Why study A level Psychology?
Have you ever wondered if mental disorders are learnt or inherited? Or why some people conform? Or if the experiences you have before the age of five really do shape the person you are today? A-level Psychology will give you an understanding of the way people think and why people behave in certain ways. We are all psychologists to some extent, as we all know something about human thought and behaviour. Studying psychology helps develop this knowledge and an understanding of the different approaches of the discipline, including cognitive, behaviourist, psychodynamic, developmental, social and bio psychological. In addition you will learn a variety of skills including analytical thinking, improved communication, problem solving and many more that will prepare you for an exciting future with the possibility of a range of fantastic careers.

What are the careers or further education that this course would be suitable for?
For many students the A level course will nurture a passion for psychology and prepare students for further study of the subject at degree level. However students with an A level in psychology also go on to study other subjects at degree level such as English, sociology, biology, business studies, law and sports science. Studying psychology at university can give you a whole host of exciting career options within the field such as clinical psychology, educational psychology, occupational psychology, and forensic psychology as well as related careers such as nursing, teaching, business development, marketing and human resources management.

Key Information Summary:

Course TitlePsychology
Examination BoardAQA
Linear Qualification?Yes
Course Webpage
Entry RequirementsMinimum of Grades 5,6 in combined science (dual award) or Grade 6 in GCSE biology and at least a Grade 5 in either GCSE chemistry or physics. In addition a Grade 5 in GCSE mathematics and a Grade 5 in English language.
Contact TeacherMrs L O’Donoghue:

Course Details:

The AQA specification aims to provide students with an introduction to psychological theory and research and an opportunity to develop critical skills of analysis, interpretation and evaluation whilst engaging students in issues and debates in contemporary psychology.

AQA psychology is a linear course with terminal examinations at the end of the A-level year.

Subject Content:
The 2 year A level course involves the study of the core areas of psychology studied during the first year of the course:

  • memory
  • attachments
  • social influence
  • approaches in psychology
  • psychopathology
  • biopsychology
  • research methods

The topics below are studied during the second year of the course.

  • Issues and debates in psychology
  • Aggression
  • Schizophrenia
  • Relationships

Assessment details:

A Level – 2 Year Course
Paper 1 (33.3% of A-level)
Social Psychology

Paper 2 (33.3% of A-level)
Approaches in Psychology
Research Methods

Paper 3 (33.3% of A-level)
Issues and Debates
Options in Psychology

Each unit examination is 2 hours long, 96 marks and includes short and long answer questions

A-level grades are based only on marks from the three written papers.

Entry Requirements:

We recognise the need for Psychology A-level in many university courses and the increasing importance placed upon it, especially with the move to a linear qualification. These university courses often required the highest grades as a means of entry onto these courses.

Science GCSE coursePreferred gradesMinimum grades
Combined Science (dual award)Two Grades at 7 or higherGrades 5, 6
Separate scienceGrade 7 or higher in GCSE biology and Grade 7 or higher in either GCSE chemistry or physicsGrade 6 in GCSE biology and at least Grade 5 in either chemistry or physics

Other requirements

In addition to these science entry requirements the science team will require a minimum of a Grade 5 in GCSE mathematics and a minimum grade of a 5 in GCSE English language.

This does mean that the student who enters the course with either a Grade 6 or a 7 will need to show a dedication, enthusiasm and a work ethic that is essential in order to achieve the high grades that the majority of university courses expect. We will consider these characteristics when reviewing a student’s access to the A-level psychology course by reviewing school reports during Year 11.