Head of Faculty - Mr Jack Chapman
Psychology is a science and is the study of brain and behaviour. We all have ideas about people and about ourselves, and psychology relates to those ideas but draws on scientific methods to build a body of knowledge about such issues. Psychology can be theoretical, looking at how the brain works and what drives our behaviour, including issues such as early childhood experiences and what happens to us as we develop.
Psychology can be practical, such as in therapy and treatments as well as in the workplace, such as when
devising advertisements or advising the police. You might think of psychology as listening to people on a couch and to an extent you would be right. There is much more to it than that, however.
Psychology is a social science and aims to develop student articulation and eloquence via classroom discussion in addition to their analytical, research and evaluative skills that are crucial for the essay responses students will be completing.
Course content outline (A Level Psychology)
Year One - Foundations of Psychology
In Year One you will learn about four Topic Areas in psychology. These are social psychology, cognitive psychology, biological psychology and learning theories. In each of these four Topic Areas you will study a key question for society and the psychology that helps to explain it. You will also cover some content in that Topic Area, some studies that connect to the content including one classic study, and some methodology looking at how psychology works. You will also carry out a practical investigation in each Topic Area, where you will use some of the method you cover and where you can find out for yourself how psychology can help to understand people. You will also learn how to use statistical tests.
Each Topic Area uses the same structure:
- Key question
- Practical investigation
Year Two Psychology - Applications of Psychology and Psychological Skills in Psychology
Year Two has two parts.
In the first part, you will study two more Topic Areas, both of which are applications of psychology. You will study clinical psychology, which looks at mental health and mental disorders. Then you will study one application of psychological knowledge by completing a unit on criminological psychology.
Each application uses the same structure as in Year One:
o Key question
o Practical investigation
When studying your two applications you will draw on the foundations of psychology you covered in Year One/AS. For example, in clinical psychology you will look at biological explanations for schizophrenia, and you can include learning theories to see possible treatments for offender behaviour in criminological
'Psychological Skills' and is a revision section, where you can pull all your learning together before doing the A level examinations. Psychological skills cover all the method material you have covered over the two years and review the classic studies you will have covered. There are also issues and debates that will be
introduced in each Topic Area and will be drawn together in the second section of your Year Two studies.
The structure for the Psychological Skills section is:
- Review of studies
- Issues and debates
A Level Psychology is assessed by three written examinations in the summer of Year 13. Internal assessments both at the end of topics, and at set examination sessions throughout the course allow students to highlight areas requiring further revision.
All exam papers contain some short-answer questions and some extended writing and these are used regularly throughout the course to prepare students for examination:
- Weekly using past exam paper questions relevant to the curriculum content being covered.
- Half-termly via a mini-trial exam assessment.
- Trial exams using full exam papers in January and April.
The study of psychology can impact on every area of your life. It gives students an understanding of relationships and behaviour and ideally leads to careers which involve social interaction including teaching, police force and social work, or indeed further study to become counsellors or psychologists.