How to Revise for Psychology A-Level

by Anita Naik

A-level psychology is on the rise with a record number of students taking it in 2020. If you want to do well, you need to commit to your revision and start early. Here's what will help.

Get to grips with the content load

Compared to other A-levels, Psychology has a lot of content to get through from studies and research methods, to theories and debates. It means you need to be organised and start your revision early. Start by knowing what's on the exam spec and create a plan to ensure you get through all the content in enough time.

One good way to deal with the content load is to test yourself after every module. Turn topics into resources (see below) and consolidate your learning as you go. This way, you will have less to revise at the end of the year and save yourself a lot of time and stress.

Streamline your revision of studies

There are so many studies in psychology A-level, but the good news is you do not have to learn them all. What you do need to do is be smart about what the key studies are and learn those.

Firstly look at the exam spec and then make a list of every study you feel is essential and note which topics these studies are relevant to. This way, you can revise the studies that you can use as examples in a variety of questions.

Remember it's always quality over quantity. Meaning it's much better to be able to write about fewer studies in great depth rather than list off a large number of studies without any debate. Marks for questions come from your ability to analyse questions and show evidence than for your memory.

Create mind maps

Mind maps are a great way to revise issues and debates in psychology as they allow you to see key information in one space all at once. A good example could be a mind map on attachment theory. Here you can break the main principles of the theory down into the different stages, link studies like Schaffer and Emerson, bring in caregivers roles etc. and ensure you have the whole debate on one map.

For more help with mind-maps head to Psych Boost, this is a brilliant website with free resources, that covers course content, research and statistics for psychology A-level.

Focus on research methods and statistics

Research methods and statistics is another large part of the content load and vital for a good A-level grade. To help yourself learn these as early as possible, so you become familiar with them. Create flashcards but don't try to put too many facts, theories or methods on one card. Instead, break complex concepts and theories into multiple cards and revise them daily.

Practice your essay skills

To get full marks in psychology, you also need to perfect your essay skills. What helps is to do as many past papers as you can and practise your essay writing in timed conditions. Remember examiners are looking for what you think, and want to see your arguments and interpretation of key theories.

Each time you write an essay, check your work against the marking scheme to ensure you can show the breadth of your knowledge for maximum marks. To work towards a high score, you need to know the content well and be able to write detailed paragraphs citing studies, research methods and statistics. This is where working with a psychology tutor can help in showing how to maximise your marks on questions.