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Why do some people suffer from stress and mental illness? Why do some people fear snakes whilst others keep them as pets? Can violent video games/TV programmes influence anti-social behaviour? How do romantic relationships differ across cultures? These are some of the topics that A level Psychology addresses.
Students enrich their understanding of Psychology with lectures from UK, international and global psychology experts, such as the London Psychology Conference with renowned memory expert Professor Elizabeth Loftus and expert criminologist, author and commentator Professor David Wilson
The Psychology Department benefits from unrivalled and in-depth subject expertise, with a former Chief Examiner and course textbook author as its Head of Department
An increasingly popular subject, Psychology aligns with all disciplines in light of the broad spectrum of skills. Scientific analysis, essay writing and mathematics are included, making it an ideal choice no matter what combination of A level subjects are chosen
To study Psychology, students need a high level of literacy and numeracy, as both essay writing and statistical skills are required. Students taking this subject need an interest in scientific analysis and evaluation, as well as an interest in human behaviour in general. Like many other subjects at Advanced Level, students are required to undertake a significant amount of reading and research. Due to the complexity and diversity of human behaviour, Psychology often poses more questions than it answers. To succeed at Psychology you need a critical eye and to be able to take on board a number of conflicting perspectives.
Year 12 Course Outline
Unit 1: Cognitive Psychology, Developmental Psychology & Research Methods
Cognitive psychology, including the structure and theories of memory and eyewitness testimony Developmental psychology, including early childhood social development, parental attachment and the effects of day care on children’s social development Research methods – methods and techniques for data collection, the experimental process, analysing and presenting data
Unit 2: Biological Psychology, Social Psychology & Individual differences
Biological psychology, including stress, factors affecting stress, coping with stress and managing stress Social psychology, focusing on why some people conform and obey, whilst others resist Individual differences, including definitions of abnormality, approaches (psychodynamic, behavioural and cognitive) and therapies for treating abnormal behaviour such as phobias, personality disorders, anxiety and depression
In Year 12, assessment is based on structured compulsory questions, including short answer, stimulus material and extended writing questions. The specification consists of two 1 hour 30 minute written papers.
Year 13 Course outline
Unit 3: Topics in Psychology Three topics chosen from:
Biological rhythms and sleep (its nature, function and disorders) Perception (theories, development and face recognition) Relationships (formation and breakdown, reproductive behaviour, social and cultural influences) Theories of aggression Eating behaviour/disorders Gender – social, biological and cognitive differences between the sexes Intelligence and learning – theories, animal intelligence, the evolution of intelligence Cognition and development – the development of thinking processes , moral and social understanding in children
Unit 4: Psychopathology, Psychology in Action & Research Methods
Understanding psychological disorders through a range of approaches – biological, behaviourism, social learning theory, cognitive, psychodynamic and humanistic approaches Applying psychology to investigate a contemporary issue – the media, addiction, anomalistic psychology Methods in psychology, inferential statistics, issues in research (building on the knowledge and skills developed as part of AS Level
Unit 3: One 1 hour 30 minute written paper consisting of 3 essay style questions. This constitutes 25% of total A Level mark. Unit 4: One 2 hour written paper based on two essay questions and one structured question, constituting 25% of the total A Level marks.
For more detailed information on the AQA Psychology specification please visit: