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A Level Psychology

Head of Department:  Miss J. Vinall

Examination Board: AQA

Specification Code: 7182

Course Entry Requirements: GCSE Mathematics GCSE Biology grade 6 or B

The mind is something intangible that exists within our brain; an unseen process of enzymes, chemicals and electric currents. But why is it that some people suffer from stress or mental illness? Or that others are considered abnormal for deviating from social norms? Psychology looks at questions like these and more. It’s a fascinating science with cutting edge research that has real world applications that you are bound to find interesting.

Course content:

“Introductory Topics in Psychology” looks at social influence (e.g. conformity, obedience), memory (e.g. the working memory model, explanations of forgetting, eyewitness testimony), attachment (e.g. explanations of attachment, Bowlby’s theory of maternal deprivation, Romanian orphan studies), and psychopathology (e.g. schizophrenia, anxiety).

“Psychology in Context” covers various approaches including cognitive and learning approaches. The biological approach also looks at topics such as the nervous system, the endocrine system, plasticity and functional recover of the brain after trauma. Other topics include research methods, scientific process and data analysis.

“Issues and Options in Psychology” discuss various issues such determinism, reductionism, culture bias and nature-nurture. We also look at 3 applied options: relationships, schizophrenia and forensic psychology. 

Course assessment:

Terminal assessment takes place at the end of the second year.

Paper 1: Introductory Topics in Psychology / 2 hours / 33.3% of A level.

Paper 2: Psychology in Context / 2 hours / / 33.3% of A level.

Paper 3: Issues and Options in Psychology / 2 hours / 33.3% of A level.

All 3 papers consist of multiple-choice, short-answer questions and extended writing questions.

Who should study the subject?

Students who are interested in understanding why people behave the way they do will enjoy the course. Psychology is a science and so the course looks at what scientific research has discovered about behaviour, and not simply what people think is the cause of behaviour. Scientific research methods form an important part of the course. Mathematical skills now represent 10% of the final assessment and so students should be comfortable with data analysis. There is also a significant amount of biological psychology and so students should be competent in biological processes.

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