Psychology is a great choice if you have a genuine interest in learning a scientific approach to understanding human behaviour.
Although Psychology is a fascinating subject, it demands a thorough, logical and rigorous understanding of methodology which can be used to evaluate human behaviour. Most of our students have not studied GCSE Psychology at school but many of our students go on to study Psychology at university. The content of the course is varied and tries to answer questions such as, ‘Why do some people obey more readily than others?’, ‘Are the brains of murderers different?’ and ‘What is schizophrenia and how can it be treated?’
Psychology works well with Sociology, Criminology, Biology, PE, Business and Economics, to name but a few. There are many options regarding careers – you could complete further study and become a clinical, educational or sports psychologist. Many psychology graduates become counsellors or are involved in social work in some way. In addition, Psychology is well respected by large organisations and businesses.
Paper 1: Foundations in psychology (35% of total qualification)
This paper consists of four topics: Social psychology, cognitive psychology, biological psychology and learning theories. Students will acquire knowledge about the foundations of modern psychology.
This is assessed by a 2 hour exam.
Paper 2: Applications of psychology (35% of total qualification)
This paper consists of clinical psychology (compulsory) and one optional topic (from criminological psychology, child psychology or health psychology). Students will acquire knowledge about how our understanding of psychology is applied today.
This is assessed by a 2 hour exam (90 marks).
Paper 3: Psychological skills (30% of total qualification)
This paper consists of methods, a synoptic review of studies and issues and debates. Students will review the psychological skills and research methods covered in the qualification.
This is assessed by a 2 hour exam.
How the course is delivered
Although the course is taught and you will get the opportunity to complete group work in the classroom, you will be expected to carry out independent research and learning.
It is worth noting here that very few of the students starting A level Psychology will have studied Psychology at GCSE level and therefore lessons will reflect this.
In recent years we have had visits from prison psychologists, health workers, ex-prisoners and principal examiners. We have also taken A level students on a visit to the Psychology Department at Hull University and organised a ‘Brain Day’ event in college.
The department offers lunchtime support sessions as well as lots of additional help in-between lessons by email. There is a successful peer mentoring scheme whereby second year A level students work on a one-to-one basis with a first year A level student.
The Psychology Department at Wyke Sixth Form College
The Psychology department has three dedicated teaching rooms which are close to our staff workroom. It is therefore easy to contact a Psychology teacher if you need extra support.
All students have access to electronic copies of booklets for each of the topics in A Level Psychology.
To facilitate your independent learning, the Psychology department makes good use of interactive online learning resources. All booklets, past paper materials and journal articles are available on Moodle.
What can I do now that would help prepare me for this course?
As you will have probably never studied Psychology at school before, we do recommend that you carry out some research online to find out more about the different approaches you will study. Try the BPS (British Psychological Society) website as a starting point; it provides useful information about possible career choices within psychology.
Hopefully, it will demonstrate that A Level Psychology is a very challenging and rigorous course which offers great insights into why people behave the way they do.
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