Head of Department

Mrs B L LewisMA, MSc, GTP

OVERVIEW

We are launching A Level Psychology in September 2018, for the first assessment in June 2020. It is a dynamic, engaging and challenging subject exploring the scientific link between the human mind and behaviour. It will appeal to students who are interested in people and what makes us tick.

Psychology sits well within most combinations of subjects and across the sciences and arts because it seeks to use scientific and mathematical methods in order to understand behaviour. Given this, the subject is best suited to those who have good GCSEs in Science and Maths; and subjects such as English, Geography, History and RS also have transferable skills.

If students are considering studying Psychology at University it is worth thinking carefully about their choice of A Levels as some undergraduate courses require Maths or other Science subjects (such as Chemistry or Biology) and will likely require specific GCSE grades for Science, Maths and English.

Curriculum

We are studying the AQA course, which is assessed in three two-hour examinations. Students need to have a flexible approach, as the Linear A Level sees them applying knowledge from across the course and the two years of study to each of the three papers. Questions vary from multiple choice and short-answer questions to answers requiring extended writing. Some questions require students to apply their knowledge to scenarios. The three papers are briefly outlined below:

Introductory Topics

Memory, Social Influence, Psychopathology, Attachment. Long-term and short-term memory, eyewitness testimony; majority and minority influence; depression, OCD; types of attachment, the impact of insecure attachment.

Approaches in Psychology

Biopsychology and Research Methods. Different types of approaches in Psychology (e.g., Psychodynamic, Cognitive, Biological); the nervous system, influence of hormones, studying the brain (scans, etc.); Scientific Processes and the Experimental Method, Data Handling and Inferential Testing.

Issues and Debates

Relationships, Schizophrenia, Forensic Psychology. Gender and Culture, Free will and Determinism, nature-nurture debate, Ethics; factors affecting attraction, virtual relationships; symptoms explanations and treatments of schizophrenia; problems in defining crime and explanations of offending behaviours.

Further Career Options

Career options are varied; there are many specific options for applied professional psychological careers such as Sports Psychology, Clinical, and Educational, Forensic, etc. Of course, the subject also contains many transferable skills applying to Law, Advertising, Media, Teaching, Public services and Business.