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International Baccalaureate - Psychology - Higher & Standard Level at The Rochester Grammar School

Course description

Psychology is the scientific study of mind and behaviour. Psychologists develop theories to explain how the mind and brain work, and to understand why humans and animals behave the way they do. Psychology is a relatively new and continually evolving subject with few certainties. It will teach students to take nothing at face value and to question everything around them.

The Psychology curriculum area aims to inspire and challenge students to re-address the way they perceive themselves and other people. The course enables students to develop an understanding of the biological, social and cultural influences on human behaviour and involves a wide variety of different skills, including oral and written communication, scientific methodology, numerical competency and critical thinking skills. Our teaching methods reflect this diversity. Students might be asked to participate in discussions, group presentations or experiments, and should expect to find the work demanding as it is largely essay based.  Full participation in all activities and a willingness to learn to think independently are necessary for success in this subject.

Course content

At standard level, students will study the biological, cognitive and socio-cultural perspectives of Psychology.  Health Psychology will be the module option for the standard level, allowing students to find out about the factors affecting our likelihood of engaging in health promoting behaviours, with an in-depth investigation into Stress. Finally, students will learn about research methods in Psychology throughout the year and have the opportunity to carry out their own piece of research. 

At higher level, in addition to the topics above students will also study abnormality. This topic will consider the causes and symptoms of two disorders: Depression and Obsessive Compulsive disorder, as well as the potential treatments. Research methods are studied in greater depth at this level and include the assessment of case studies, observations and interviewing techniques.  Students also engage in a more in-depth research study into an aspect of human behaviour which interests them.

Entry requirements

Students are required to have a GCSE grade 6 in English Literature or Language and Biology or grade 6-6 in Combined Science.


In order to gain access to The RGS Sixth Form, students must obtain 5 GCSE grades at 9-6 (A*-B) including English Language and Mathematics.


Assessment is varied and may include structured questions, peer assessment, self-assessment, essays, online discussions, debates and tests.

Standard Level
Paper 1: 2 Hours (50%)
Paper 2: 1 Hour (25%)
Internal Assessment (25%)


Higher Level
Paper 1: 2 Hours (35%)
Paper 2: 2 Hours (25%)
Paper 3: 1 Hour (20%)
Internal Assessment (20%)


Future opportunities

Psychology opens doors to many different career options, since the skills paramount to the subject are so broad.  Most obviously, Psychology offers benefits for those interested in a career connected with people, such as teaching or health care, but would also prove useful for those interested in working in business or research.  To train as a Clinical, Educational, Occupational, Forensic, or Counselling Psychologist, students will need to complete a degree in Psychology followed by further training at a Masters or Doctorate level; a previous qualification in Psychology is not a pre-requisite to follow a degree in this subject but is preferable.

Further information

The I.B.O.s mission statement:

'The aim of all IB programmes is to develop internationally minded people who, recognising their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world.'

IB learners are:

- Enquirers
- Knowledgeable
- Risk-takers
- Thinkers
- Good communicators
- Principled
- Open-minded
- Reflective

The ideal IB student will also have acquired a sense of caring and compassion, and will recognise the importance of a balance between his/her intellectual, physical and emotional needs.

If you require any further information please contact Miss Hemming at The Rochester Grammar School.

If you wish to study at The Rochester Grammar School, please apply directly to the school.

Application forms and further details can be found on the school website

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 12 December 2018
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