Psychology is about people; it is the scientific study of mind and behaviour. It is fascinating to discover explanations for the way that we behave. It is a science and therefore well designed research studies are important to support the theories that psychologists put forward. The specification has been designed to provide a broad introduction to the scope and nature of psychology as a science.
Psychology will be a new subject to most students. The department aims to gradually introduce the skills required for understanding and success. The emphasis is on applying knowledge to everyday life rather than just acquiring factual detail. Students develop a number of transferable skills such as critical analysis and evaluation. A variety of teaching and learning techniques are employed to maximise the potential of each student.
The examination board is AQA specification A. Visit the website at www.aqa.org.uk for further information and past papers.
This specification provides students with a very good basis for degree course in psychology. The subject and the skills that are developed provide an excellent basis for careers involving other people such as medicine and teaching.
The aim of the department is to support each student to achieve to their full potential and to enjoy studying a subject that is new and relevant to everyday life.
In 2010; as a result of our performance in the AS examinations, the department was awarded a certificate for the best results at AS for an English Girls’ Grammar School by the Good Schools Guide.
Key Stage 5:
A level Psychology:
A level psychology comprises four modules each contributing 25% of the marks for a full A level.
AS PSYCHOLOGY: (50% of the full A level)
The specification introduces psychology by offering a broad range of topics. There are two modules:
- Cognitive Psychology: (Human Memory)
- Developmental Psychology: (Attachment)
- Research methods
- Biological Psychology: (Stress)
- Social Psychology: (Conformity and Obedience)
- Individual Differences: (Abnormality)
The modules papers are examined in the summer examinations and contain a variety of question styles. There is usually one short essay question in each module along with short answer questions. Research methods are integrated into the subject material of the first module but may also be examined in paper 2. Many of the questions involve application of knowledge. All questions must be answered; there will be no choice. Each module examination is 1hour 30 minutes in length.
A2 PSYCHOLOGY: (50% of the full A level)
The specification extends the knowledge gained at AS to consider a number of other topics. Lessons follow a similar format to AS but essay skills are developed so that students can construct a coherent and well-reasoned argument in response to a question.
There are two modules:
This module involves further development of essay-writing skills to include detail of issues, debates and approaches within psychology.
- Social Psychology: (Relationships)
- Biological Psychology: (Biological Rhythms and Sleep)
- Developmental Psychology: (Cognitive Development)
This module has a more applied focus; particularly in Media Psychology, where questions will be shorter and involve application of knowledge and research skills to novel situations. Students will be prepared for the Research Methods section by carrying out small-scale studies; treating and analysing data, drawing conclusions and finally reporting in the form of a scientific paper.
- Psychopathology: (Depression)
- Psychology in Action: (Media Psychology)
- Research Methods.
Both module papers are examined in the summer to ensure that essay skills are fully developed. In PSYA3 the focus is on essay skills; students will answer three questions, one for each topic, there is no choice as only three topics are studied. The time allowed for the paper is 1 hour and 30 minutes. In PSYA4 there is a greater focus on research methods and application in a 2 hour paper.
Lessons for both AS and A2 involve identification of the core topic detail and exploration of further detail using a variety of techniques. Students are encouraged to develop their understanding by applying their knowledge to novel situations. When it is possible visual media and practical tasks are used to facilitate discussion.
At both AS and A2 students will be supported; if they find that they are struggling staff will guide them and for those who want develop their knowledge further the opportunities will be provided.