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Psychology A Level at St John's Marlborough

Course description

Psychology is the scientific study of mind and behaviour. The A-Level is an introductory course designed to provide a solid foundation to understanding the range of explanations of human behaviour and the research techniques that afford this. The course develops both specific psychological knowledge, and skills that contribute to a wider understanding of psychological phenomena.

Course content

Unit 1:

Social Influence: Why do people conform? Why do some people obey without question, or why some people refuse to follow authority.

Memory: The nature of memory; and is memory reliable? What about if you witness a crime, should we believe your memory?

Attachment: The nature of the relationship between a child and its carer, and how this develops. Does going to work harm your child?

Psychopathology: Understanding, defining and measuring abnormality, and how abnormalities may be treated.

Quality of written communication (QWC) will be assessed.

Unit 2:

Approaches in Psychology: Understanding the differing approaches to psychological phenomena.

Biopsychology: Develop an understanding of how our biology impacts upon our behaviour.

Research Methods: How to design and carry out research, and how to critically understand another's research.

Questions include short answer, stimulus material questions and 16 mark questions requiring extended writing in which QWC will be assessed.

Unit 3:

Relationships: Explanations of romantic relationships, how they are formed and maintained, and what happens when they break down.

Aggression: Psychological and biological explanations of aggression; both in the individual and in groups (e.g. war, and sport).

Stress: Psychological explanations and understandings of stress; how it can be understood and controlled.

Issues and Debates in Psychology: A unit that covers some of the critical issues in understanding and carrying out Psychological research.

Entry requirements

The usual sixth form entry requirements (Psychology is also a ‘red’ subject). If there is a desire to study Psychology at University, B grades in English and Maths would normally be expected. You should have the ability to research theories independently and read around the subject; no previous psychological knowledge is necessary.


There are three A-Level exams, all taken at the end of the second year. The exams are all 2 hours long, and worth the same number of marks. They are detailed below:

A-Level Examination

Unit 1: 2 hours: (33% of A-Level)

Unit 2: 2 hours: (33% of A-Level)

Unit 3: 2 hours: (33% of the total A Level marks)


Future opportunities

Studying Psychology at A level will be an advantage for anyone considering going into a profession in which a large proportion of the time is working with other people. This could include:







Social Work

Probation Officer



Within psychology itself there are many professions, for example Clinical; Educational; Occupational; Sports; Health.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact St John's Marlborough directly.

Last updated date: 01 December 2016

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