A Level Psychology
Exam board: AQA

Why study this subject?

Psychology is a unique and challenging subject which will engage learners who are interested in understanding why people behave the way they do. Students are expected to formulate theoretical arguments, substantiate claims through research and establish causes of human behaviour. The course examines theories such as the ‘nature or nurture’ debate and applies theories to a range of topics including forensic psychology, and abnormality.

Paper 1: Introductory topics in Psychology.

Social Influence: Why do humans alter their behaviour because of conformity and obedience to authority? Three key studies in psychology will be discussed: Asch, Milgram and Zimbardo.
Memory: Exploration of theories for how our memory works and the consequences of how inaccurate our memory is will be discussed. Why are eyewitness testimonies the leading cause of wrongful convictions.  Attachment: This will explore the importance of the mother- child bond on the development of adult relationships as well as the consequence of maternal deprivation.
Psychopathology: Explanations for and the treatment of depression, phobias and OCD using a variety of psychological perspectives is a key part of this module.

Paper 2: Psychology in Context

Approaches to Psychology/Research Methods: Psychology consists of many conflicting approaches that attempt to explain why we behave the way we do e.g. is criminal behaviour a result of nature or nurture? How do psychologists carry out their research?
Biopsychology: This section will explore how different parts of the brain, our nervous and endocrine system affect our behaviour and why we are biologically programmed to have a fight and flight response.

Paper 3: Issues and Options in Psychology

Forensic Psychology: Why do people commit crime? Are punishments or treatment better at improving criminal behaviour? Which technique of offender profiling is more effective?
Relationship types differ so this section will particular look at theories for and factors affecting romantic relationships as well as virtual relationships.
Schizophrenia: What is it? How do we treat schizophrenia?

How is this subject assessed?

This course is 100% assessed with external written exam papers. These consist of multiple choice, short-answer and essay based questions. There are three exam papers taken at the end of Year 13.

Where can this subject lead?

Psychology students can go on to specialise in a particular area such as Educational Psychology, Sports Psychology, Therapy or Occupational Psychology. This A Level is well recognised by universities and employers as a challenging and skillful course. Whichever course, apprenticeship or employment students pursue, they will be equipped with a variety of skills which will help them to understand many different types of people. Popular careers for psychology students are in education, health, marketing, management, human resources and government services, including the police.