Psychology is the scientific study of human behaviour and mental processes. It will open your eyes to the world around you and help you to understand why we behave in the way we do. Why did the Nazis commit atrocities against the Jews? Can we enhance the powers of the brain? Are Freud’s ideas still relevant today? Is aggression more influenced by our genes or our environment? What influence do role models have on anorexia? How reliable is eyewitness testimony? Are criminals born or made? What are the causes of Schizophrenia?
You do not need to have studied Psychology before. The course involves some essay writing, science and statistics. You will put your psychological knowledge into action by conducting your own practical work in class. The full two-year A Level is assessed through three papers. Each paper is two hours long and 96 marks in total. Each paper is worth 33.3% of the final A Level mark.
All content in Paper One and Paper Two is compulsory.
Paper One – Introductory Topics in Psychology
This paper involves understanding the basic concepts in Psychology. Each section is worth 24 marks and all questions are compulsory. It consists of studies and theories in the following areas:
Section A: Social Influence
Section B: Memory
Section C: Attachment
Section D: Psychopathology
Paper Two – Psychology in Context
This paper involves understanding the different perspectives in Psychology and applying it to real life situations. Section A and B are worth 24 marks and Section C is worth 48 marks:
Section A: Approaches in Psychology
Section B: Biopsychology
Section C: Research Methods
Paper Three – Issues and Options in Psychology
Each section in this paper is worth 24 marks. Section A is compulsory, Section B, C and D contain three topics each and students select one topic from each:
Section A: Issues and Debates in Psychology
Section B: Relationships, Gender or Cognition and Development
Section C: Schizophrenia, Eating Behaviour or Stress
Section D: Aggression, Forensic Psychology or Addiction
Psychology is valuable for careers where dealing with people plays a key role, such as Business, Law, Medicine and Management and for Psychology specific careers (Clinical, Forensic, Sport, Health, Occupational and Educational). Psychology combines well with other Social Sciences, Humanities and Pure Sciences.
To study this course, you should have at least a Grade 5 in English and Maths (Grade 6s are desirable) and a Grade 6 in one of the Sciences at GCSE.
You could take this course to complement other Advanced Level courses such as another Science subject, which could lead you onto Higher Education to study Psychology, or more general Higher Education courses. With further training, you could go into a job related to Psychology and people such as a Counsellor, Nurse or Psychologist. It will help you to develop the skills, understanding and knowledge that many employers across lots of industries are looking for.