What is Psychology?
In Psychology we study the reasons for human behaviour. So if you have ever wondered ‘why we forget’ or ‘why babies cry when they are left with a new babysitter’ or ‘how research into human behaviour is carried out’ then you have been asking some of the questions psychologists ask.
To be successful in this subject you need to enjoy reading and critical thinking through considering the explanations that psychologists have put forward and how thinking has changed over time. The course includes recent areas of research such as interview techniques used by the police; strategies for improving your memory; stress management; why people resist pressures to conform and obey; various explanations of the causes of mental disorders. Some of these topics may be personally challenging, such as exploring reasons behind mental disorders and addictive behaviours, so you are advised to take this into consideration when making your choice to study psychology.
Psychology tries to answer questions like:
- What happens to our body and brain when we are stressed?
- What sort of things make us stressed and why can this stress make us ill?
- How has our understanding of memory enabled police questioning of witnesses to more effective?
- How do we determine what is meant by normal behaviour?
- How can I carry out research to find out if my ideas can be supported with evidence?
- Is aggressive behaviour caused by our hormones?
- What is intelligence?
- How can we explain addictive behaviours such as gambling or smoking?
Is Psychology suitable for me?
If you can say yes to the following then this is the course for you: "I like a challenge", "I am interested in people", "I like reading and finding out new information", "I am quite organised and can keep good class notes", "I liked science at school".
How will I learn?
Our students always enjoy the practical investigations that allow them to plan their own research, carry out an experiment, observation or interview and analyse their results. You take part in mini projects allowing you to collect data, analyse your results and assess what you find out. This will help you understand the explanations for the behaviours and the methods used by psychologists to carry out research. Your teachers will use a variety of teaching methods e.g. DVDs, textbooks and learning packs. 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, 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. Structured compulsory questions based on Memory, Attachment and Research methods. Questions include short answers, stimulus material and one 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. Three compulsory structured questions, one based on stress, one based on social influence and one based on individual differences i.e. defining, explaining and treating psychological abnormality. Questions include short answers, stimulus material and one 12 mark question 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. Three essay style questions, one on each of the following biological rhythms and sleep; intelligence and learning; Aggression Quality of Written Communication is assessed in each essay.
- Unit 4: 25% of the total A Level marks – 2 Hours 3 sections:
a) Psychopathology - one question on schizophrenia, where candidates will apply knowledge and understanding of models, classification and diagnosis of this mental disorder;
b) Psychology in Action – one question on the psychology of addictive behaviour;
c) Psychological Research and Scientific Method – one compulsory structured question covering application of scientific method, designing psychological investigations and data analysis and reporting on investigations.
Not only will psychology give you a deeper understanding of human behaviour, it will also develop your oral 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 A/AS 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.
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.
All students will be expected to provide their own textbooks, stationery, computer disks and calculators (where appropriate).
Essential: textbooks approximately £30 per year to include topic booklets
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.
- Sixth Form Course: