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Psychology A Level at Westcliff High School for Boys

Course description

Psychology asks one key question: why do we behave the way we do? The OCR course is an excellent academic introduction to asking such a question in scientific manner. It focuses on teaching students to become discerning and evaluative practitioners. The course investigates psychological research using five main approaches: Social Psychology (how our behaviour is affected by other people), Developmental Psychology (how our behaviour is affected by our childhood development), Cognitive Psychology (how behaviour can be affected by how the mind processes information) and Physiological Psychology (how our behaviour is affected by our biological and chemical processes).  It also considers Individual Differences (how certain behaviours can be regarded as abnormal, such as multiple personality disorder).

Course content

The Advanced Subsidiary Curriculum: Unit 1: Psychological Investigations (60 minute examination). 30%

G541 requires students to have an understanding of how psychologists do psychology. Candidates will need to be adept at using four techniques for collecting/analysing data: experiments, observations, self-report and correlations. In the examination, candidates will be asked to design their own psychological investigation in response to stimulus material. They will then be required to justify the decisions they made.

Unit 2: Core Studies (120 minute examination). 70%

G542 requires students to have knowledge and understanding of key pieces of psychological research. Each of the 15 core studies has been chosen to demonstrate the range of subject matter investigated by psychologists and can be partitioned  into five distinct approaches to conducting psychological research: physiological, cognitive, social, developmental and the psychology of individual differences. The examination necessitates a candidate to be able to comprehend the reasoning behind a study as well as being able to evaluate a study‚Äôs effectiveness in achieving its research aim.

The A2 Curriculum: Unit 3: Options in Applied Psychology (120 minute examination). 50%

In G542 at AS level, students learnt about psychology in a broad sense by using core studies. In G543, students gain insight into how psychological research has been applied to investigating particular avenues where psychology can have a real impact. At WHSB, students will learn about two fields of applied psychology. In Forensics (criminology), students will have four distinct areas of focus: reasons behind turning to crime, making a criminal case, jurors reaching a verdict and what happens to criminals after sentencing. The second field is Health and Clinical Psychology. Again, students will have four distinct areas of focus: psychological disorders, dysfunctional behaviour, dealing with stress and healthy living.

Unit 4: Approaches and Research Methods in Psychology (120 minute examination). 50% 

G544 brings together the approaches, perspectives, methods, issues and debates covered throughout the two year A level. In section A, students are required to create a design for a practical project. This is much like G541 but requires a greater depth of understanding and will need more skilled evaluative abilities. Section B is synoptic in that it asks students to use evidence from their two years of experience in psychology to reflect on holistic issues and debates within the scientific study of psychology. 

Entry requirements

There are no specific subject requirements although students will be expected to have an appreciation and understanding of scientific research and have the ability to evaluate and synthesise information. The data analysis involved will also necessitate a student to have good mathematical skills. Lastly, and most importantly, students should have a genuine interest in the subject. 

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Westcliff High School for Boys directly.

Last updated date: 09 June 2015

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