A Level Psychology
Why study this subject?
Psychology is the scientific study of mind and behaviour, applied to both humans and animals.
As Psychology considers the many varied factors that affect mind and behaviour it is a biological science, a cognitive science and a social science. Psychologists research brain structure and function, mental processes, such as memory, thinking and reasoning, and also social factors such as how other people influence us. This means that it is the ideal bridging subject between arts and sciences.
The scientific and statistical elements of the subject mean it complements the study of Mathematics and the natural sciences, whereas the requirement to write essays and adopt an analytical and evaluative approach appeals to humanities students. Psychology therefore develops a range of skills suitable for further academic study in almost any subject and is highly regarded by universities.
It is particularly useful for health related degree courses and any professions which involve working closely with people – a number of medical schools actively encourage students to choose Psychology as their third A Level.
Topics you will cover
Students develop a broad knowledge and understanding of five core areas of Psychology over the two years, as well as focusing on scientific research methods. The areas are:
- Cognitive – focusing on internal mental processes which underpin behaviour
- Developmental – focusing on how children’s behaviour grows and develops over time
- Biological – focusing on the way our physiology influences our behaviour
- Social – focusing on how we are influenced by those around us
- Individual Differences – focusing on mental disorder and concepts of abnormality
Furthermore, aspects of Applied Psychology are covered in the second year, with consideration of mental health amongst other specialist topics, such as Sport and Exercise Psychology and Criminal Psychology.
The A Level Psychology course is linear, with final assessment at the end of two years.
Grade 5 in one GCSE Science plus grade 5 in GCSE Mathematics plus Grade 5 in one English course. You will have to be competent at both essay writing and statistics.
10% of the course includes a mathematical component.