Psychology

Psychology is a fascinating science concerned with the study of the mind and behaviour. It has links with biological, computer and forensic sciences, as well as with the humanities such as sociology, philosophy and literature. The common factor linking people who study psychology is curiosity and the search for knowledge.

Awarding Body: AQA
Option Block: C and D

There are a number of reasons why students want to study psychology:

  • Psychology is exciting
  • Psychology is challenging
  • Psychology is useful

At Tring A Level Psychology is taught following the AQA specification.

The A Level course covers a range of approaches to Psychology, evaluating key research, debating big issues and exploring the methods used by psychologists.

There is no coursework in the Psychology course but students will carry out a series of individual and group practical investigations.  Students will be required to write their own hypothesis, aims, collect and interpret their data. These investigations will ensure you have a full understanding of how psychologists conduct their research and the issues they face.

Course content

The A level course covers the following topics:

Year 12Year 13
MemoryResearch methods continued
Social InfluenceIssues and debates in psychology
AttachmentRelationships
PsychopathologySchizophrenia
Approaches to psychologyAddiction
Biopsychology
Research methods

Entry requirements

  • B in Maths and B in English Language.
  • For Year 13 students need to achieve a grade D or above in their internal summer exam in Year 12.

Assessment

The whole course will be assessed in THREE external exams taken at the end of year 13:

Paper 1: Introductory Topics in Psychology (taught Yr 12)

  • 33.3% of A-level in a 2 hour exam at end of yr 13
  • 4 sections (each with multiple choice, short answer and extended essay answers):
    Memory (24 marks), Social Influence (24), Attachment (24) and Psychopathology (24)

Paper 2: Psychology in context (taught Yr 12 and 13)

  • 33.3% of A-level in a 2 hour exam at end of yr 13
  • 3 sections (each with multiple choice, short answer and extended essay answers):
    Approaches in psychology (24 marks), Biopsychology (24) and Research methods (48)

Paper 3: Issues and options in Psychology (taught Yr 13)

  • 33.3% of A-level in a 2 hour exam at end of yr 13
  • 4 sections (each with multiple choice, short answer and extended essay answers):
    Issues and debates in psychology 24 marks), Relationship (24), Schizophrenia (24) and Addiction (24)

QWC will be accessed in all of the above exams. 10% of questions will test mathematical abilities in all of the above exams.

  • Internal year 12 exam – You will also have an internal A level exam in Psychology at the end of Year 12 in the Summer term. This is marked and moderated by the teaching staff. It will be an entire Paper 1 exam (2 hours) and Research Methods from Paper 2 ONLY (approx. 1 hour). You must gain at least a D grade in order to continue.

Future opportunities

Psychology has a broad range of real world applications in everyday life, ranging from stress,  mental illness, artificial intelligence, social interaction, sports and performance and forensics and criminology to name but a few.

Psychology offers good career prospects. There are a huge number of careers in psychology and these include: educational psychologist, forensic psychologist, sports psychologist, clinical psychologist and that’s just the tip of a very large iceberg! But the skills you learn will also readily transfer to many other careers. These skills include oral and written communication, computer literacy, numeracy, problem-solving and the ability to carry out independent research. Therefore the jobs they get are many and varied. They range from medicine, health and social welfare occupations, such as Care Assistant and Assistant Psychologist, to commercial, professional and managerial jobs, such as Chartered Accountant and Marketing Manager . Graduates have also entered teaching, the media and business sectors.

Psychology is a subject that opens many doors to a career and closes none !

Further information

The Psychology department has produced excellent results since our first cohort of students in 2010/11, achieving outstanding results in 2016 of A*-A = 41% and A*- B = 73%.

We run an annual enrichment conference to the Institute of Education to inspire and fascinate new students in year 12.

Finally, should you require further information about psychology please see the AQA website and the British Psychology Society website.