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Psychology A Level at West Somerset College

Course description

A dictionary definition of Psychology would read something like, ‘the scientific study of the human mind and its functions’. Psychology is more than this! Psychology is everywhere around us. It is intriguing, it is emotional and above all it is thought-provoking. This course offers you the opportunity to learn about the science behind human behaviour by understanding how research is conducted and used to develop theories and laws about human behaviour.

You will then go on to explore the many different strands of Psychology such as Social Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Forensic Psychology, Abnormal Psychology and Biological Psychology. You will also consider issues and debates that psychologists consider when attempting to explain complex and abstract human behaviours. Finally you will develop skills valued by Higher Education (HE) and employers, including critical analysis, independent thinking and research skills.

Course content

This is a two year A level course which broadly divides into two sections: compulsory content which looks at the various strands of Psychology such as Research Methods, Social Psychology and Development Psychology. And the optional specialised units such as Relationships, Schizophrenia & Forensic Psychology.

In the compulsory section we will answer questions such as:

  • Why do we conform to the obvious wrong answer?
  • Why do we forget?
  • What are the effects of childhood deprivation?
  • Does early attachment influence later adult relationships?
  • Can drug therapy help people with phobias?
  • Can non-scientific research methods generate data that explains human behaviour?
  • What explains the acquisition of human behaviours like depression – is it nature or nurture?

In the optional section you will answer questions such as:

  • What factors affect attraction to members of the opposite sex?
  • Why do relationships break down?
  • Why do we become aggressive?
  • Do the media influence aggression?
  • How is a crime measured and recorded?

Entry requirements

5 GCSEs at grade C/5 or above including English and Maths. Ideally, Grade C or above in GCSE Additional Science or in a separate Science subject (preferably Biology. There is a need to be genuinely numerate, as we will be analysing and interpreting data and making simple statistical calculations. Overall, at least 10% of the marks in assessments for Psychology will require the use of mathematical skills. These skills will be applied in the context of Psychology A level and will be at least the standard of higher tier GCSE Mathematics.

Assessment

No Coursework Examination (100%) – There will be three two hour papers at the end of the course (each worth 33.3% of the A level), for which we will prepare you thoroughly!  Paper 1, will examine 4 compulsory units such as Social Influence, Memory, Attachment & Psychopathology. Paper 2 will comprise of 4 further compulsory units such as Approaches in Psychology, Bio Psychology & Research Methods. The third paper comprises of the optional units such as Relationships, Gender, and Schizophrenia & Forensic Psychology. Each paper will consist of multiple choice questions, short answer and extended writing questions.

Further information

Being an independent learner is vital to your success in A level Psychology. You will be expected to prepare before all lessons. In class we will use group work, lectures, presentations and discussions to support / stretch and develop your understanding from your independent work.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact West Somerset College directly.

Last updated date: 03 October 2017

Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 2 years

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