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Welcome to

St Albans Girls' School

Psychology

The Department

Curriculum Leader: Mrs K Birkett

A Level

Exam Board: AQA

Specification Number: 7182

Psychology is an interesting, stimulating and challenging subject that complements a wide range of traditional subjects. Psychology is “the Science of the mind”, and its subject matter is primarily people, their experiences and their behaviour although it does include some study of non-human animals.  Its immediate goal is to understand humanity by both discovering general principles and exploring specific cases, and its ultimate aim is to benefit society.

In Year 1 the topics include Social Influence, Memory, Attachment and Psychopathology examined in paper 1 and the fundamental Approaches to Psychology, Biopsychology and Research Methods examined in paper 2. 

In Year 2 there is further Biopsychology which continues an appreciation of the biology behind this discipline and there are the additional aspects of Issues and Debates encompassed within Psychology, such as nature/nurture and ethics.  There is also a range of topic-based options, and possibilities for study including Gender, Schizophrenia and Forensic Psychology. Issues and Debates and the topic based options are examined in paper 3.

Psychological research and scientific method feature throughout the A Level with a practical and investigative emphasis requiring some understanding of statistical analysis.

The whole A Level is therefore examined across three separate papers and Research methods are studied within the context of all areas.

Learning methods include discussions, debates, videos, individual and group presentations, classroom exercises and activities. Students are expected to make an active contribution to whatever method is being used.  There is a very wide syllabus to cover and students are required to carry out substantial research on their own.  Students must be prepared to spend time reading around the subject or researching specific topics – in this way the vital skills of independent learning are acquired and developed.

As Psychology is a new subject to all students, students need to be aware of the need for strong analytical and evaluative skills. They must be persuasive writers as there is rarely a single, correct answer to any question.  The aim is to use psychological knowledge and evidence in order to support an argument or opinion.  Fluency (both written and verbal) is essential as is a secure understanding of certain scientific principles particularly in human biology.  A facility in mathematics and the ability to interpret numerical data is also beneficial.

 

Psychology is taught by specialist teachers with extensive experience, a focus on exam technique and a clear enthusiasm for the subject. The department makes available a wide range of resources including a variety of textbooks to help promote independent learning and effectively uses the Google Classroom providing links to websites, enabling students to research and to participate in discussion forums.

 

In Psychology we celebrate success by nominating a student from each teaching group every week for the Sixth Form Rainbow Raffle which results in a termly draw for a prize and one student from Year 12 and one from Year 13 for Student of the Month. We also have a number of psychological related bookmarks and badges etc which serve as rewards for outstanding pieces of work. Students are also given the opportunity to attend online conferences with innovative and eminent guest speakers such as Philip Zimbardo and Elizabeth Loftus. Guest speakers have also been invited into school to provide activity days designed to stretch and challenge the students eg. neuroscience.

 

A first degree in psychology can lead to a further degree in a wide range of related fields (e.g. clinical, educational, occupational psychology etc.)  However, it is also highly regarded and a useful entry point for virtually any career that involves interacting with people. N.B. Psychology is a science and as such continues to be regarded as one of the sciences for entry to university medical schools.

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What is the course content?

Year 12

  1. Social Psychology, including conformity, obedience and independent behaviour
  2. Cognitive Psychology, including memory and eyewitness testimony
  3. Developmental Psychology, including early social development, attachment and the effects of deprivation
  4. Psychopathology, including the treatment of phobias, depression and OCD
  5. Approaches in Psychology, including the behaviourist, cognitive and biological approaches to Psychology
  6. Biopsychology, including the study of the brain
  7. Research Methods in the context of the topic areas

Year 13  

        8. Issues and Debates, including the ethics of Psychological Research and Nature vs Nature

Option 1

  • Relationships, including formation, maintenance and breakdown, virtual and parasocial  relationships
  • Gender, including atypical gender behaviour and the influence of culture and media
  • Cognition and development, including intellectual development

Option 2

  • Schizophrenia, including diagnosis and biological and psychological explanations
  • Eating Behaviour, including anorexia nervosa and obesity
  • Stress, including workplace stress, personality type and therapy

Option 3

  • Aggression, including institutionalised aggression and the effect of computer games
  • Forensic Science, including offender profiling and anger management
  • Addiction, including risk factors and therapies

What support is needed?

