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Psychology A Level at North Leamington School

Course description

Psychology is fascinating. It asks questions about individuals and groups that no other subject does. For example: What is normal? Why do we sleep? Is there an evolutionary basis to human reproductive behaviour? What causes schizophrenia?

Psychology as a subject takes a scientific approach as it seeks to “study” not just speculate about human behaviour and so psychological research will form an important part of the course. This will prepare you for the research methods based questions covered in all three papers at the end of the two years course with a 50% weighting in Paper Two. Assessment takes place continuously throughout each unit and closely reflects the demands of the examination. Mathematical skills will also play an integral part of the new Psychology Specification.

Course content

The full A-Level consists of three papers, sat at the end of Year 13:

Paper 1:

Students will be assessed in a two hour examination covering: Social Influence including conformity and obedience; Cognitive Psychology including memory models, eyewitness testimony and theories of forgetting, Developmental Psychology which looks at theories of attachment and maternal deprivation; Psychopathology which includes definitions and theories of psychopathology

Paper 2:

Students will be assessed in a two hour examination covering: Psychological Approaches including Psychodynamic, Cognitive, Behaviourism and biological approaches to Psychology; Biopsychology including brain structure and neuron transmission and the link between stress and the immune system; and Research Methods which covers methodology, research design, measures of central tendency, measures of dispersion and descriptive and inferential statistical analysis which makes up 50% of the total assessment.

Paper 3:

Consists of a two hour examination covering: Issues and Debates in Psychology including ethical and cultural issues, reductionism, determinism and free will. Students will also study topics from a list of choices. Currently, the selected topics of study are Gender, Schizophrenia and Aggression.

Entry requirements

5 GCSEs or equivalent including Maths and English at grade 5 or above and an additional 3 at grade A*- C.

Excellent attendance during Year 11 (at least above 90%).

Behaviour and attitude to learning across all GCSE subjects studied to be at least good.

In exceptional circumstances students with a good GCSE profile but have not achieved either Maths or English to a grade 5 at the start of the programme may be considered.

We encourage all students to start with a 3 A level programme. However, in exceptional circumstances, we will consider a student studying a 4th subject. 


Psychology is a challenging subject and so the skills of selfdiscipline and independent learning are essential. Teaching and learning will include conducting psychological research, creating case studies, drama and role-play, active participation in discussion and debate, “hot seating”, note-taking, examination questions, and working as part of a team for class quizzes and presentations, where you will be asked to research topics and prepare a presentation using a range of sources, such as textbooks, CD-ROM, the Internet, and magazines such as Psychology Review. Learning objectives are set for each unit and these may be assessed in a variety of ways, for example essays, data response questions, group presentations and research reports.

Future opportunities

Psychology A-Level is a good background for a wide range of careers in health, education, social work, and human resource management. Psychologists are also extensively involved in media-related fields such as advertising. Psychology is a popular choice at university level and post-graduate level which can lead to a career in clinical, educational, forensic, criminal, and occupational Psychology. Perhaps more importantly Psychology helps us to understand ourselves and others, which is useful for most career paths.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact North Leamington School directly.

Last updated date: 24 February 2017
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