Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and human behaviour. Currently one of the most popular courses at a university level in the UK, Psychology has led to the developing understanding of topics including mental health disorders, social influence and aggression. This A-Level course reflects the multi-faceted nature of the social science.
In the first year of the course you’ll cover the following topics:
The approaches in Psychology – Here you will consider the different, conflicting theories of psychologists that make up the approaches in psychology. These include, the behaviourist, cognitive and psychodynamic approaches.
Biopsychology – In this part of the course you will be delving deeper into one of the aforementioned approaches, the biological approach, otherwise known as biopsychology. This will involve looking in more detail on the role of the brain, genetics and neurotransmitters on behaviour.
Psychopathology – Here you will look at the explanations of abnormality and explanations of and ways to treat three mental health conditions: phobias, OCD (Obsessive compulsive disorder), and depression.
Memory – In this topic you will be studying the models of memory, short-term and long-term memory, why people forget information as well as the factors that can affect eye-witness testimony.
Attachment – Here you will be looking at the bond between children and their caregivers. What do different explanations say? How do attachments differ between cultures? How do these attachments, or in some cases, lack thereof, impact later behaviour?
Social influence – Why do people follow orders despite their perceived negative outcomes? Why do people conform to groups? What influences these decisions and how can they be resisted? These are all questions you will be delving into in this topic.
Research methods – Here you will look at why psychology is regarded as a science. You will see the different types of psychological investigations, the different types of samples, how to present findings as well as some statistical testing.
In the second year of the course you’ll cover the following topics:
Research methods – Developing upon the content you covered in your first year here you will be looking at reliability and the types of validity. In addition, you will be studying when you need to carry out particular statistical tests, and how to do this.
Issues and debates – Here you will discuss some of the major issues and debates in Psychology, including: Is human behaviour the product of genetic inheritance or the environment? To what extent are psychological theories gender biased? Or biased in terms of gender? Are our thoughts and behaviour freely chosen or determined by factors we can’t control? And many more!
Schizophrenia – In this topic you will be studying one of the most widely misunderstood mental health conditions, Schizophrenia. Within the subject you will be looking at the different explanations of how the disorder develops, and how it can be treated.
Relationships – Here you will look at human reproductive behaviour, the factors affecting attraction, theories of romantic relationships, relationship breakdown, virtual relationships and para-social relationships.
Aggression – In this topic you will be looking at the different explanations of aggression. You will be studying the genetic explanations of aggression as well as their social counterparts. In addition, you will be examining aggression in the context of prisons, as well as the influence of media on aggressive behaviour.
Assessment by three, equally weighted, 2 hour written exams at the end of the second year.
Each will contain a selection of multiple choice, short answer and extended writing questions.
Students will be expected to match their six hours of lessons with six hours of private study per week. This should involve prep reading for class, parallel study programme, creating effective notes and revision resources, and exam style questions.
Overseas Ethnographic visits to Scandinavia and NYC
Stretch and Challenge
- Google classroom and the School’s Psychology twitter page will be used to recommend articles, TV programmes, podcasts, exhibitions, wider reading, and additional courses that the department feels would develop students’ understanding of various topics.
- Sixth form students and selected Key stage 4 students will be offered the opportunity to attend the Social Science club. Here they will investigate psychological, sociological and anthropological topics not covered on the curriculum, allowing them to develop an understanding of the wider context of the subjects.
Where can psychology take you?
Psychology grants students an array of skills that can provide invaluable in a number of careers.
Jobs directly related to psychology include:
- Clinical psychologist
- Forensic psychologist
- Health psychologist
- Wellbeing practitioner
- Sport Psychologist
Jobs where psychology would be useful include:
- Advice worker
- Border force officer
- Educational consultant
- Market researcher
- Human resources officer
- Careers adviser
How parents can support their child’s learning
- Talking through work. Having your son or daughter talk you through their folder can help their organisation, and talking through their notes with them, their understanding of the course content. They have folder checks and know what is expected from them in terms of how their folders should be structured, so talking through this with them could be very helpful.
- Helping them make time to work without distractions, particularly to keep up with the required extra reading and research.
- Encourage your child to create a revision plan early in order to enable them to revise effectively for all of their subjects throughout the year.
- Using the AQA Specification provided, ask your child to talk you through the bullet points. Are they able to explain the points to you?
- Psychology lends itself to discussion, and this discussions at home can help develop understanding of the topic, as well as their ability to apply their knowledge to exam questions. Simply asking students about what they are learning in class, and asking them to explain this, can not only lead to some very interesting conversations, but will also allow them to improve their comprehension of the subject outside of the classroom.