Psychology: A-Level

Adobe Spark (19)

What is Psychology?

Psychology is the study of human behaviour, the brain and the mind. It looks at how individuals think, what they do and why they do it. Studying Psychology will help you to decode the complexities of human behaviour and try to make sense of it. Most importantly, you will have an opportunity to learn, understand and evaluate behaviours we see in everyday life, which can then be applied to your own experiences.

What do Psychology students study at Magna Academy?

AQA Psychology will offer you a unique academic experience. Initially, you will study the various approaches to studying Psychology in order to gain an insight into the many schools of thought and practice and how they differ in their explanations of human behaviour.
Within this unit, students will have an opportunity to engage with a range of fascinating research from the beginnings of Psychology to today.
Students will then progress to learning about the practical elements of Psychology, how Psychologists conduct experiments, observations, self-reports and correlations. You will learn scientific information such as the aims, procedures and findings of studies and will also need to be able to evaluate these theories critically. There are opportunities to design and conduct your own investigations throughout the course.
Once you have gained an understanding of how we study Psychology, you will learn about three key topics areas within Psychology including Memory, Social Influence and Attachment. Students will aim to answer questions such as – Are eye-witnesses to crimes reliable? Do some people conform to roles they are given in spite of their brutality? What are the psychological effects of institutionalising infants?
They will also study the topic of Psychopathology in order to answer interesting questions about recent developments in the study of and treatment of abnormal behaviour such as OCD, depression and phobias.
In their second year, students will also gain an appreciation of the wider perspectives, theories and debates surrounding Psychology, such as the nature versus nurture debate. They will study three optional units chosen to specifically meet their interests, for example Forensic Psychology, Schizophrenia, and Relationships. Students will have an opportunity to explore social, moral, cultural and spiritual issues, developed through the study of fascinating topics, demonstrating their understanding through extended writing. Enrichment opportunities will include attending conferences, conducting practical investigations and watching Psychology-related movies.

How will students learn Psychology?

Lessons will offer different learning opportunities along the way, with written work conducted alongside discussion and pair work, presentations, videos and practical investigations. Although class discussions are an essential part of the course,
students will be expected to complete high-level written tasks every week and do a substantial amount of supplementary reading. This independent study is the essence of the distinction between GCSE level skills and those required at A Level.

How will students be assessed?

Students will undertake three examinations at the end of the two-year course, lasting 2 hours. All exams will be a mixture of shorter questions and longer essay-style answers.

What are the entry requirements?

It is advisable to have a good grounding in both Maths and English as students will need to utilise these skills when studying Psychology. Data handling and statistics, including descriptive and inferential statistical analysis, are undertaken, as well as an ability to write sophisticated essay answers. Furthermore, Psychology requires students to be both scientifically minded and well-practiced in using scientific vocabulary. It is therefore necessary to have gained a grade B or higher in Maths, English and Science (B in Biology or BB in double Science).

Where might it lead me?

The Psychology A Level will open the door for further study at degree level, a range of vocational courses and employment in many different areas. The opportunities in the job market are varied and wide-ranging. You could choose to specialise in educational psychology, forensic psychology, or counselling. Further study can lead to work in teaching and the skills developed on the course can be transferred to gain employment in healthcare, law and the media.