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. In lessons, you may be exploring various areas to do with cognitive, behaviour, developmental and even biological psychology by focusing on issues such as memory, child and adult developmental stages, abnormalities in behaviour, physiological responses and psychological research methods. As you progress you will learn more about critical issues related to the mind, behaviour and thinking style by exploring the physiological and psychological explanations on specific issues such as forensic psychology, substance abuse, psychological disorders and many more.
Psychology will offer you a unique academic experience. You will learn scientific information such as the aims, procedures and findings of studies but you will also need to be able to evaluate these theories critically and provide relevant evidence. Some answers require you to be concise but there are also longer essay based answers, thus again providing diverse experiences and useful transferable skills, which can be developed through studying fascinating topics.
Lessons will offer different learning opportunities with teachers who are enthusiastic about the subject, with written work conducted alongside discussion and pair work, presentations, videos and practical (experiments).
Most importantly, Psychology will give you an opportunity to learn, understand and evaluate issues happening around you in your everyday life, which could then be applied to the wider world. Thus, It is not just a factual subject but enables reflection on one’s own experience.
Starting in September 2015 the modular element is being removed from A Levels and they will become linear. This means that AS level qualifications will no longer contribute to the final A2 grade. However, to accommodate for the fact that Psychology is a new subject for our students we believe that it is important for them to sit the AS qualification at the end of Year 12. This would mean that if students decide not to continue with the subject into Year 13 they could discontinue their study of the subject at this point and still receive a recognised qualification. Those who continue with Psychology into Year 13 would already have concrete evidence of their attainment which will assist them in preparing for their A-level examinations as well as in their UCAS application.
The A-level builds upon AS content. This means that AS content is assessed in increased depth at the end of year 13 as well as new areas being introduced.
The new assessment format is as follows:
|Paper 1:||Paper 2:|
|Introductory Topics in Psychology||Psychology in Context|
|50% of AS||50% of AS|
|1 hour 30minutes examination||1 hour 30 minutes examination|
|72 marks||72 marks|
|Assessment style:A mixture of short answer questions, multiple choice questions and extended writing.||Assessment style:A mixture of short answer questions, multiple choice questions and extended writing.|
|Available June only||Available June only|
|Paper 1:||Paper 2:||Paper 3:|
|Introductory Topics in Psychology||Psychology in Context||Issues and Options in Psychology|
|33.3% of A Level||33.3% of A Level||33.3% of A Level|
|2 hour examination||2 hour examination||2 hour examination|
|96 marks||96 marks||96 marks|
||Content Issues and Debates in Psychology
One from: Relationships; Gender; Cognition and Development
One from: Schizophrenia, Eating Behaviour; Stress
One from: Aggression; Forensic Psychology; Addiction
|Assessment style:A mixture of short answer questions, multiple choice questions and extended writing.|
|Available June only||Available June only||Available June only|
The Psychology department are keen to embrace the use of digital media to enhance the experience of our students. The use of iPads within school has opened the door for us to use a range of creative tools which make learning enjoyable and interactive. With a huge range of Apps available the possibilities are endless but, in terms of edited high lights, the following gives a flavour of what we have attempted to do to utilise the technology we have out our disposal;
- ‘Poll everywhere’– an app which allows students to respond online to a question. In real time, it compiles the answers submitted and presents them graphically so when they are projected onto the board it gives instant feedback. This has been great for checking knowledge, but has also been invaluable for allowing students to direct their own learning, surveying them on the next topic to be revised or feeding back their confidence on a given area.
- ‘Aurasma’- An augmented reality app which allows students to scan a trigger image to instantly reveal hidden content. This allows students to access information or scenario based media at the scan of a picture. Students seem to feel more engaged when they find that this content has been hidden in plain-sight all along. It also gives the department the opportunity to set trails around the building making our students more active and keeping them on their toes.
- ‘Edmodo’- A virtual learning environment in the style of social media. This has been a fantastic resource for students to be reminded of homework, prompted towards further reading or even for them to share information about programmes which they have spotted which are relevant to the psychology course.
In addition to these wonderful resources students are encouraged to make, more traditional use, of the technology at their disposal. The AQA website is a mine of useful information including the specification, Past/specimen papers and mark schemes. There are also a range of useful revision sites which our students also frequently use, these include www.s-cool.co.uk and www.simplypsychology.org .
Why take this subject?
Not only is Psychology a fascinating subject in its own right it is extremely complementary to other A-level choices both in terms of its content and the skill set it nurtures. Popular and useful, combinations at A-level include combining Psychology with Biology, Sports Studies, Business Studies, English Language and Health and Social Care. Psychology is an A-level that can be the first steps to a wide variety of destinations within the discipline including; Clinical Psychology, Organisational Psychology, Counselling Psychology and Health Psychology. More widely, Psychology is a subject which can equip students with valuable skills and knowledge for careers in business, education, law and many others.