It’s a really hot day today, 43°C to be precise, and I can’t seem to find the energy to get out of bed. It doesn’t help that I’m eleven days into my much-awaited, well-deserved summer break and instead of feeling creative and stimulated, I’m just getting steadily more depressed. Also I missed deadlines for summer volunteer programs so haha, bubye easy(relatively)-road-to-college!
It’s a perfect day to complain about something I’ve wanted to rant about this whole year.
Cambridge AS Level Psychology
I’ve been meaning to get this out for a while now. If any of you has studied this course, or known someone who’s taken it, you might be aware of just how badly it’s structured. It’s amazing, really. Cambridge also offers Sociology at the AS and A Levels, and I find it best to compare Psychology and Sociology since they’re widely considered to be sister disciplines. Now I’ve never studied Sociology, but I know that the students are taught about the wider context of Sociology before jumping into the nitty-gritty. Students are taught about perspectives, debates and personalities who helped conceptualise ideas and give shape to the subject before going through case studies and applications. For instance, I’d know what functionalism or the feminist perspective was about and then the syllabus would require for me to quote case studies or data to back my essay up.
In AS Level Psychology – which by the way was a gamble of a subject in the first place with people saying everything from “It’s useless and too specialised at this level!” to “Oh… That’s nice.” *coughs and walks away* – students have to rote-learn 20 case studies and then do you advance to being taught that these studies are grouped in categories like physiological psychology, cognitive psychology and so on. And then you’re taught about perspectives like behaviorism. And then you’re taught about debates like free will versus determinism, after which you attempt to sit down and start placing each study in a the greater context of psychology.
Am I the only one who sees something wrong here? It’s such an ineffective way to teach a subject, especially since next to no one in my grade has studied Psychology before. It might just be that my school is teaching it in a very roundabout, horrible fashion but let me know? Have you been taught differently?
The part which is definitely universal though, is the way the exam is structured. The first exam is worth 80 marks, 60 of which are concentrated on about 15 short questions, merely testing our memory and rote-learning skills. The exam is not testing any application, rather focuses entirely on how good your memory is. And the funnily enough the second paper has a 20 mark question asking candidates to just come up with a study with a basic framework in mind.
Just make a study, bud. Either rote-learn the shit out of those studies, or just make a whole study. Yeah. Good talk.
There is no middle ground.
And it’s really sad because it’s not half a bad subject. In fact the parts they teach the least of, are the most interesting. For example the whole nature versus nurture debate, and how babies can actually spot people with symmetrical faces (read: hot people) when they’re just six months old! Also how far individuality and situations influence behaviors and thoughts. It’s so interesting, but no. I need to remember what the ratio of males to females in the subject pool was, in the third mini-study conducted by Langloise.
Apparently next year will be better.