In Year 12 t he course first looks at classic and contemporary Core Studies, which illustrate the scope of psychology and the range of methods used to gather evidence. In Year 13 it focuses on child and criminal psychology, as well as research into mental health. The course covers a wide variety of areas of interest such as the diagnosis of mental illness, features of autism, moral development, eyewitness testimony, the effect of imprisonment and the plasticity of the brain. As in any A level subject, students are expected to take responsibility for their learning and become increasingly independent. Much time in class is spent in discussion rather than following a textbook, which students will read on their own. Psychological terminology is really important and students will h ave many new terms to learn which they will become confident with over time. Students will attend at least two conferences over the course of the two years, and will also benefit from lectures by outside speakers as well as a visit to the Psychology Department at the University of Kent at the end of Year 12. They will also have opportunities to carry out their own research as well as participate in some if they wish. Assessment is all exam based with no coursework, although students will be asked to refer t o their own research in the exam.
Beyond A level
Studying Psychology is very stimulating, and many students go on to study this subject at
undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Psychology is a popular subject on its own but can also be combined with criminology, sociology, anthropology and philosophy, to name but a few options. Psychologists are currently working in such diverse fields as education, human resources, the NHS, the prison service, the police force, marketing, counselling, advertising and social work. The British Psychological Society website has plenty of information about careers related to Psychology.
Although Psychology is classified as a science, students who take up this course always come from a wide range of different disciplines and anyone is welcome if they have an interest in human behaviour and at least a grade 5 in English Language at GCSE. At least a Grade 5 in Mathematics at GCSE is also strongly recommended as there is a statistics component and 25% of the marks awarded are on mathematical ability. Students should be able to express themselves fluently in writing and be willing to engage in both critical and creative thinking.