Psychology literally 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. You will then go on to explore the many different strands of Psychology such as Social Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Forensic Psychology, Abnormal Psychology and Biological Psychology. Furthermore, you will also consider issues and debates that psychologists consider when attempting to explain complex and abstract human behaviours, such as schizophrenia. Finally you will develop skills highly valued by Higher Education (HE) and employers, including critical analysis, independent thinking and research skills.

Course Outline

This is a two year A level course which broadly divides into two sections: compulsory content which looks at the various strands of Psychology such as Research Methods, Social Psychology and Development Psychology, and the optional specialised units such as Gender, Schizophrenia and Forensic Psychology.

In the compulsory section we will answer questions such as:
– Why do we conform to the obvious wrong answer?
– Why does anonymity lead to conformity?
– Why do we forget?
– What are the effects of childhood deprivation?
– Does early attachment influence later adult relationships?
– What are the characteristics of obsessive compulsive disorders?
– Can drug therapy help people with phobias?
– Can non-scientific research methods generate data that explains human behaviour?
– What explains the acquisition of human behaviours like depression – is it nature or nurture?

In the optional section you will answer questions such as:
– What is the role of hormones & chromosomes in sex and gender acquisition?
– What influences our gender identity?
– What is schizophrenia?
– Can schizophrenia be treated with drugs?
– How is a crime measured and recorded?
– Who commits criminal acts?
– Why do people commit crimes?


No Coursework
Examination (100%) – There will be three two hour papers at the end of the course (each worth 33.3% of the A level), for which we will prepare you thoroughly. Paper 1 will examine 4 compulsory units such as Social Influence, Memory, Attachment & Psychopathology. Paper 2 will comprise of 4 further compulsory units such as Approaches in Psychology, Bio Psychology & Research Methods. The third paper comprises optional units such as Gender, Schizophrenia and Forensic Psychology. Each paper will consist of multiple choice questions; short answer, extended writing questions and research methods questions.
Exam Board – AQA.

Special Entry Requirements

Minimum grade 4 in Biology or 4-4 in Combined Science is required. Standard A level entry requirements also apply. There is also a need to be genuinely numerate, as we will be analysing and interpreting data and making simple statistical calculations. Overall, at least 10% of the marks in assessments for Psychology will require the use of mathematical skills.

Prohibited Options

None. Psychology goes well with all subjects.

Career and Progression Opportunities

A high proportion of our Psychologists go on to study Psychology or a closely related course at University. Popular careers include Medicine, Teaching, Social Work, and legal careers.

Teaching Methods/Learning Experiences

Being an independent learner is vital to your success in A level Psychology. You will be expected to prepare before all lessons. In class we will use group work, presentations and discussions to support / stretch and extend your understanding.

Other Information

The College runs a Psychology Research School, which is an exciting Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) project for students interested in all aspects of Psychology. The Psychology Research School involves students conducting real psychological research with Dr. Elisabeth Blagrove from the University of Warwick. This is a fantastic opportunity to work with a top Russell Group university.

This information is correct for September 2019 entry.

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