How long does it last? Two years for A level, one year for AS Level.
Course Codes: AQA 7181 & AQA 7182
Exam Board Specification: http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/psychology/as-and-a-level/psychology-7181-7182
Students who take this course:
Students will have a minimum of a Grade B in GCSE Biology or Grades BC in GCSE Core and Additional Science (a B grade is acceptable in either subject), a grade 5 in GCSE English and a grade 6 in GCSE mathematics. A genuine interest in studying the human mind and our behaviour is a must.
Students will learn about a wide range of different types of human behavior and the different ways in which psychologists have tried to explain them. We build on students’ understanding of how science works and we look in more depth at how research in psychology is carried out: gathering data different ways, overcoming problems, analysing and explaining what the data show.
Students will develop a number of valuable skills, such as the ability to think critically and create a well-reasoned argument. These can then be applied to many career options or further study choices—such as education, sports science, forensic psychology, occupational health, personnel, marketing and sales. Psychology is a popular subject to study at university.
For A Level, each of the components below is examined by a two-hour paper which carries one third of the total marks. This A Level uses multiple choice questions, structured questions and essay questions. The AS level consists of Component 1 and parts of Component 2.
Component 1: Introductory topics in psychology.
These topics include a study of how memory works, how psychologists use experiments to investigate it, and psychology can help to improve eyewitness evidence in court. We look at how, as babies, we form an attachment to our carers, and how this process affects our later development and what happens if we are deprived of close emotional relationships as children. We also study social influence; how we may be influenced to change our minds about something or how we are likely to obey someone in authority just because they are in authority, or seem to be! We look at psychopathology, examining abnormal disorders such as OCD or schizophrenia.
Component 2: Psychology in context.
We look at the different approaches to explaining behaviour that psychologists use, at their strengths and weaknesses. We then look more closely at biopsychology which focuses on what happens in the brain to cause certain behaviours. We also examine the research methods that psychologists use to create theories and hypotheses and analyse data in ways that are valid, reliable and ethical.
Component 3: Issues and options in psychology.
We examine selected topics such as relationships or gender, stress or eating behaviour, addiction or forensic psychology.