Whatever career you pursue, a background in psychology will enhance your employability. Studying psychology can help you understand yourself and other people by learning about aspects of human behaviour. In daily life this will help you with: your interactions with others; your learning and memory performance; your ability to cope with pressure; and your understanding of the causes of psychological disorders. Also, it is beneficial to have an understanding of human behaviour, be it social interaction, language and communication, human motivation and emotion, or the process of decision-making. Knowledge about brain function and behaviour is of considerable benefit to students studying other science courses.
Psychology is a science. The defining feature of any science is the objective approach that is used to advance our knowledge. In psychology we use this scientific approach to learn about behaviour and mental life. Psychology provides an excellent training in analytical thinking and scientific research methods that are applicable to a broad range of careers.
In Years 12 and 13 the students follow the AQA Psychology Specification. This builds upon the knowledge gained at GCSE, but it is not a requirement to have previously studied it. Click on the links below for more detailed content information.
- Research Methods Part 1 including types of psychological research such as experiments, case studies and observations; what is good/bad about each technique and when it is appropriate to use them. How to represent data, and interpret data using statistical testing such as sign test.
- Approaches in Psychology including different explanations for behaviour, nature v nurture.
- Memory including models of how the memory works, factors that affect memory, and how they have been used to improve eyewitness testimony.
- Psychopathology including causes and treatment of OCD, phobias and depression.
- Memory continued
- Research Methods Part 2
- Biopsychology including different structures of the brain, their functions, the brain's ability to recover from injury, ways to investigate the brain and the different rhythms of the human body such as circadian rhythms.
- Attachment including the importance of forming attachments in early childhood, and the effects if children do not form them.
- Research Methods Part 2 continued
- Social Influence including conformity, obedience, authoritarian personality and minority influence. Zimbardo’s Prison Experiment and Milgram’s Electric Shock Experiment.
- Revision and assessment
- Issues and Debates - arguments surrounding psychological research such as gender bias, reductionism vs holism and cultural bias and whether they affect the validity of research.
At the end of Year 12 students will make a class decision about which unit they want to do from option 1, 2 & 3:
- Cognition and development
- Eating behaviour
- Forensic Psychology
These options are then covered in the order option 1, 2 then 3. The students then complete full mocks of all three papers before starting a comprehensive revision programme particularly focusing on exam technique.
At the end of Year 12 students sit paper 1 and paper 2 full A Level papers because we teach more than the AS content in the first year.
There are three 2-hour long papers, each worth 33.3% of the A Level consisting of a variety of multiple choice, short answer and extended writing questions.
Introductory Topics in Psychology - written paper covering units 1–4
Psychology in Context - written paper covering units 5-7
Issues and Options in Psychology written paper covering unit 8 and one from option 1, 9–11, one from option 2, 12–14, one from option 3, 15–17