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Psychology A level at Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School

Course description

The Psychology AS and A-Level science course ensures that all students are given the opportunity to acquire the experimental and practical skills essential for further study and successful scientific research.

Course content

Paper 1 - Introductory topics in Psychology
1 – Social Influence: What makes people follow the crowd and what gives some of us the power to resist?
2 – Memory: Can you remember everything you have done in the last 24 hours and what happens when you invent events to fill the gaps?
3 – Attachments: How are emotional bonds with our caregivers built and how do earliest attachments leave a lasting mark on our lives?
4 – Psychopathology: What does it mean to be abnormal? An exploration of the definitions, explanations and treatments of psychological disorders including; phobias and depression.
Paper 2 – Psychology in Context
1 – Approaches in Psychology: Where does psychology originate from? Who were the key researchers that established the main approaches we study in psychology today?
2 – Biopsychology: Focuses on explaining behaviour biologically by considering the role of genetics, brain physiology and biochemistry.
3 – Research Methods: Scientific methods are explored alongside a thorough consideration of the ethical issues relating to psychological research.
Students will conduct their own studies using statistical tests to examine theories such as the idea that there is a correlation between human behaviour and Freud’s psycho-sexual categories; students will also use experiments to determine whether there is any support for the ideas such as males having better spatial awareness than females.
Paper 3 - Issues and Options in Psychology
1 – Issues and Debates: What is the nature vs. nurture debate? Is psychological research biased to males? This explores the different issues that arise throughout psychological research and how best to deal with them.
2 – Schizophrenia: How does a psychiatrist decide whether a patient has a mental illness such as schizophrenia and depression? Why do these definitions vary so much between cultures?
3 – Relationships: Theories of the formation, maintenance and breakdown of romantic relationships. For example, reward/need satisfaction, social exchange theory.
4 – Addiction: How do we become addicted? Is addiction a disease or a mental illness? Does drug dependence and addiction mean the same thing?

Entry requirements

To follow a programme of A-Level subjects, students must have a minimum of 5.5 GCSE points from at least six GCSEs, which must include English and Mathematics (at grade 5). 
In order to study a subject at A-Level that has been studied at GCSE it is necessary to have at least a grade C (grade 5 if English) in that subject.
GCSE equivalence grades at C or above, from courses such as BTECs can only be
counted as one of the six grades required for entry to the Sixth Form. These will not be sufficient to study Mathematics or Science at AS Level.
All students must have a good record of conduct and be comfortable with the values and the ethos of the academy. All students will be interviewed and references sought for external candidates.
Progress from Year 12 to Year 13 is not automatic and is dependent upon a successful first year and a pass grade in the progression exams taken at the end of Year 12.
The mathematical skill in Psychology is taught and understood at and beyond the level of Mathematics required for a GCSE grade C. It is strongly recommended that students taking A-level Psychology have a grade B in GCSE Mathematics (over 10% of the assessment tests mathematical ability).


AS level:
1.  Introductory Topics in Psychology; Social influence, Memory & Attachment
  • Written Exam: 1hr 30min: 50% of AS level
2.  Approaches in Psychology: Approaches, Psychopathology & Research Methods
  • Written Exam: 1hr 30min:  50% of AS level
A level:
1.  Introductory Topics in Psychology: Social influence, Memory, Attachment & Psychopathology
  • Written Exam: 2hr:  33.3% of A level
2.  Psychology in context: Approaches in Psychology, Biopsychology & Research
  • Written Exam: 2hr:  33.3% of A level
3.  Issues and Options in Psychology: Issues and Debates, Schizophrenia, Relationships & Addiction
  • Written Exam: 2hr:  33.3% of A level

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School directly.

Last updated date: 23 December 2016

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