“If you are interested in understanding why you act the way you do, then psychology is the subject for you”
Psychology is the scientific study of the mind; psychologists seek to understand different aspects of individual behaviour though empirical testing, statistical analysis and theoretical application. Over the two year course you will study cognitive, social, biological, clinical and criminological psychology. You will have opportunities to conduct your own psychological tests, including laboratory experiments, observations and questionnaires, and you will gain an in-depth understanding of classic and contemporary psychological research. If you are interested in understanding why you forget things, why people hold prejudiced attitudes, how mental health disorders develop or why you can’t always trust an eye-witness, then psychology is the subject for you.
The Psychology A-Level covers:
- Foundations in psychology (social, cognitive and biological psychology, and learning theories)
- Applications of psychology (clinical and criminological psychology)
- Psychological skills (review of studies and methods)
All A-Level courses are two year courses. You will sit the AS exams at the end of Year 12 and the A-Level exams at the end of Year 13. Although the AS grade will not count towards your final A-Level grade, you will need at least a grade D at AS to succeed on this course in Year 13.
How will I be assessed?
At the end of Year 12 you will be assessed through two written examinations each lasting 1.5 hours and contributing 50% towards your final AS grade.
At the end of Year 13 you will be assessed through three written examinations each lasting 2 hours; two of these will contribute 35% towards your final A-Level grade, the third contributing 30% towards your final A-Level grade.
Each exam has a range of short answer, mid-length and essay style questions, requiring you to explain, evaluate and apply psychological theory and research. You will also be required to interpret statistics and carry out basic calculations.
Additional Entry Requirements
- GCSE Combined Science grade 5-4 or a Science GCSE at grade 5
- GCSE Maths: 4
- GCSE English: 5
These requirements are in addition to the general entry requirements.
Where can this course take me?
Psychology is an excellent foundation for many university degrees due to the wide range of transferable skills you will develop. Skills include presenting a clear argument, analysing statistical data, writing a coherent essay, extracting key points from dense text, debating ideas as part of a group and evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of complex theoretical arguments. You will also learn to design and conduct your own research, using methods such as laboratory experiments, observations and questionnaires. The skills and knowledge you will acquire are valued by employers from various job sectors, such as social work, marketing and advertising, journalism, education, the criminal justice system, therapy/counselling and public relations. Psychology A-Level is also useful for students wishing to study subjects such as sociology, psychology, medicine (dependent on the university), science or law at university.