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Examination Board: AQA

What is the course about?

Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and human behaviour. It is a fascinating and challenging course that will delve into the complex relationship that exists between our mental processes and our behaviour. Psychology is a science with cutting-edge research that has many real-world applications to issues in everyday life, ranging from artificial intelligence to mental health treatments. Students will learn the fundamentals of the subject and develop skills valued by higher education and employers, including critical analysis, independent thinking and research.

In Year 12 you will study:

  • Social influence
  • Memory
  • Attachment
  • Psychopathology
  • Approaches and biopsychology AS
  • Research methods AS

In Year 13 you will study:

  • Biopsychology A Level
  • Research methods A Level
  • Issues and debates
  • Aggression
  • Gender
  • Schizophrenia

How is the course assessed?

The A Level psychology examination, at the end of Year 13, consists of three papers covering Units 1, 2 and 3. Each paper amounts to one third of the A Level qualification.

What skills will I need and develop in this course?

The emphasis is on applying knowledge and understanding, thereby developing students’ transferable skills of analysis, evaluation and critical thinking. The psychology course broadens your ability to:
  • View the world around you from different perspectives.
  • Plan and conduct scientific investigations.
  • Analyse and interpret data.
  • Hone your critical reasoning skills – evaluate, justify, discuss.
  • Communicate your point of view fluently in structured essays.

Subject combination advice:

Psychology students often also study sociology, biology, business studies, economics, English and physical education. Otherwise all combinations work well.

What can the course lead to in terms of higher education and future careers?

Psychology can help your career either directly or indirectly. Studying psychology at university will give students the possibility to specialise in specific areas such as health, clinical, educational, research, occupational, counselling, neuropsychology, sport and exercise, and forensics. However, students who desire a career in a different field, such as in marketing or business, will find an understanding of psychology useful because of its broad scope of application.

What are the formal entry requirements?

GCSEs in English, mathematics and science at a minimum Grade 6.

What activities enrich this subject?

Students have the opportunity to attend subject-related lectures to reinforce their understanding of the topics covered.

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