Curriculum Leader

Miss E Shakespeare

Awarding Body

AQA Course Specification

Entry Requirements

Minimum of level 5 in English (Lit or Lang) and level 5 in Science and/or Mathematics at GCSE. Students DO NOT need to have studied Psychology at GCSE level, although this would be advantageous. Students who have studied GCSE Psychology would be expected to have a minimum level 6.

Why choose Psychology?

Psychology is the scientific study of the mind, brain and behaviour. It investigates a wide range of issues with real world applications including artificial intelligence, how drugs interact with chemicals in the brain to change behaviour, the reliability of eyewitness testimony, genocide and the link between genes, the environment and particular behaviours.

Throughout the course you will learn how to both conduct and critically evaluate psychological research and will develop your knowledge and understanding of scientific processes and statistics. Psychology also places much emphasis on application as well as theoretical knowledge, so you will be expected to explain previously unconsidered scenarios in the examinations. Given the nature of assessment, studying psychology will also develop your literacy skills.

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What will I learn in Year 12 and how will it be assessed?

Unit 1: Introductory Topics

This unit is designed to introduce you to three key content areas in psychology: Social Influence; Memory, Attachment and Psychopathology

  • Assessment: Examination paper (2 hours).
  • Weighting: 33.3% A2 (96 marks).
  • Multiple choice, short answer and extended writing (16 mark essay).

Unit 2: Psychology in Context

This unit is designed to explore the origins of psychology and the scientific nature of the subject. You will study the Learning, Cognitive and Biological Approaches (including Biopsychology) and research methods.

  • Multiple choice, short answer and extended writing (24 mark essay).

This is a new specification subject. It is anticipated that all students enrolling onto this course will be entered for the AS examination as a standalone qualification at the end of Year 12. The majority of students will then progress into Year 13 in order to complete the full A level. Please visit the FAQ section of this prospectus for more information.

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What will I learn in Year 13 Psychology and how will it be assessed?

Unit 2: Psychology in context

This unit is continued from Year 12 and is designed to explore the origins of psychology and the scientific nature of the subject. You will study the Learning, Cognitive and Biological Approaches (including Biopsychology), Psychopathology and research methods.

  • Assessment: Examination paper (2 hours).
  • Weighting: 33.3% A2 (96 marks).
  • Multiple choice, short answer and extended writing

Unit 3: Issues and options in psychology

This unit is designed to introduce you to three contemporary topic areas (Relationships, Schizophrenia and Forensic psychology) and the main debates within psychology.

  • Assessment: Examination paper (2 hours).
  • Weighting: 33.3% A2 (96 marks).
  • Multiple choice, short answer and extended writing (16 mark essay)

This is a ‘new specification’ subject. The overall result for each student completing this course to full A level standard will be based on the final Year 13 A level examinations only. Please visit the FAQs for more information on new specifications, their UCAS tariff points and their ‘decoupling’ of AS/A2 grades.

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How will I learn?

You will learn through opportunities to:

  • Conduct independent research
  • Design and conduct scientific research
  • Self- and peer-assess
  • Work on tasks independently, in pairs and in groups
  • Make presentations to the class
  • Take part in Masterclasses available through universities
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A number of students every year go on to study for a BSc degree in Psychology or in the related field of Neuroscience. They also go on to study Medicine, Nursing, primary Education, Occupational Therapy and Forensic Science.

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Chartered Psychologist (Clinical, Educational, Occupational, Forensic, Sport or Teaching and Research).

You will also find psychology useful in many areas of work, such as research, teaching, medicine/health care, business and marketing, leadership and management, sport and coaching.

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Further Course Information:

You will benefit from wider-reading around the subject (for example, by signing up with the British Psychology Society and receiving their publication ‘The Psychologist’ as well as their Research digest).

All students receive a range of resources including detailed notes, revision packs and examination papers. Homework is set frequently and regular assessment is a feature of the course.

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