Psychology, the scientific study of human and animal behaviour, is a fascinating subject that can be taken by any student, whether they will continue to study it at Higher Education or not. It complements several other A-Level subjects, such as Biology, Health and Social Care, PE, and Geography. Psychology is very popular and with good reason. Almost any aspect of life can be studied within Psychology. Classes involve a variety of learning activities from group discussion to carrying out research.

In 2013, Psychology graduates were most likely of all graduates to have gained employment after completing their degree (Higher Education Academy 2013). It is the 4th most studied subject at University.

Psychology enables students to develop a range of transferable skills that can be applied to several degree courses and employment settings. These include: Report writing, analysis of data, effective communication, ability to work productively in teams, analysis and evaluation of theoretical material.


Two examination papers at the end of Year 12

Paper 1- Introductory Topics In Psychology - 1 hour 30 mins

- Social Influence ? Why do people obey orders? How can we explain behaviour in crowds?

- Memory - How does memory work? Why do we forget? Why is eyewitness testimony considered unreliable? How can we improve eyewitness testimony?

- Attachment- How do children attach to their parents? What happens if attachment is disrupted? How does early attachment influence adult relationships?

Paper 2- Psychology in context- 1 hour 30 mins

- Approaches in Psychology- Is human behaviour inborn? Is it learned? Or is it a combination of the two? In this module, you will study the role of genetics in human behaviour. You will also discover how much the environment contributes to human behaviour. Finally, you will look at the latest research into mental processes. How do nerve cells communicate with each other? What happens biologically when we are under stress?

- Psychopathology - What is abnormal? What causes OCD? What causes depression? What causes phobias? How can these disorders be treated? How effective are different treatments for these disorders?

A level Psychology

Three examination papers at the end of year 13.

Paper 1- Introductory Topics in Psychology- 2 hours

- Social Influence- As AS Level but also including: How do we resist pressure to obey?

- Memory- As AS Level

- Attachment- As AS Level

Paper 2- Psychology in Context- 2 hours

- Approaches in Psychology - How can behaviour be explained by the following theories? Biological, Cognitive, Learning, Psychodynamic and Humanistic.

- Biopsychology - As AS Level but also including: functions of different brain areas, differences between the right and left hemispheres. How do people recover after brain injuries? How can the brain be studied? (i.e. different scanning techniques). Bodily rhythms such as sleep/wake cycle and dreams.

- Research Methods - As AS Level but also including: statistical analysis of results and how to write up reports.

Paper 3- Issues and Options in Psychology- 2 hours

-Issues and Debates - gender and culture differences. Do we have free will or is our behaviour determined?

- Students then study three from the following:

-- Relationships, gender, cognitive development

-- Schizophrenia, eating behaviour, stress

-- Aggression, forensic psychology, addiction