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A-level Psychology

Psychology is the scientific study of mind and behaviour. If you are interested in understanding other humans better, then this might be the subject for you.

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Exam Board: AQA

Psychology

Psychology is the scientific study of mind and behaviour. Psychologists do experiments and observations to try to understand why people act the way they do. They use this understanding to create useful applications to help people. If you are interested in understanding other humans better, then this might be the subject for you.

Additionally, learning about how and why people behave in certain ways will help you build communication skills. People with a Psychology background can be found in business, management, medicine, healthcare, teaching, research, marketing, social work, police, the arts… anywhere there are people, basically!

A-level Psychology is a linear qualification which is usually taken over two years. It requires academic writing, mathematical and scientific skills. GCSE subjects which would be useful include any Science or Social Science subjects (although it is not necessary to have studied Psychology before), Maths, History, English or any other essay-based subject.

Course Content

AQA Subject Content (Year 1 & 2)

Compulsory content:

  • Social Influence: How does group pressure affect individuals?
  • Memory: How do we remember and why do we forget?
  • Attachment: How influential is a child’s early relationship with their primary caregiver?
  • Psychopathology: What are the causes and treatment of mental disorders such as phobias, depression and OCD?
  • Approaches in Psychology: How have psychologists attempted to explain human behaviour and mental processes?
  • Biopsychology: How do the body and brain affect our behaviour?
  • Research Methods: How do psychologists investigate the mind and behaviour?
  • Issues and Debates in Psychology: What are the most important arguments about how to conduct research or explain behaviour?

Optional content (Year 2 only)

There are three Option categories. Students learn one topic from each Option category. This year’s topics are Gender, Schizophrenia and Aggression.

A-level course (Examined in Year 2)

  • Paper 1: Introductory Topics in Psychology. Compulsory content 1-4. Assessed by written exam: 2 hours.
  • Paper 2: Psychology in Context. Compulsory content 5-7. Assessed by written exam: 2 hours.
  • Paper 3: Issues and Options in Psychology. Compulsory content: 8. Optional content: one from Option 1; one from Option 2; one from Option 3. Assessed by written exam: 2 hours.

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