What will I study?
Psychology is the study of the mind and behaviour. Psychology observes how people vary in their behaviour, in what they think, say and feel, and explores the relationship between behaviour and the mind. Psychology aims to create general laws that can explain all behaviour as well as appreciate exceptional cases that show how diverse individual people can be. This is investigated through new research or using existing evidence all of which is assessed using scientific principles.
Year 1 covers Approaches and Research Methods, Attachment, Social Influence, Memory and Psychopathology (all compulsory content).
Year 2 covers Approaches and Research Methods, all topics from Year 1 (compulsory content) with additional topics of Schizophrenia, Relationships and Forensic Science (options chosen).
How will I be assessed?
The AQA psychology course is on the new specification with decoupled AS and A level exams.
AS / Year 12
Each of the 2 papers is a 1 ½ hour exam totalling 72 marks worth 50% of the AS result.
- Paper 1; Topics in Psychology; Attachment, Social Influence and Memory
- Paper 2; Psychology in Context; Approaches, Research Methods and Psychopathology
Assessment is through a range of shorter questions, including multiple choice, and 12 mark essay based questions.
A level / Year 13
Each of the 3 papers is a 2 hour exam totalling 96 marks and worth 33.3% of the A level result.
Assessment is through a range of shorter questions, including multiple choice, and more extended writing including 16 mark essays.
- Paper 1; Introductory Topics in Psychology: Social Influence, Memory, Attachment and Psychopathology (all compulsory).
- Paper 2; Psychology in context; Approaches in psychology, Biopsychology and Research methods in psychology
- Paper 3; Issues and Options in Psychology; Issues and debates in psychology (compulsory), Relationships, Schizophrenia and Forensic Science (options).
It is essential that students are articulate in English, mathematics and science as the application of these skills is vital throughout the psychology course and assessment. Students will also need to be very committed and build on their independent learning skills to take full advantage of the electronic textbook available. A thirst for knowledge and excitement for new findings would be ideal.
Psychology offers insight into the self and others so is universally useful for all interaction with people both professional and personal. Those who wish to study further can go to university; it is often also offered as a joint subject and combines well with subjects such as criminology or sociology. It naturally leads into careers such as counselling and psychiatry, nursing, health and social care and teaching, animal sciences, management and journalism.