Psychology

Qualification: 
A / AS Level
Duration: 
2 years
Level: 
3

What is Psychology?

Psychology is the scientific study of human behaviour. So if you are interested in topics such as why we are attracted to some people and not others, what happens to our bodies under stress, how to improve witness testimony after a crime, sleep disorders, how memory works or how can we prevent addictions such as smoking and gambling then you are interested in some of the topics that psychologists study.

The topics studied are:

AS

  • Memory
  • Attachment
  • Research Methods
  • Stress
  • Social Influence - Conformity and obedience
  • Psychopathology - Abnormal behaviour

A2

  • Biological rhythms and sleep
  • Relationships
  • Aggression
  • Schizophrenia
  • Addictive behaviours
  • Research methods

Is Psychology suitable for me?

If you are interested in finding out why people behave the way they do, like a challenge, like reading and researching then this course may be for you.

Part of the course includes biology and mathematics. You do not need to study these subjects at college but strong GCSE skills are needed to provide a firm basis from which you can develop. A high standard of English is also required as many of the assessments are essay based. There will be a lot of new psychological terminology to learn so you must be prepared to put in considerable time and effort learning these new terms. 

Some of these topics may be personally challenging, such as exploring reasons behind psychological disorders and addictive behaviours, so you are advised to take this into consideration when making your choice to study psychology.

How will I learn?

Our students always enjoy the practical investigations that allow them to plan their own research, carry out experiments, observations or interviews and analyse their results. You will take part in projects allowing you to collect data, analyse your results and assess your findings. This will help you understand the methods psychologists use when conducting research.

Your teachers will use a variety of teaching methods including class discussions to critically evaluate studies, debates about ethical issues, helping you to design and carry out your own research, trips, DVDs, textbooks, quizzes and past exam questions. You will also be provided with one booklet for each topic and will work through it in class and at home.

We expect you to set aside between 3 to 4 hours a week for homework. There is a comprehensive bank of information on the College intranet, Moodle, including the specification, essay plans, links to websites and summaries of topics which you will be able to access from home.

How will I be assessed?

Students on AS and A2 courses will have regular assessments throughout the year that will appear on college Mark book. Assessment of the AS is by 2 examinations.

  • Unit 1: 50% of the total AS marks and 25% of the total A2 marks – 1 hour 30 minutes paper.

Structured compulsory questions based on Memory, Attachment and Research methods. Questions include short answers, stimulus material and one to two essay questions requiring extended writing in which the Quality of Written Communication will be assessed.

  • Unit 2: 50% of the total AS marks and 25% of the total A2 marks – 1 hour 30 minutes.

Structured compulsory questions based on Psychopathology, Social Influence and Stress. Questions include short answers, stimulus material and one to two essay questions requiring extended writing in which the Quality of Written Communication will be assessed.

Assessment of the A2 is by two examinations

  • Unit 3: 25% of the total A Level marks – 1 hour 30 minutes paper.

Three essay style questions, one on each of the following; aggression, biological rhythms and sleep and relationships.

  • Unit 4: 25% of the total A Level marks – 2 hour paper

Two essay questions - one on Schizophrenia and one on the Psychology of Addictive behaviour. A third question in which you are asked to design your own research, justify your choice of statistical test and apply the scientific method to a stimulus piece of research.

Progression

Not only will psychology give you a deeper understanding of human behaviour, it will also develop your skills in written and oral communication, research, study and revision. These skills will be of great value to you in Higher Education and employment.

All universities accept AS and A2 Psychology and past students have gone on to a wide range of courses and careers. The most popular degree courses for our students include psychology, nursing, teaching, business, sports sciences and occupational therapy. In addition students offering A Level Psychology have also been accepted for degree courses in medicine, law, criminology, counselling, veterinary science, journalism, history, politics, biological and environmental sciences.

Entry requirements

Students studying a 3 or 4 AS level programme should normally have achieved an average GCSE point score of 5.5 or above and at least a grade C in Maths and/or English (unless specified otherwise). Students with a point score between 4.5 – 5.5 will normally take a mixture of Subsidiary Diplomas and AS levels. You can check your likely GCSE point score by going to 'Choosing the Right Course' on the website and entering your predicted grades.

You should have at least a grade C in GCSE Science.

Course costs

All students will be expected to provide their own textbooks and stationery

Essential: Textbooks approximately £24 per year
Optional: £22 for magazine subscription

Costs of trips vary

If the costs of equipment, materials and trips may cause you financial hardship, you may wish to read through details of our financial support scheme on our website.

Course Code

AQA1181/2181