Head of Department : Miss I Kurokawa
Psychology is the scientific study of human mind and behaviour and it is offered as an A Level at Christ's School. Students follow the AQA syllabus which is designed to cover a broad range of psychological perspectives and real world psychological issues, such as child development, aggression and schizophrenia. The AQA exam board is very well resourced, equipping students with everything they need to succeed at A level. Psychology at Christ’s school is becoming increasingly popular due to a building record of excellent results and rumours spreading of students enjoying the course content and delivery of that content.
When asked ‘why study Psychology at Christ’s?’ one Year 13 student answered that ‘Psychology is a well-rounded and relevant subject to study which can help you understand what drives, inspires and motivates people.’
This student has gone onto study Psychology at university.
It needs to be recognised and considered that Psychology is a very academically challenging subject, demanding a high level of literacy, numeracy and analytical skill. We therefore recommend that students achieve at least the following grades at GCSE when selecting it as an A level option:
English Language 6; Maths 6; Science 6
In Year 1, students develop a solid understanding of a range of psychological theories. In order to achieve this aim, students will question a range of hypotheses: the role of early relationships as an infant on later adult functioning; what causes psychological abnormalities and how they can be treated; whether theories of conformity and obedience can explain war; and how eye witness testimony can be affected by cognitive bias in a court of law.
Year 2 is designed to build on the knowledge gained in Year 1 and looks in greater depth at real world psychological issues, such as child development, aggression and schizophrenia. At this level, students will gain an understanding of how psychologists work in applied settings. Science is very much at the heart of the course and thus requires students to critically consider the methods used by psychologists to study human beings. For this part of the course, students will become an active psychologist with the opportunity to design and test hypotheses.
Students who study Psychology tend to enjoy thinking critically, do not accept what they read and are interested in human behaviour. Psychology students will be expected, in the classroom, to engage in debates and discussions and take an active stance in their learning. Furthermore, since the majority of the course involves essay writing, students will need to be strong in this area.
- Approaches in Psychology
- Social influence
- Research methods
- Approaches (continued)
- Issues and debates
- Cognition and Development
This is a linear course with three, 2 hour exams at the end of Year 2. Examination will comprise of:
Paper 1: Introductory topics in Psychology
Paper 2: Psychology in context
Paper 3: Issues and Options in Psychology
Students will also be entered into the AS examinations at the end of Year 1 to assess their progress on the course. This will comprise of two, 1 hour and 30 minute exams.
Homework in Psychology often consists of at least one exam question or extended writing task and one independent study task per week which can take various forms. In the past, students have been asked to carry out group or independent research tasks in a process known as ‘flip learning’; this is when students come to the lesson readily prepared with information to share for the purpose of discussion and debate. This has proven to be effective in widening their subject knowledge. However, students are expected to keep up with notes regardless of whether or not it has been explicitly set as homework, as it forms an important basis for their exam revision later on. At least one exam question students complete will be assessed by the class teacher per fortnight and other homework will be assessed in class, enabling students to become familiar with exam techniques and the grade descriptors that they are judged against.
Enrichment and extra-curricular
Year 1 Flying Start Workshop (tutor2u)
Year 2 Strong Foundations Workshop (tutor2u)
Year 2 Grade Booster Workshop (tutor2u)
Psychologists work in areas such as business, clinical and counselling, health, education, sports, academic circles and forensics. In order to achieve many of these one would have to undertake a Psychology degree and specialise thereafter.
AQA A-level Psychology
Course Code: 7182
Textbooks and revision resources
Year 1 course textbook:
Green haired girl psychology (illuminate). Link to order:
Year 1 exam companion book:
Year 2 course textbook:
Pink haired girl psychology (illuminate). Link to order:
Year 2 exam companion book: