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Psychology AS/A Level at Portslade Aldridge Community Academy

Course description

Psychology is the study of the human mind and human behaviour.  It will provide you with a fascinating insight into some of the reasons why we do what we do and you’ll start to learn how to answer questions such as these:-

  • Why do we forget things?
  • Why do we feel the need to obey authority figures and is this always a good thing?
  • Why do we dream?
  • How would I design an experiment to test the reliability of eye witness testimony?
  • How come we don’t always see things right in front of our eyes?
  • Why do people commit crimes?
  • How do babies develop attachments?
  • What is depression?
  • How do elite sports men and women motivate themselves?
  • What is intelligence?

What skills will I gain from studying A Level Psychology?

You will learn to look at the world around you in different ways.  You will learn how to design psychological experiments, you will learn about some of the classic psychological studies that have happened in the last 100 years and, perhaps most importantly, you’ll learn to think critically and logically.  In other words, you’ll learn to question things.

Course content


In Psychological Investigations, you will study the various methods of collecting information about people such as:-

Self-report questionnaires
Observational data
Correlation studies

In Core Studies, you will develop and understanding and an evaluation of 15 core pieces of psychological research. These will cover areas of psychology such as Social Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Physiological Development and Individual Differences.


In Options in Applied Psychology, students will choose two areas of psychology from a list of four to study in some depth. These areas are Forensic Psychology, Health and Clinical Psychology, Psychology of Sport and Leisure, and Psychology of Education.

In Approaches and Research Methods in Psychology, students will be expected to apply their knowledge of psychological research methodology.  Students will be required to design a practical research project and answer questions on approaches, perspectives, methods, issues, and debates.

Entry requirements

5 A* to C GCSE grades


AS Psychology

AS Psychology will be made up of two units:

In the Psychological Investigations unit students will study and conduct four investigations which will be assessed in a one-hour exam.

In the Core Studies unit, students will study 15 classic studies from the world of Psychology. This will be assessed in a two-hour exam.

Successful completion of the above can be a standalone AS qualification or it can be counted as the first year of your A-Level.

A2 Psychology

In the second year of A-Level study you will complete two units:

In the Options in Applied Psychology unit students will choose to study two out of the following options in applied psychology:

Forensic Psychology,

Health and Clinical Psychology,

Psychology of Sport and Exercise

Psychology of Education.

This is assessed in a 2 hour examination.

In the Approaches and Research Methods in Psychology unit, students will study a range of perspectives, issues, methods and debates and will study aspects of research design and implementation.

They will be assessed in a 1.5 hour examination

Future opportunities

A qualification in Psychology communicates a lot about your skills to a future employer or to a university.  It says that you can think critically, that you can make logical and rationale arguments, and that you can interpret data. If you go on to study Psychology at University, this could lead to a fascinating and well paid career.  Psychologists work in recruitment, the NHS, the prison service, and the military.  They are involved in designing buildings, they are involved in investigating accidents.  They are also employed to work in schools to teach Psychology and to help students who struggle.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Portslade Aldridge Community Academy directly.

Last updated date: 16 January 2015
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September