentythirteen about it being a dead end for working in the NHS. If you want to be a clinical psychologist then you need an accredited psychology degree and psychology A level is a perfectly good A level (but not a requirement) for getting onto an accredited psychology course. It is very hard to become a clinical psychologist, but A level psychology is neither an advantage nor barrier to going down that path. I also disagree that it is boring at university level. I found it a brilliant subject at university.

I think art is hard at A level - there is no escaping the huge amount of time required to produce the work. Btechs may not be ideal for university entrance for other subjects and, sad though it is, I would be concerned about my DC's employability with an art degree.

Pyrrah Wed 19-Dec-12 14:13:53

Based on my own experiences, I wouldn't chose any of them.

I went to art college and studied textile design which is one of the less arty-farty subjects. Within 2 years of graduating, of the 55 of us in my class only 2 of us were still working in the textile industry and I went abroad to do so.

I've normally worked in unrelated fields. If you have a degree from art college, recruiters seem to regard you as talented but brainless. For that reason, I am glad that my parents insisted that I study 3 solid, academic A levels which proved that I wasn't.

You don't even need Art A-level to get on the Foundation course, just a portfolio of your own work.

losingtrust Tue 18-Dec-12 21:27:51

I have looked at psychology with a colleague whose dd was choosing it and another's who was doing it who really struggeled and in the end just scraped a pass although she was very interested in it. I do not know whether this is typical but it was by far the most popular A'Level at our local sixth form college but with the least percentage of high grades. This is just anecdotal but I would suggest you check the school or college as the teaching appears to be a bit hit and miss.

Dancingqueen17 Mon 17-Dec-12 16:21:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheSecondComing Mon 17-Dec-12 15:58:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TeamBacon Mon 17-Dec-12 15:55:48

Good point.. does A'level psychology have a statistics element? (degree level did)

SunflowersSmile Mon 17-Dec-12 15:54:32

Make sure she knows psychology can require a scientific mind [reason I didn't do it at degree level!].

TeamBacon Mon 17-Dec-12 15:53:27

Art is hard anything past a'level can be very demanding, so if she wants to do art then there will be a lot of graft. Our foundation was proper full time - 9-5, 5 days a week, and we had little time for anything other than homework tbh. You don't say if she's thinking of doing foundation after a'levels, but if she wants to do it at degree level a lot will demand it.

Always good to have a fallback subject but there's no point pushing her towards something she hates. English would obviously be a good one (and tbh potentially easier than philosophy, depending on the class!)

slartybartfast Mon 17-Dec-12 14:14:44

so back to the drawing board wink

art seems to be here thing but she is currently fancying study the above.
how about art and all of above in the title? or should she go english instead of sociology, well obviously she should, but she is not a star pupil and under no illusions about that, whereas in art she is a star

TeamBacon Mon 17-Dec-12 13:02:35

I would definitely make sure that art is A'level, rather than Btec, if that's what she wants to do going forward.

What sort of courses does she want to do going forward?

Alibabaandthe40nappies Mon 17-Dec-12 11:51:03

I wouldn't do any of them at A level personally - my degree is in Philosophy.

I think they are all subjects that are best taught at degree, no-one I know stuck with either sociology or psychology at A level - too much to cope with but you never really get into the detail of the subject because there isn't enough time.

I would recommend doing a more academic subject.

slartybartfast Mon 17-Dec-12 11:46:09


well i spose if she has to change the sociology to psychology then a rethink is on the cards anyway.

fraktion Mon 17-Dec-12 11:40:15

I would do art A-level, philosophy and psychology with another 'academic' AS.

slartybartfast Mon 17-Dec-12 11:24:30

thanks for all advice.

so the btec isnt so well regarding as the A level? that is a worry.

JoanByers Sun 16-Dec-12 19:12:09

I dropped out of Psychology A Level after a week. It was dreadful. Replaced it with Physics.

I did do Philosophy, proper academic subject.

No idea about sociology.

PlentyOfPubeGardens Sun 16-Dec-12 18:34:24

If she has a choice she'd be better off doing art A level. The btec course is not as highly regarded, even though it's supposed to count as a double. DD did the Btec and DS started it but has now switched to A level. He says the Btec was far more prescriptive and, while it covered a lot, none of it was in-depth. I suspect that those who do the Btec come out with very similar portfolios. The portfolio counts for a lot if she wants to go to art college - as long as she has enough UCAS points to be considered, a portfolio that stands out is the most important thing, and they're more interested in ideas than technical accomplishment.

I went to art college with no A levels at all but if I was a youngster choosing A levels now, I would ideally do art, another creative subject like photography, either philosophy or eng lit and then either business studies (most in the art world are self employed/freelance and this would have been so useful) or the extended project thing.

Good luck to your DD. I'm quite jealous.

APMF Sun 16-Dec-12 18:19:48

I found sociology very interesting and it opened my eyes to a lot of things like crime and social deviance. However it is perceived to be an 'easy' subject by Uni admissions. That is something you need to be aware of.

Pochemuchka Sun 16-Dec-12 18:16:54

Would love to slarty.

Funnily enough, having worked in psychology for 10 + years I'd love to do art. (Best get the Dc into school first!)

If she's headed down the art route then she's best off doing subjects she has an interest in as well as being useful.
I started doing English literature and maths and dropped them like hot potatoes as I was bored rigid! (I am aware that my experiences are very old so feel free to disregard !)

Wishing your dd all the best!

TeamBacon Sun 16-Dec-12 18:16:16

Is she thinking of doing art foundation? Check entry requirements for that as well.

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