Psychology is one of the most intellectually stimulating subjects to study as it makes you question your own way of thinking and the way your mind works. It is a fun subject with the most enthusiastic teachers but does require good organisation and lots of revision.

Chloe Lancashire

Chloe Lancashire

Course Description

Throughout the A Level course, students will have the opportunity to develop skills of interpretation, evaluation and application in the ever-changing field of psychology. Experimentation is crucial in psychology and so the new courses encourage practical investigations.

Entry Requirements

Achieve 5 or more standard GCSE passes or higher (grade 4 or higher).

If a student is applying for a course in a subject that they have studied at GCSE it is expected that they would have achieved at least a standard pass (grade 4) in that subject.

Course Content

Paper 1 – Introductory topics in psychology
Social Influence
Students will be exploring why some people conform to a majority influence, and why people obey authority. Students also examine explanations for resisting pressure to conform and obey.

Students will have the opportunity to explore cognitive explanations of memory. During this they will learn about different models of memory, different explanations for forgetting, and how we use our memory in everyday life.

Students will explore developmental explanations for early development of children and how babies form attachments, who they form them to, and what happens if they do not form attachments.

Students will apply the knowledge gained from the ‘approaches’ topic to explanations and treatments of modern psychological phenomena, including phobias, depression, and OCD.

Paper 2 – Psychology in context
Approaches in psychology
Students will consider the different approaches taken in psychology, both historically and today. These will include the learning, cognitive, psychodynamic, humanistic, and biological approaches.

Students will explore various aspects of human biology and how this has an influence on our behaviour. This includes the fight or flight response, synaptic transmission, the nervous system, and much more.

Research methods
Students will develop their knowledge and understanding of modern research methods, including the scientific process and data handling and analysis.

Paper 3 – Issues and options in psychology
Issues and debates
Students will consider issues and debates in psychology, including: gender and culture; free will and determinism; the nature-nurture debate; holism and reductionism; and the ethical implications of research.

Students will examine what the causes of aggression in humans are. This includes studying the influence of media on aggression, and what causes aggression in prisons.

Here students will examine what schizophrenia is and how someone would be diagnosed with schizophrenia. Students will also explore the various explanations for the cause of the disorder as well as multiple treatments.

Here students look at the different factors that influence attraction in relationships. They also explore the different theories of why we stay in a relationship and why a relationship may break down. In addition, students will look at the relationships that people create with each other online.


Paper 1
Written exam: 2 hours
96 marks
33.3% of the A Level

Paper 2
Written exam: 2 hours
96 marks
33.3% of the A Level

Paper 3
Written exam: 2 hours
96 marks
33.3% of the A Level

Future Opportunities

An A Level in Psychology prepares students for a wide variety of degrees, including English, Law, Philosophy and some sciences. Careers in this field include in clinical psychology, educational psychology, health psychology, forensic psychology, and working as a counsellor.

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