Exam board: AQA specification a


General qualifications for your chosen pathway (see What to study/LaSWAP pathways)

* 6 or above in a science

* 6 or above in maths or 5 in maths plus maths studies on study programme

* 6 or above in English language


To help you decide whether psychology is for you, consider the following questions.

1. Are you interested in scientific understanding of human behaviour?

2. Are you comfortable working with data (analysis and interpretation)?

3. Are you confident engaging with a range of theoretical approaches and considering the strengths and weaknesses of each?

As a result you might feel that the course is not for you or it definitely is for you. Alternatively, the questions might stimulate you to do further research or test out trying something new.



Cognitive Psychology includes:

* Models of memory: multi-store and working memory model

* Types of long term memory

* Explanations for forgetting

* Factors affecting the accuracy of eye-witness testimony

Developmental Psychology includes:

* Caregiver-infant interactions in humans

* Animal studies of attachment

* Explanations of attachment

* Ainsworth’s strange situation study and types of attachment

* Bowlby’s theory of maternal deprivation

Social Psychology includes:

* Types of conformity

* Conformity to social roles

* Explanations for obedience

* Explanations for resisting social influence

* Minority influence

* The role of social influence processes in social change

Approaches in Psychology:

* The origins of psychology and psychology as a science

* The behaviourist approach

* The cognitive approach

* The biological approach


* The divisions of the nervous system

* The structure and function of neurons

* The function of the endocrine system

* The fight or flight response


* Definitions of abnormality

* The characteristics of phobias, depression and OCD

* The behaviourist approach to explaining and treating phobias

* The cognitive approach to explaining and treating depression

* The biological approach to explaining and treating OCD

Research Methods:

* Experimental methods

* Observational techniques

* Self-report techniques: questionnaires and interviews

* Correlations

* Scientific process – sampling, variable control, ethical issues

* Quantitative and qualitative data

* Primary and secondary data including meta-analysis

* Descriptive statistics

* Graphs

* Distributions

* Statistical testing – the sign test



Research methods

Options from:

* Biopsychology

* Issues and debates in psychology

* Gender

* Schizophrenia

* Forensic psychology

* Aggression

* Relationships

* Stress



* Critical reading, analysing and selecting of key information from long Psychological texts

* Designing and carrying out research

* Drawing appropriate graphs and tables based on research data

* Using maths concepts and formulae

* Analysing and interpreting data from research to draw conclusions

* Logical structuring and coherent wording in extended writing

* Drafting and redrafting extended writing based on feedback

* Reading around the subject eg newspapers, reading list (provided)

* Application of psychological theory and research to real life events

These are just some of the skills you will learn during the course.


Some blurb about the exams. Specify the length and weighting of it in relation to the overall A level qualification

Units Type of Assessment Duration Weighting

Paper1: memory, attachment and


Written exam 2 hours 33.3%

Paper 2: approaches in psychology,

biopsychology, research methods

Written exam 2 hours 33.3%

Paper 3: issues and debates in

psychology, 3 option choices

 Written exam 2 hours 33.3%

All written exams include multiple choice, short answer and extended writing.

Students are assessed on the following objectives:

AO1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas, processes, techniques and procedures

AO2 Apply knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas, processes, techniques and procedures

AO3 Analyse, interpret and evaluate scientific information, ideas and evidence

A level: AO1 30-33%, AO2 30-33 % AO3 36-38%



Psychology is a useful A level for any higher education course. It bridges many science courses and art and humanities courses by developing skills and knowledge useful in both: essay writing, analytical thinking and carrying out research. It provides a route into health related careers, mental health such as counselling, education related careers, sports, psychology, criminal psychology in the law and justice system, also in media and advertising.Some text about how this course can lead to bigger and n take the student.