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A-Level Psychology

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Why study Psychology?

Psychology is a fascinating subject which asks fundamental questions about why we, as people, think and behave the way that we do. It gives students a solid grounding in assessing and evaluating evidence, conducting research, and using scientific methods – all skills that can be applied to any academic discipline. It can be applied to understanding everyday life, from the mundane day-to-day interactions that we engage in, to more extreme forms of human behaviour such as aggression and warfare.

What is covered by the course?

AS

  • Memory – how memory works, how it can be improved, and how easily it can be distorted
  • Social psychology – the ways in which the environment we are in influences our behaviour, with particular reference to obedience to authority and conformity
  • Developmental psychology – how early experiences with our caregivers can influence our future behaviour
  • Mental illness – the causes and treatments of some of the major mental disorders

A-Level

  • Aggression – looking at the biological and social causes of human aggression
  • Gender – studying why (in general) males and females behave differently, with reference to biological and social influences
  • Schizophrenia – an in-depth examination of one of the most severe and complicated mental illnesses
  • Biological psychology – how our biology influences our behaviour, from which areas of the brain control which behaviours, to what brain-damaged patients can tell us about the role of different biological structures
  • Research methods – looking in detail at how research is conducted, with opportunities to design and develop psychological studies

How is it examined?

Written examination

Related university courses and careers?

As the subject straddles Humanities and Science, it is a suitable A-Level for entry into a wide range of university courses such as Business, Economics, Medicine and other scientific disciplines. A degree in Psychology can lead to a career as a psychologist, for work within hospitals, schools and prisons, or to a broad range of other careers, whether in the ‘caring professions’, or careers in marketing, advertising, business or finance.

Suggested reading:

AQA Psychology for A Level Year 1 & AS: Cara Flanagan and Dave Berry

AQA Psychology for A Level Year 2: Cara Flanagan and Dave Berry