AS Level Psychology (Edexcel) A2 Psychology (AQA)

Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behaviour. The mind is something intangible that exists within our brain. An unseen process of enzymes, chemicals and electric current moving within the structure of our neural networks dictates why we feel, think and behave the way we do. But why is it that some people suffer from stress and mental illness? Why do some people fear snakes yet a few think they are cuddly? Psychology looks at questions like these in the study of the human mind and behaviour. It is a science with cutting edge research that has real world applications to issues in everyday life, ranging from things like artificial intelligence to social change.

Psychologists observe and measure behaviour and their therapies are based on scientific study. Psychology has links with many disciplines including biological, computer and forensic science as well as humanities such as sociology, philosophy, anthropology and even literature. It involves study of theory, empirical evidence and practical applications. This mix of disciplines helps to make psychology such a fascinating subject.

The New 2015 Specification places a lot more emphasis on Maths and Science. Pupils will be introduced to neuroscience, the medical model and a biological perspective. Pupils will also cover topics such as memory, attachment, social influence, psychopathology, research methods, schizophrenia, addiction, and aggression.

What Skills Will Students Develop When Studying Psychology?

Psychology enables students to become more aware of the variety and complexity of the human mind and students will also gain a better understanding of their own personality as well as the personalities of those around them. Through Psychology, students will develop new strategies for learning and will be able to approach revision and exams with a fresh, new perspective.

Structure of the Course

This course will be taught by two teachers for 5 lessons per week. Homework will be set on a weekly basis and investigations will be conducted as often as possible. Students will receive both class and revision notes and an Edexcel course textbook, but the reading of other textbooks as an accompaniment is highly recommended.  

AS (Edexcel)

Paper 1: Social and Cognitive Psychology

50% of the total AS marks
90 minute exam, 70 marks

Paper 2: Biological Psychology and learning theories

50% of the total AS marks
90 minute exam, 70 marks

A2 (AQA)

The Assessment Structure for the A2 Units is underlined below:

Unit 3 (PSYA3)

Topics in Psychology (25% of the total A Level marks)

Three essay-style questions:

●  Relationships (24 marks)

●  Eating Behaviour (24 marks)

●  Cognition and Development (24 marks)

Quality of written communication will be assessed in each essay.

Unit 4 (PSYA4)

Psychopathology (Schizophrenia), Psychology in Action (Addiction) and Research Methods (25% of the total A Level marks)

Possible jobs, careers and courses

Psychology is a very useful subject to take at A-Level for those wishing to pursue careers in psychology, medicine, neurosciences, nursing, media studies, human resource management, social work, and teaching. In addition Psychology careers include clinical work in hospitals, occupational selection in organisations or educational development in schools. Many psychology careers are very competitive and some psychology careers require further study to post graduate PhD level. However the skills learned by doing psychology are transferable skills which are highly valued in many occupations, and for entry to many degrees, even if you do not pursue a career in psychology.

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