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Psychology at King Edward VII

Course description

This is a two year course with an AS exam taken at the end of Year 12, which does not count towards the final grade.

Psychology is the study of human behaviour and experience.  This course will introduce you to the theories and methods of psychology.  It offers the opportunity to look at some of the explanations psychologists make to understand humans and their interactions with the world.  Form a personal perspective you should find the fundamental questions of the psychologist interesting:

          Why do I behave like this?

          Why do I feel like this?

          Why do I think like this?

These questions are explored through a series of activities including research studies and practical work.  You will study a variety of psychological studies that represent the range of psychologists’ interest and the methods they use.  A practical examination gives you the opportunity to apply some of these methods in your own research.  The course aims to develop both your psychological skills as well as your psychological knowledge.

Course content

Component 1: Research methods

This introduces the world of psychological research methods.  Students are required to conduct their own practical work which they reflect on in the exam.

You will develop a knowledge and understanding of the processes of planning, conducting, analysing and reporting psychological research across a range of experimental and non-experimental methods and techniques and also gain an awareness of associated strengths and weaknesses.  You will also be expected to carry out mathematical procedures and statistical analysis on your own data.

You will learn about the four main techniques for collecting/analysing data.  These are:

  • self report
  • experiment
  • observation
  • correlation


Component 2: Psychological themes through core studies

This introduces key themes and core studies in psychology. 

 Section A: Core studies

There are ten pairs of studies to be covered over the two-year course; one is a classic study in psychology, the other is a contemporary study. This helps to place research in its historical context. Each pair is located within a key theme. 

You will look at:

  • how the two studies are similar and how they are different
  • the strengths and weaknesses of the different research methods
  • the strengths and weaknesses of different types of data
  • how each core study relates to its key theme and to the area of psychology it is placed within.

The studies include:

  • an experiment which explores the mental world of autistic people
  • a staged collapse on a tube train to see what factors influence people's decisions to help
  • disobedience and whistle blowing
  • improving adherence of children with rewards
  • a comparison of regions of the brain linked with navigation skills in taxi drivers and non-taxi drivers
  • evaluation of lying and tuth telling

Section B: Areas, perspectives and debates

You will have to understand and evaluate some of the areas and debates within psychological research, recognising which studies demonstrate a particular area/perspective/debate.

Areas include:  Social, cognitive, developmental, biological, individual indifferences

Perspectivies: Behaviourist, psychodynamic

Debates include: Nature/nurture, freewill/determinism, usefulness of research, ethical considerations, psychology as a science

Section B questions will ask you to generate an extended discussion, recognising the inter-relationship between different areas, perspectives and debates in psychology.

Section C: Practical applications

You will apply your knowledge and understanding of psychology to a novel source. The source could be a newspaper or magazine article, a blog, a diary entry, email exchange or equivalent written source.

You will be asked to link it to a psychological issue and use evidence to make a suggestion relating to the source.


Component 3:  Applied psychology

 Section A:  Issues in mental health 

This is a compulsory section which provides an introduction to the topic of mental health. It includes:

  • The historical context of mental health. This covers issues such as how do we define and categorise mental health, what are typical characteristics of an anxiety/affective/psychotic disorder
  • The medical model. This focusses on biological and genetic explanations and treatments for disorders.
  • Alternatives to the medical model: behaviourist/cognitive explanations

Section B:  Two applied areas:  

Child Psychology:

  • intelligence and how it is measured
  • attachment
  • brain development and risk taking behaviour
  • cognitive development and education eg strategy to improve revision/learning
  • the impact of advertising on children

Criminal Psychology

  • what makes a criminal - predictors
  • forensics eg. crime scene processing and reconstruction
  • collection of evidence from witnesses
  • jury decision making
  • punishment and reform.

You will cover the background to each topic, a key piece of research and how it can be applied in the real world.

You will gain an understanding of the methodological issues and debates in psychology which run throughout the component eg. nature/nurture debate, ethical considerations, Psychology as a science, freewill/determinism

















Entry requirements

You will need a level 5 in English and Maths and a grade C in a Science at GCSE.

To ensure that the subjects you have chosen fit into our timetable please click the link below to download our subject blocking timetable.  Please note that this may be subject to change depending on course demand or staffing.

NOTE: The school reserves the right NOT to run courses where the number of students is not viable.





Component 1 Research Methods

Exam 2 hours                                                                             30%

Section A 20 multiple choice questions

Section B Research design and response relating to source material given.

Section C Data analysis and interpretation


Component 2 Psychological themes through core studies

Exam 2 hours                                                                             35%

Section A  Short answer questions on the core studies

Section B  Areas, perspectives and debates: a structured essay question

Section C  Practical applications: longer answer questions relating to a novel source 


Component 3 Applied Psychology

Exam 2 hours                                                                             35%

Section A Issues in mental health

Section B Criminal Psychology, Child Psychology

Both sections have questions requiring extended written responses.

Future opportunities

Psychology has particular relevance for students interested in careers working with people such as Nursing, Police Force, Human Resource Management, Teaching, Marketing, Medicine and Social Work. There are various career options in the field of professional Psychology such as: Health, Educational, Clinical, Forensic, Occupational Psychology and Counselling. All require a Psychology degree and further training.

How to apply

You can apply for this course through UCAS Progress. Add this course to your favourites so you can start making an application.

Last updated date: 04 November 2016

Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 104 Weeks