Psychology

Psychology will change the way you think about yourself and others. Psychology is the study of human experience and behaviour. It is primarily a scientific discipline incorporating evidence from research into humans and animals. However, it encompasses a wide range of perspectives and Psychology’s great value is in developing skills of analysis and evaluation by considering a range of different explanations for any aspect of study. The role of the brain and genetics as well as learning, social influences, emotions and motivations are all considered by various approaches to the subject. https://padlet.com/MrSGarton/u1vkg94ayey9

A Level

Studying Psychology will change the way you think about yourself and other people; it is the study of the human mind and behavior. At The Downs School we follow the AQA specification, the most popular Psychology course in the country. This thought-provoking and wide-ranging course builds on previous qualifications, retaining the most valuable and exciting features of these, and offers an engaging and thought-provoking introduction to Psychology.

This course is designed to:

  • Enable students to develop a broad knowledge and understanding of the core areas of psychology: (social, cognitive, developmental, biological and individual differences) through a range of popular and accessible topics.
  • Develop skills which are highly valued by Higher Education and employers including critical analysis, independent thinking and research.
  • Challenge students to view the world around them, and themselves, from different perspectives.
  • Enable students to bring together explanations from different psychological approaches.
  • Engage students in issues and debates in psychology.

Entry requirements

Grade B in English GCSE (Language or Literature, ideally both). Grade C in Maths GCSE and in Biology GCSE or CC in Science GCSE, although preferably students will have GRADE B in these. 

Course specification:


www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/psychology/as-and-a-level/psychology-7181-7182

Course Content - AS Level Psychology


Topics:

  1. Social influence – conformity, obedience and independent behaviour.
  2. Memory - characteristics of short-term and long-term memory, models of memory, factors affecting the accuracy of eye-witness testimony, strategies for improving memory.
  3. Attachment - development of attachment relationships between a child and their caregiver, effects of deprivation and privation on development, effects of day-care on development.
  4. Approaches in Psychology – biological, behaviourist, social learning and cognitive approaches.
  5. Psychopathology - definitions of abnormality, approaches to explaining abnormality and possible therapies.
  6. Research methods - knowledge, understanding and skills of research design, data analysis, and data interpretation and reporting.

These topics are assessed by two written papers, each of 1 hour 30 minutes:

  • Paper 1: Introductory Topics in Psychology (topics 1-3 above)
  • Paper 2: Psychology in Context (topics 4-6 above)

A-level Psychology

Compulsory topics:

  1. Social influence – conformity, obedience and independent behaviour.
  2. Memory - characteristics of short-term and long-term memory, models of memory, factors affecting the accuracy of eye-witness testimony, strategies for improving memory.
  3. Attachment - development of attachment relationships between a child and their caregiver, effects of deprivation and privation on development, effects of day-care on development.
  4. Approaches in Psychology – biological, social, cognitive, evolutionary, psychodynamic and behaviourist approaches.
  5. Psychopathology - definitions of abnormality, approaches to explaining abnormality and possible therapies.
  6. Biopsychology – brain function and the role of the nervous and hormonal systems in controlling behavior, ways of studying the brain.
  7. Research methods - knowledge, understanding and skills of research design, data analysis, and data interpretation and reporting.
  8. Issues and debates in Psychology – understanding the key questions which frame psychological thought such as the nature vs nurture debate and gender bias.

Optional topics

A choice of three topics from the following: Relationships, Gender, Cognition and development, Schizophrenia, Eating behaviour, Stress, Aggression, Forensic psychology, Addiction.

Assessment is by three written papers, each of 2 hours:
Paper 1: Introductory Topics in Psychology (topics 1-4 above)
Paper 2: Psychology in Context (topics 5-7 above)
Paper 3: Issues and Options in Psychology (topic 8 and three option topics from above)

Career Direction

Psychology may influence students’ future choices directly or indirectly. Of course, if students wish to become a psychologist, therapist or mental health worker, this A-level is of direct value. However, students who want a career in any of the caring services, or in marketing or business, will find an understanding of psychology invaluable and it is a subject increasingly valued by a wide range of employers. Psychology is also very highly regarded by higher education institutions and combines well with the many, many other A-level subjects including, sciences and the humanities. Many of our students have enjoyed their A-level course so much they have gone on to study it at undergraduate level.

Student comments

“I enjoy Psychology as it is fun and new, and the teachers are good at making it exciting.”
“There is a lot to remember but it is extremely interesting and rewarding as a subject.”
“Something I really enjoy and have a great interest in.”
“Psychology is quite difficult because there is a lot to learn but it is very enjoyable.”
“A really interesting subject that is easy to engage and get involved with.”

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