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A2 Psychology - Academic Pathway at Furze Platt Senior School

Course description

An Academic Pathway Subject - This course offers an engaging and effective introduction to Psychology, the study of human mind and behaviour.

You will be amazed by the way the human brain works, why we behave as we do and what actually forms our personality. Moreover, you will learn about studies that became milestones in understanding the complexity of our mind, such as Clive Wearing, who had only 30 seconds memory span, or Patient Tan, who was only able to pronounce one word: tan.

If video games make you violent, does Monopoly make you a millionaire? What does ‘IQ’ stand for? What is schizophrenia and OCD? Why do soldiers obey killing orders? Do dreams have meaning? How reliable is eyewitness testimony? How do we remember things and why do we forget them? – those are just some of the questions that we will be answering as we go along.

Furthermore, you will develop skills valued by Higher Education and employers, including critical analysis, independent thinking and research.  You will learn how to design own study and how to analyse its results using inferential statistics.

If you’re hesitating between AS and A-Level Psychology, please know that all AS topics will also be covered on A-Level course giving you a really good understanding of human mind, including the biology of the brain, social influence and memory topics. In addition, A-Level students will cover two more approaches, i.e. Psychodynamic and Humanistic, plus they will benefit from optional topics in year 13, such as Forensic Psychology and Schizophrenia, which are not available on AS. While AS course requires you to learn only one statistical test used in experiments, A-Level includes eight statistical tests – in both cases, we will teach you the statistics behind psychological experiments as well as skills needed for you to perform own small scale research.

Course content

The course is broken up into 11 sections across two years.

The first year (Year 12) we will be covering:

·The fundaments of human behaviour: from the biology of the brain to Pavlov’s conditioning.

·Social Influence: why we obey authority and how good people turn evil.

·Memory: how our memory works and how we can improve it.

· Developmental Psychology: why we form bonds with our parents.

·Psychopathology: what it means to be normal and how to treat mental problems, such as OCD, depression and phobias.

·Research methods: from case studies to lab experiments; the procedures, ethics and evaluation of different research methods.

In the second year (Year 13) students will also study a unit on the issues, debates and approaches in Psychology. The final section of the course is a selection of optional modules. Whilst this is subject to change, we anticipate that students will study units on Relationships, Schizophrenia and Forensic Psychology.

Entry requirements

An average of 5- 'Attainment 8' score (largely equivalent to 4 grade 4s and 4 grade 5s) across 8 highest GCSEs including English & Maths 

At least a grade 5 in GCSE Maths and a grade 5 in Biology or 5/5 in Combined Science is strongly recommended.


At the end of the two year linear A-level (the end of Year 13) students will sit three exams that will be a mixture of what they studied in Year 12 and Year 13. This will account for their entire A-Level grade.

There is no coursework requirement for the final grade; nevertheless, students will have a chance to experience the more practical side of Psychology through various mini-studies conducted in-class or as a part of their homework research. 

Future opportunities

An awareness of Psychology is becoming increasingly important in a range of disciplines from sports and exercise psychology to human resources management, advertising, marketing, criminology, health care professions, social services and teaching. Psychology is also a fundamental part of effective leadership.

The subject is widely recognised and appreciated. It will be a great asset whether you decide to follow university route or decide to enter employment after Sixth Form. 

Further information

For further information please contact Mrs Bristow, Sixth Form Administrator on or on 01628 625308, extension 236.

Alternatively, you can email one of our psychology teachers:

Miss R Paradowska:

Mr C Marris:  

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Furze Platt Senior School directly.

Last updated date: 22 November 2018
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 2 years
  • Course code: ACPSY19
  • Web url: