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Psychology A level **FEES PAYABLE** at Blackheath High School

Course description

Psychology is the study of how the mind works and of behaviour.  It asks questions about people and animals, how they think and behave, and how we can account for, predict and control that behaviour.  Psychologists are therefore concerned with collecting evidence to explore ideas about how mental and behavioural processes work.  Psychology is a science and uses systematic methods to gather and analyse information about behaviour.

The study of psychology looks at areas such as thinking, memory, conformity, mental illness and child development.  It will help you to think and argue in depth about the value of different kinds of evidence, and to understand current and previous theories and research work that has been done.  You will also carry out some basic research of your own using methods employed by psychologists.  You will begin to understand the way that the findings and theories of psychologists have been widely applied in our daily lives, such as in understanding and reducing the following: prejudiced behaviour; errors in eyewitness testimony; addictive behaviours such as doing the lottery!

Course content

AS module 1: Introducing Psychology

  • Section A: Biopsychology and other key approaches
  • Section B: Gender development
  • Section C: Research methods
  • In short, this unit examines the various ways psychologists have tried to explore and think about behaviour, and the methods they have used to study it.  There is also an in-depth look at how children come to know what it means to be 'male' and 'female'.

AS module 2: Individual differences, social psychology and cognitive psychology

  • Section A: Social psychology: Social Influence OR social cognition
  • Section B: Cognitive psychology: Remembering and forgetting OR perceptual processes
  • Section C: Individual difference: Anxiety disorders OR autism

You will examine 3 of the 6 sub-sections above.  Currently these are:

  • how people influence each other;
  • how we remember and what makes us forget;
  • phobias, and obsessive-compulsive disorders;
  • The experimental method is explored.

A2 module 3: Child development and Applied options

  • Section A: Child development: social development; OR moral development; OR cognitive development
  • Section B: Applied options (2 from): cognition and law, OR forensic psychology OR atypical 

A2 module 4: Approaches, debates and methods in psychology

  • Section A: Approaches: biological, behaviourist, social learning, cognitive, psychoanalytic and humanistic; comparison of approaches
  • Section B: Debates in psychology
  • Section C: Methods in psychology

Entry requirements

Would I be the right kind of person to study psychology?

Do you like to weigh up evidence, discuss various ideas to explain events, and analyse, question, discuss, ponder, and think?

Can you write coherently, to explain ideas and back up arguments?

Are you interested in science, history, and English literature?

Have you got a good memory?

Are you prepared to persist to grasp new and unfamiliar ideas?  Are you hard working and organised?

Is your maths GCSE at C or above?  English at B or above?

Do you like science AND arts or humanities subjects but none of them seems to quite 'fit'?

If the answer to most of these is a 'yes', or partial yes, you are almost certainly a psychologist in the making!  Some of these skills and interests will develop during the sixth form years, but some will already describe you now.


All units are assessed via examination.

Each of the AS and A2 units are worth 25% of the total A2 grade.

Exams at AS are 1 hr 30 minutes, and at A2 they are 2 hours.

Every exam has 3 questions.

Future opportunities

Psychology provides many openings to a range of work spheres, and psychology graduates find employment in the media and advertising, personnel work, the health and police services, social work and the caring professions, as well as in the direct use of psychology as Clinical, Educational, Health and Sports Practitioners, and Forensic Psychologists, Teachers and Researchers.

Further information

Students go to conferences, and to a museum

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Blackheath High School directly.

Last updated date: 01 September 2016

Key information

  • Start date: Next September