A-Level Psychology

Did You Know?

There are over 86 billion neurons in the brain. 

Key Information


Two Year Course

Examination Board


"Psychology has taught me so much about human behaviour. Why don't we hear things when we're not paying attention? How can we find out what people's romantic preferences are? This subject gives you a deeper understanding of how psychologists investigate to test their aims and hypotheses. I especially enjoy doing experiments myself". - Elisha Caguiat, lower sixth student



100% exam, this comprises of 3 papers that last 2 hours each

This component develops knowledge and understanding of planning, conducting, analysing and reporting psychological research across a range of experimental and non-experimental methodologies and techniques. Students carry out their own small-scale practical activities. Students need to be familiar with the four main techniques for collecting/analysing data; Self-report, Experiments, Observations, Correlations.  The paper is a 2-hour exam comprised of 20 mulitiple choice questions, 35 marks on planning and design research in psychology, including a 15 mark essay.  The final section out of 35 marks involves calculating statistical tests and core maths skills.

PAPER 2 – Psychological themes through core studies (35%)
Introduces some of the central areas of investigation in psychology organised in ten key themes, each represented by a classic and a contemporary core study. The core studies reflect the contribution of psychology to an understanding of individual, social and cultural diversity.  The 2 hour exam is out of 105 marks and separated in section a, b and C.  Section A assess knowledge and understanding of the 20 core studies covered.  Section B focuses on the larger picture of psychology, assessing understanding but also evaluative skills on key areas, perspectives, issues and debates that underpin psychology.  The final section assesses your practical application skills, applying what you have learnt to a novel source

PAPER 3 – Applied Psychology (35%)
Students consider a number of methodological issues and how they relate to a range of topics, this paper is split into 2 sections and last 2 hours.  Section A is compulsory and assesses students understanding of mental health issues within psychology through both short questions and longer 10 mark essays.  Section B provides a choice, students must answer 2 topics from a choice of 4.  The college covers Crime and Child psychology, this comprises of 3 set questions all requiring longer developed answers from each of the topics.

You can take a look at the exam spec here.

What do I need to study this course?

Grade 5 in GCSE English Language and Maths and grade 44 in GCSE Combined Science.

What will I study?

Research Methods: this component is intended to develop your knowledge and understanding of the process of planning, conducting, analysing and reporting psychological research across a range of experimental and non-experimental techniques. Psychological Themes Through Core Studies: the focus is on some of the central areas of investigation in psychology. There are 20 studies to be covered. Applied Psychology; this covers issues in mental health, child psychology, and criminal psychology. Methodological Issues and Debates: this will run throughout the course and includes nature/nurture, freewill/ determinism, reductionism/ holism, individual/ situational and psychology as a science.

What next?

Psychology can lead to many careers including clinical psychology, counselling, educational psychology, forensic psychology, and occupational psychology.

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