Exam Board: AQA

Course leader: Ms Sandal / Mrs Shabir

Course name: AS /A2 Psychology



General Information

Psychology is the science of human mind and behaviour. The idea of ‘the mind’ has only been in existence for just over 100 years, so our knowledge and understanding is still at an early stage but is growing all the time. Every day more research is being published to give us insight, understanding and a clearer vision of who we are, and why we do what we do. This makes it an exciting and dynamic subject that is highly relevant to all.

In addition to the specific subject knowledge that students gain, Psychology equips students with a wide range of transferable skills that are highly valued in many professions; skills such as analytical skills, critical thinking, the ability to convince and debate, as well as the ability to write good essays and use numerical data to support arguments.

During this course you will learn about a wide variety of human behaviours. For instance you will develop an understanding of how the memory works, why we forget and how we can improve the accuracy of Eye Witness Testimony for crimes and other incidents. You will understand the relevance of the bond between a child and its parents and how neglect can impact upon a child’s development. In other areas you’ll understand why humans conform, obey and disobey in order to help us to understand aspects of social history such as the holocaust and so we may achieve greater equality for minority groups in order to build a more inclusive society. You’ll learn about the causes and treatments of psychological illnesses such as stress, depression and schizophrenia alongside studying human relationships, aggression and the science that underpins all of psychological research. It really is a fascinating and varied course of study.

Course Outline


Assessment: The course is 100% examination based.


Year 1

For the award of an AS Level in Psychology, students must complete the following 2 exam papers successfully:

  • Paper 1: Introductory Topics in Psychology – Social Influence, Memory and Attachments.
  • Paper 2: Psychology in Context – Approaches in psychology, psychopathology, research methods

Assessment: Two 1 ½ hour written examinations. Each of the above papers is worth 50% of the AS Level qualification (they will no longer count towards the overall A Level qualification).


Year 2

In Year 13 the students do a further year of study and preparation for the full A level in the subject.

  • Paper 1: Introductory Topics in Psychology – Social Influence, Memory, Attachments and Psychopathology
  • Paper 2: Psychology in Context – Approaches in psychology, biopsychology and research methods
  • Paper 3: Issues and Options in Psychology – Issues and debates in psychology, relationships, schizophrenia and aggression.



Careers and Higher Education Opportunities

Some examples of the kinds of professions that value Psychology qualifications include:

Law, Education, Social Work, Police, Nursing, Medicine, Prison Service, Business and Marketing, Finance, Research and Government. Students can also go on to obtain further qualifications in Psychology in order to become Clinical, Educational, Occupational or Research Psychologists

Extra-curricular enrichment opportunities

Regular support sessions will be available after school during some school holidays to help students with homework, projects and exam preparation. Students are often invited to attend University Masterclasses to prepare them for University level study and to support A Level attainment.


Understanding the New A Levels

Based on the recent government changes, this course will teach AS level content alongside the full A Level requirement during Year 1. At the end of the year, all students will sit the AS level exam. All students securing appropriate grades at AS Level, who have the desire and aptitude to continue to study for the full A Level, will then complete the second year of the course.


Under the new curriculum changes, the AS Level qualification no longer counts towards the full A Level qualification and will be worth 40% of a full A Level in all subjects.


The full A Level qualification is an entirely separate qualification and the grade for this will be based solely on students’ performance in the three examinations at the end of the second year of the course. Each A Level Psychology exam paper will last 2 hours. Two of the papers contain content from the AS Level qualification however the topics will be examined at a higher level of comprehension and analysis than in the AS Level qualification.