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Psychology

Psychology A level

Psychology translates as ‘the study of the human mind’ - but psychology is more than this. Psychology is everywhere around us. It is intriguing, it is emotional, it is scientific and above all it is thought provoking. This course offers you the opportunity to learn about the science behind human behaviour by understanding how research is conducted and used to develop theories and laws about human behaviour.

In the A level course we cover a wide range of phenomena from various different perspectives. Alongside studying the various theories, we focus on how psychologists work; how they conduct studies, how they collect and analyse data and, most importantly, how they protect their participants from physical and psychological harm.

We study the history of psychology, from the early days of participants looking at an image and describing their thoughts about it to modern brain scanning and DNA analysis techniques.

The skills developed during this course equip students for careers in the law, education, medicine and allied professions, sports, therapy, research and many more.

Qualification

A level Psychology

Awarding body

AQA

Entry requirements

GCSE at Grade 5 or above in maths, English and at least one science subject.

Year 12

Social influence: How are we affected by the presence of other people? What makes people do evil things?

Memory: Why do we forget things? How accurate is eyewitness testimony?

Attachment: Why are babies so cute? How important is the relationship between a child and its parents?

Psychopathology: What do we mean by ‘abnormal’? Why do some people become ill with depression, phobias or OCD?

Approaches in psychology: How so psychologists work? What are the advantages and disadvantages of their methods?

Biopsychology: How is behaviour influenced by genetics? Can people recover from brain damage?

Research methods: How are experimental and non-experimental studies carried out? How do we know if research results are significant?

Year 13

Issues and debates: Are results obtained from men applicable to women? Is our behaviour determined by nature or nurture?

Schizophrenia: What are the signs and symptoms of schizophrenia? How can it be treated?

Gender: Are sex and gender the same thing? Why do boys and girls behave differently?

Forensic psychology: Is offender profiling an effective way of catching criminals? What is the best way to prevent someone reoffending?

Assessment

There are three written examinations at the end of Year 13. At least 25% of the written papers will assess knowledge and understanding of research methods. 10% of the papers will assess mathematical skills. There is no coursework.

 

Why study psychology?

During the course students develop extended writing skills, and leave the course able to provide a coherent argument for and against various positions. We study the use of statistics, and people with A level psychology are able to look behind headline figures in news outlets and work out what is really happening. The development of these abilities prepares students for a wide range of careers.

I enjoy psychology because it’s an opportunity to learn a subject in the sixth from you have never been able to study before.
Year 12 student

Potential career paths and further study

A level Psychology is a very useful (although not essential) basis for degree level study in the subject. Many of our students go on to study psychology at university. Psychology is a well-respected degree for a range of occupations which require graduate status, and also opens up opportunities to train as a chartered psychologist, for example as a clinical, criminological or counselling psychologist.

Sociology
I like psychology because it is different to any other subject available to study and allows for any opportunities later in life.
Year 12 student