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Psychology A Level at The Downs School

Course description

Studying Psychology will change the way you think about yourself and other people; it is the study of the human mind and behavior. At The Downs School we follow the AQA specification, the most popular Psychology course in the country. For September 2015 AQA have developed a new specification which retains the most valuable and exciting features of their previous qualifications and will offer an engaging and effective introduction to Psychology.

This course is designed to:  Enable students to develop a broad knowledge and understanding of the core areas of psychology: (social, cognitive, developmental, biological and individual differences) through a range of popular and accessible topics.  Develop skills which are highly valued by Higher Education and employers including critical analysis, independent thinking and research.  Challenge students to view the world around them, and themselves, from different perspectives.  Enable students to bring together explanations from different psychological approaches.  Engage students in issues and debates in psychology.

Course content

AS Level Psychology Topics:

1 Social influence – conformity, obedience and independent behaviour.

2 Memory - characteristics of short-term and long-term memory, models of memory, factors affecting the accuracy of eye-witness testimony, strategies for improving memory.

3 Attachment - development of attachment relationships between a child and their caregiver, effects of deprivation and privation on development, effects of day-care on development.

4 Approaches in Psychology – biological, social, cognitive, evolutionary, psychodynamic and behaviourist approaches.

5 Psychopathology - definitions of abnormality, approaches to explaining abnormality and possible therapies.

6 Research methods - knowledge, understanding and skills of research design, data analysis, and data interpretation and reporting.

A2Level:  8 units plus 3 others.

Entry requirements

In addition to developing a wide range of valuable skills, Psychology requires a good standard of literacy as producing extended written answers is an important feature of the course. Therefore, it is essential that students achieve a minimum Grade B in at least one of their English GCSEs. The requirement of a Grade B in Mathematics GCSE is because students need to be able to work confidently with data from investigations.


2 Exams in AS and 3 Exams in A2 year.

Future opportunities

Psychology may influence students‟ future choices directly or indirectly. Of course, if students wish to become a psychologist, therapist or mental health worker, this A Level is of direct value. However, students who want a career in any of the caring services, or in marketing or business, will find an understanding of psychology invaluable and it is a subject increasingly valued by a wide range of employers.

Psychology is also very highly regarded by higher education institutions and combines well with the many, many other A Level subjects including, sciences and the humanities. Many of our students have enjoyed their A Level course so much they have gone on to study it at undergraduate level.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact The Downs School directly.

Last updated date: 26 June 2015

Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 1 - 2 Years