A Level Psychology


Exam Board AQA B

Entry Requirements

A minimum of 5 GCSEs at grade C or better. No more than two applied courses can count towards this total and each applied course counted has the equivalence of only one GCSE, regardless of its nominal size. In addition, students must achieve the specific entry requirements which may apply to this course.

Please speak to subject leader or look on website.

What is Psychology?

Psychology is defined as the scientific study of mental processes and behaviour.

Psychologists look to study the human mind and behaviour, but obviously we cannot see someone’s mind, we cannot see what they are thinking or what they are dreaming. Psychologists use a scientific approach to make predictions and to test them using experiments or investigations.

The AS course is divided up into 2 units:

Unit 1:

  • Approaches in Psychology – In this unit you will look at how different approaches in Psychology explain behaviour. The approaches we study are Psychodynamic, Behaviourist, Biological, Humanistic, Cognitive and Social learning theory.
  • Biopsychology – This unit looks at how our genetics can influence our behaviour. We look at the methods that can be used to study brain structures such as neurosurgery, scanning techniques and post mortem studies.
  • Gender development – This unit looks at the difference between sex and gender. We look at factors that affect gender development as consider the question as to whether our gender is present before we are born or is it shaped by society.
  • Research Methods – You will study the research methods used by psychologists and carry out your own practical investigations.

Unit 2:

  • Social Psychology – Social psychology is concerned with how behaviour is influenced by others. Here we will look at conformity and obedience to authority.
  • Cognitive Psychology – Cognitive psychology look at our mental processers. Here we look at perception and how visual illusions work.
  • Individual Differences – Here we look at phobias, how they develop and how they can be treated.



You will sit an examination on unit 1 in January and unit 2 in June.

Other Subjects, Careers and Higher Education

Psychology combines very well with either science or arts subjects. Skills learnt in research methods and report writing are applicable to other science subjects and essay writing skill learnt are relevant to many subjects. Psychological knowledge covered is relevant for other A-Levels such as biology, sociology, law, media, communication studies, business studies and sports studies. Psychology is useful for any career involving contact with other people, such as advertising, business studies, law, management, nursing, social work, medicine, teaching and the police.

Psychology AS/A2-level is useful for degrees in biological sciences, humanities, social sciences, nursing, medicine, business studies and management.