If you are fascinated by the idea of understanding the brain - if you want to grasp the complexities of human behaviour - A level Psychology is for you. It is about trying to understand why people think, feel and behave the way they do. Psychologists ask a diverse range of questions such as:

What is personality? How does memory function? How do we learn? How are attitudes formed?

Psychology has become one of the fastest growing subjects in schools. It studies the most fascinating of all areas – human behaviour and experience.

Course Content

Paper 1: Introductory topics in Psychology

For the topic of social influence, students will learn to what extent humans will conform with or obey those around them and why this occurs. For the topic of memory, students will study models concerning how the human memory system operates and will look at several theories of forgetting. For the topic of attachment, students will study infant-caregiver interactions and look at how early relationships develop in humans and animals. Finally, for the topic of psychopathology, students will study explanations of phobias, depression and OCD. They will also learn about treatment techniques for these conditions.

·         Stanford prison experiment poster

·         Selective attention clip

·         Harlow’s monkeys

Paper 2: Psychology in context

The first sections of this examination focus on different approaches to the study of the mind and behaviour. Students will learn about behaviourism, social learning theory, cognitive psychology, psychoanalytic theory, humanistic psychology and biopsychology. In this topic, students are introduced to the work of many famous psychologists, including Pavlov, Skinner, Watson, Bandura, Freud, Rogers and Maslow. A large emphasis is placed on biopsychology, and students will gain an understanding of neuroanatomy, basic biochemistry underlying behaviour, and behavioural genetics.

This paper also assesses students’ understanding of research methods. Students will learn how psychologists conduct different types of research and consider the problems they encounter in doing so. They will study issues of reliability and validity, and through this approach to research they will consider the scientific nature of psychological enquiry.

·        Brain Dissection

·        Big bang

Paper 3:

The beginning part of this exam looks at the issues and debates surrounding psychology. These include; gender bias, cultural bias, free will, determinism, the nature-nurture debate, holism, reduction and ethical implications on research and theories. 

The options that students will study in A-level psychology are; gender, schizophrenia and forensic psychology. In the gender topic students will learn about the differences between sex and gender, the role of chromosomes and hormones and also apply the different approaches and theories to gender. In the schizophrenia topic students will study the classification of schizophrenia, the different approaches and the effectiveness of different therapies in treatment. For the forensic psychology topic will look at offender profiling, different explanations to offender behaviour and ways to deal with offender behaviour.

Examination Arrangements

Each paper is 2 hours long with 96 possible marks worth 33.3% of the A-level. It is comprised of multiple choice, short answer and extended writing.

Paper 1: Introductory topics in psychology

Paper 2: Psychology in context

Paper 3: Issues and options in psychology