Psychology

Why do we forget? How do our early attachments influence later relationships? Why do we resist social pressures?  Why do some people develop phobias?  How can schizophrenia be treated?  What is the best way to deal with criminal behaviour?  Do we have free will?  Are women misrepresented by psychological research?

Psychology is a popular choice at A Level, offering students the opportunity to explore fundamental questions about themselves and others. Studying the subject at A Level provides an excellent overview into all the main areas of psychological theory and research.  

Psychology has links with many disciplines including biology, philosophy, history, sociology, maths and English literature. This mix of disciplines helps to make psychology a fascinating and rewarding subject.

At A Level, the subject involves the scientific study of the mind, in particular human behaviour and mental processes.  Different theories and related research evidence are explored in areas such as mental health, child development, criminal behaviour, eye-witness testimony and group interaction.  Students will learn to apply theory to everyday situations and think critically about research.   They will also develop an understanding of the origins of Psychology, the main approaches that have influenced its development, key issues such as gender bias and ethics in research, and philosophical debates such as nature/nurture.  

Psychology inspires students to ask questions about their world and understand that there are no easy answers. It is a subject that utilises and develops a wide range of academic skills as well as encouraging greater understanding, empathy and sensitivity in relation to others.  Psychology can lead directly to a wide variety of undergraduate and career paths, as well as complimenting other routes in the arts, sciences and humanities.

The A Level (AQA) course is assessed by 3 x 2 hour written examinations at the end of Year 13. The course involves a significant amount of reading and extended writing. There is also a strong science component running through the course as well as some mathematics. 

Paper 1: Introductory Topics in Psychology

  • Social influence
  • Memory
  • Attachment
  • Psychopathology

Paper 2: Psychology in Context

  • Approaches in psychology
  • Biopsychology
  • Research methods

Paper 3: Issues and Options in Psychology

  • Issues and debates
  • Relationships
  • Schizophrenia
  • Forensic psychology