Accessibility links

PSYCHOLOGY AS/A LEVEL at Beacon Academy (Beacon Community College)

Course description

Psychology is the scientific study of mind and behaviour. Psychologists focus on understanding and explaining all kinds of human behaviour. It is an incredibly wide and diverse subject, which has applications in just about every activity where humans participate. Psychology is an extremely popular subject both at Beacon and across the whole country.  It sits well alongside most other AS level subjects, whether Arts or Sciences

Course content

A level Psychology is assessed as a linear qualification-students will sit 3 exams at the end of their 2 year course.

AS Psychology will be taught for 1 year alongside the A level, comprising sections 1-7 below. All students will sit the 2 AS exams after the first year,but the results will not contribute towards the A level grade.


Subject Content & Assessment


Paper 1 Introductory Topics in Psychology

Written Exam 33.3% of A level


1. Social influence – Why do people conform and obey?

What are the implications of research for social change?


2. Memory – how are memories stored? What are some strategies to help us remember information? What influences the memories of people who witness a crime?


3. Attachment – how do babies form attachments? How might early separation affect us later in our lives? Effects of institutionalization.


4. Psychopathology– what is abnormal? How can Psychology explain Abnormality?

Therapies to treat abnormality including drugs, psychoanalysis and CBT




Paper 2 Psychology In Context

Written Exam 33.3% of A level



5. Approaches in Psychology

Origins of Psychology. Psychology as a science. Approaches including behaviourist, cognitive, biological, humanistic and psychodynamic



6. Biopsychology

Structure and function of nervous system and endocrine system. Ways of studying the brain and how brain influences behaviour. Biological rhythms and the role of pacemakers and zeitgebers in the sleep/wake cycle.



7. Research methods – how do psychologists find out their information including ethical issues in psychological research. Mathematical concepts such as data handling and analysis .Probability and significance and introduction to statistical testing.


Paper 3 Issues and Options in Psychology

Written Exam 33.3% of A level


8. Issues and Debates in Psychology

Nature nurture debate, gender and culture bias, reductionism and ethical implications of research.


9. Option 1- Relationships-Evolutionary and social theories of romantic relationships.Virtual relationships in social media,parasocial relationships eg with celebrities.



10 Option 2- Schizophrenia

Symptoms and explanations of schizophrenia including psychological and biological approaches.Therapies including drug therapies and cognitive behavior therapy.


11. Option 3- Aggression


Ethological, biological and social explanations of aggression. Institutional aggression in the context of prisons. Media influences on aggression including computer games.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Psychology is a very popular science subject and can become oversubscribed.

Students need to have obtained the following:

  • at least 5 A* to C  GCSE passes in  subjects that are assessed by exams, plus
  • at least a C grade in English Language and English literature plus
  • at least a C grades in a Science subject and Mathematics

.Students also need to have a keen interest in human behaviour and in finding out what motivates people.


Learning Methods


Whole class and group teaching, discussion, watching videos, independent study, taking part in whole class psychological investigations– these are some of the ways the subject is delivered. Students are informed, challenged and stimulated. Homework is set after most lessons with a longer assignment about once a week. Students need to be prepared to read widely and critically and also to try to use relevant resources from the media programmes that we recommend as these can really support their learning.

 ICT skills are used increasingly in Psychology as these are especially useful in the Research Methods section and when creating presentations. In the past psychology students have attended conferences in London covering a variety of topics including hypnosis at a recent event. Students also participate in joint ventures with other departments-for example debates with Sociology students and discussions about the brain with Biology students. Speakers are sometimes invited in to lessons to enable students to make links between the theory they study and real life examples.

Students are encouraged to attend revision sessions held regularly before exams are taken.

Future opportunities


Psychology AS is a useful qualification in its own right, but most students progress to A2. After that there are many varied courses in Higher education that Psychology can be linked to – recent students have progressed to study Psychology and Criminology, Psychology with Anthropology as well as straight Psychology as a BA or BSc degree. Students have also progressed to studying medicine, nursing and teaching. In terms of a career, a qualification in Psychology would be extremely relevant to any field where people are the main resource – education, health, customer services, the police, social work, and managers in many areas from business to the military to football teams!


How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Beacon Academy (Beacon Community College) directly.

Last updated date: 08 October 2015
Provider logo

Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Course code: Ps