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Psychology A level at Sharnbrook Academy

Course description

The psychology specification considers the nature of psychology as a science.  It is for all those with a lively, enquiring and critical mind, an abiding interest in human behaviour, and who are not prepared to accept things at face value.

Course content

Cognitive Psychology

Including the nature of memory, models of memory, explanations for forgetting, and factors affecting eyewitness testimony.

Developmental Psychology

Including stages of attachment, multiple attachments and cultural variations in attachment, explanations of attachment, deprivation, and the influence of early attachments in adulthood.

Social Psychology

Including explanations for conformity and obedience and factors influencing these behaviours, explanations for minority influence, independent behaviour and the role social influence processes play in social change.

Individual Differences

Including definitions of abnormality, approaches to explaining abnormality and therapies used to treat abnormal behaviours.

Approaches in Psychology

The origins of psychology and the emergence of psychology as a science. The following approaches will be considered:

  • Behaviourist
  • Psychodynamic
  • Humanistic
  • Cognitive
  • Biological – significant focus falls on this approach 
  • Biopsychology

Including divisions of the nervous system, sensory, relay and motor neurons, synaptic transmission, the endocrine system, localisation of function in the brain, plasticity and functional recovery, methods of studying the biology of the brain and biological rhythms.

Research Methods (including inferential statistical testing)

You will come to develop an in depth understanding of the research procedures used in psychological research (design, procedure, analysis of results etc) and you will examine the advantages and disadvantages of them all.      

Issues and Debates in Psychology        

Following issues & debates will be considered:         

  • Gender and Culture Biases                                   
  • Free Will vs Determinism                                                                 
  • Nature vs Nurture                                                 
  • Holism vs Reductionism                                        
  • Idiographic vs Nomothetic                                     
  • Ethics & Socially Sensitive Research           
  • Topics           
  • Relationships
  • Schizophrenia
  • Aggression

Entry requirements

All students must meet the minimum entry requirements which are:

  • a minimum of five GCSE passes at A* to C, plus mathematics and English language at level 4 or above.
  • ECDL or an equivalent IT course where studied. Please note that, where a student wishes to take at least one A level course and has level 2 BTEC qualifications, those level 2 BTEC qualifications can only count for up to a maximum of two of the required GCSE passes at A* to C, or mathematics and English language at level 4 or above.

In addition to the general entrance requirements, these must include a BC in sciences (minimum of two) with the B in biology, grade 4 or higher in English language and literature, and grade 5 higher tier mathematics. (Students should be aware that many universities now require at least grade B/5 in GCSE maths and science for students wishing to study a degree in psychology). Students should be numerate and able to express themselves clearly in both verbal and written form.


End of the Year 13 year – 3 exams, 2 hours each.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Sharnbrook Academy directly.

Last updated date: 27 October 2017

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