How I Revised For AS Psychology Scoring two A’s With Only 3 Months Revision
I get a lot of emails from AS students every year asking for advice on how to revise for AS psychology so I thought I would make the definitive guide explaining how I did it with only 3 months worth of revision and scored two A’s for Psya1 and Psya2 (for the AQA A exam board although this same method can be applied to AQA B too and most likely other subjects and exam boards). My original AS psychology revision video gave some information on how I did this in brief and it went on to be the number 1 ranked video on Youtube for “AQA Psychology revision help searches” – It’s reached over 15’000k views in less than 12 months which is great to see! However I wanted to try create something a little bit more in depth explaining how I used the specification for my own psychology AS revision.
The video below explains my revision method for the AS psychology units Psya1 and Psya2 – If it helps hit the thumbs up button, share it or let me know what you think in the comments section too. I’ve also written a summary of the video content below too for those that prefer reading instead.
AS Psychology Revision Explained
For students learning AS Psychology for the 2014 exams – The first thing you want to do is get the AQA Psychology specification itself. You can get that here. – If you’re reading this and doing the AS exams for 2016 then the specification for AS Psychology will have been updated – the new specification is available here. Once you have the specification navigate to the section that outlines the Psya1 and Psya2 sections – Here it will outline exactly what you need to know for both AS Psychology exams – Psya1 is outlined as well as Psya2 (and A2 as well). The specification is a great tool as this is your roadmap and details exactly what you need to know. If you are ever unsure how the questions can be asked for a particular topic you only need to look at the past papers to find the question you are unsure about and look at the mark scheme to see how it wanted you to answer it. When it comes to learning, if you are unsure how big the papers are or where the boundaries extend to, it can be a daunting task. With the specification it shows you how much you need to know and you could literally bullet point these and then work your way along learning and crossing each one out.
Once you’ve had a look at the specification and have a list of all the things you need to know, your next task is to create model essay answers for all the possible 12 mark essay questions that can come up in the AS exams. In Psya1 you will get asked one 12 mark question with a host of 6, 8 or even 10 markers as well. In Psya2 you could theoretically get asked more than one 12 mark question too along with 6, 8 or even 10 markers so the aim is the same – you create model 12 mark essays for all the questions that can come up. The 12 marker is worth the most amount of marks with 6 marks for theory and 6 marks for evaluation. If you need help you can get my AS ebooks for Psya1 and Psya2 by clicking the images to them on the side – they will save you literally weeks to months of creating essays and sourcing the information as they give you all the theory and evaluation points you need which you can then simply reword into your own essays.
Once you’ve created your 12 mark essays the next task is to get the past papers for the last 4-5 years worth of AS Psychology exams for Psya1 and Psya2. You can get them on the AQA website or the latest ones will be available on Loopa here (just use the search button at the top right). Print these past papers out as well as the mark schemes too that go with them.
Now you have a collection of past papers and mark schemes for the AS units ready as well as a collection of 12 marker essay answers you’ve created to nail the 12 markers that can come up. Here comes the “fun” bit…
Practice, practice…and practice.
Your task is now to keep practicing the past papers over and over again – do all of them at once back to back and once you have finished look at the mark schemes and go through checking each answer. For each question you get correct – make a mental note of why you got this right. More importantly for those you get incorrect, write the actual correct answer using the mark scheme as a guide to devise the “model answer” for it. Once you have done this – start again and do it all over from the start while your mind is still fresh with the corrections. This is really important because if you decide to leave it a couple of days or even weeks to redo them you would have forgotten the correct answers you needed to write. Do this about 3-4 times per day and it should take up about 3 hours approximately if your efficient with your time.
While your doing these past papers every time you finish one paper I also want you to throw in a couple of 12 marker essays too. So whenever you finish last years paper for example and writing your answers, I then want you to move straight on to two of your 12 mark essay answers and write them out. Once you finish them – move on to the next past paper before moving back on to another 12 marker essay again. You keep doing this back and forth until you have practiced all all your 12 mark essays and the last 4-5 years worth of past papers. Correct your mistakes – rinse repeat. The first few times you do this you will score badly – this is ok as I myself only scraped a D the first few times. The more you keep doing this, after a few weeks you will notice you begin to improve as you learn from your mistakes and incorrect answers and begin to correct them more often. As soon as you begin to improve in your grades you will know you are making progress. It will take a few weeks for the improvements to be noticeable provided you have been practicing them regularly enough.
Why is this so effective for AS psychology revision?
I used this and scored two A’s with only 3 months revision without teachers. So why is this so effective? Am I a genius? (no far from it!). The truth is I had no idea this method would prove as effective as it would – I had to devise a method that would help me learn everything fast as my own time before the exams was limited and there was £160 worth of exam fee’s riding on it. I think the reason this is so effective is practicing the past papers and comparing against the mark scheme helps people get into the mainframe of how AQA want you to answer these psychology questions. As you adapt your answers to the mark scheme you begin to think the way AQA want you to think and you will remember this in your own exam as the questions tend to repeat themselves in one form or another. Also practicing the 12 mark essays is a key component too and heres why;
Although you will get asked one 12 mark essay (or possibly more in Psya2) the other essays you memorise which don’t come up will come up in some form no matter what. They may come up perhaps as a smaller question where it asks only for theory or even the evaluation only. For this you only need to recall the appropriate section from your memorised essays. This combined with past papers helps prepare you in a more rounded way for all the type of questions that can come up in these AS papers.
This is pretty much it in a nutshell and the best advice I can give to prepare you for your AS exams. Revision is never mean’t to be an instant process and it takes time and practice. Persevere and you will get the reward you deserve.