  • Through the Google Classroom
  • Psychology Review online and JSTOR
  • Digital Complete Companion Student Book by Oxford University Press
  • AQA Psychology Year 1 & AS and Year 2 Digital Books by Illuminate Publishing
  • Relevant YouTube and Ted Talk Tutorials suggested by the department
  • Reading magazines, newspapers and watching relevant media
  • Targeted psychology clinics and small group tutorials

How will students be assessed?

  • Baseline tests in September
  • Mock examinations in November/December
  • Classroom examinations in February
  • End of topic tests
  • End of course examinations in May/June
Paper 1: Introductory topics in psychology Paper 2: Psychology in context Paper 3: Issues and options in psychology
What’s assessed Compulsory content 1–4 above What’s assessed Compulsory content 5–7 above

What’s assessed Compulsory content 8 above

Optional content, one from option 1, 9–11, one from option 2, 12–14, one from option 3, 15–17 above

Assessed
  • written exam: 2 hours
  • 96 marks in total
  • 33.3% of A-level
Assessed
  • written exam: 2 hours
  • 96 marks in total
  • 33.3% of A-level
Assessed
  • written exam: 2 hours
  • 96 marks in total
  • 33.3% of A-level
Questions
  • Section A: multiple choice, short answer and extended writing, 24 marks
  • Section B: multiple choice, short answer and extended writing, 24 marks
  • Section C: multiple choice, short answer and extended writing, 24 marks
  • Section D: multiple choice, short answer and extended writing, 24 marks
Questions
  • Section A: multiple choice, short answer and extended writing, 24 marks
  • Section B: multiple choice, short answer and extended writing, 24 marks
  • Section C: multiple choice, short answer and extended writing, 48 marks
Questions
  • Section A: multiple choice, short answer and extended writing, 24 marks
  • Section B: one topic from option 1, 9–11 above, multiple choice, short answer and extended writing, 24 marks
  • Section C: one topic from option 2, 12–14 above, multiple choice, short answer and extended writing, 24 marks
  • Section D: one topic from option 3, 15–17 above, multiple choice, short answer and extended writing, 24 marks

What texts are recommended?

Year 12

Psychology A Level Year 1 and AS:
The Complete Companions: AQA Psychology A Level: Year 1 and AS Student Book (Complete Companions Fifth Edition for AQA) Paperback (OUP) – 6th Sept 2018 by  Mike Cardwell  (Author), 
Cara Flanagan (Author) - ISBN - 978-0198436324

AQA Psychology for A Level Year 1 & AS Student Book: 2nd Edition Paperback (Illuminate Publishing) – 7 May 2020 by Cara Flanagan  (Author), Matt Jarvis (Author), Rob Liddle (Author) - ISBN 978-1912820429

AQA A-level Psychology (Year 1 and Year 2) (Hodder Education) - 26 June 2020 - by Jean-Marc Lawton and Eleanor Willard - ISBN 9781510483019

Year 13

Psychology A Level Year 2:

The Complete Companions: AQA Psychology A Level: Year 2 Student Book (Complete Companions Fifth Edition for AQA) Paperback (OUP) – 24 Jan. 2019 by Mike Cardwell  (Author), Cara Flanagan (Author) - ISBN 978-0198436331

AQA Psychology for A Level Year 2 Student Book: 2nd Edition Paperback (Illuminate Publishing) – 21 Sept. 2020 by Cara Flanagan  (Author), Matt Jarvis (Author), Rob Liddle (Author) - ISBN 978-1912820467

AQA A-level Psychology (Year 1 and Year 2) (Hodder Education) - 26 June 2020 - by Jean-Marc Lawton and Eleanor Willard - ISBN 9781510483019

There are also a range of older textbooks affiliated to the previous AQA A specification and revision guides which will also be of use and copies are held in the departmental library.

What websites are recommended?
 

Google: www.google.co.uk

A general search of a topic or psychologist can yield fruitful results.

Google Scholar: http://scholar.google.co.uk

This is useful for carrying out more academic searches and will often bring up links to abstracts about research in the area being searched for.

AQA Website: https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/psychology

YouTube : Tutor2U: https://www.tutor2u.net/psychology

JSTOR:  https://www.jstor.org/

Seneca Learning:  https://www.senecalearning.com/

The Student Room: https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=5172926

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/a-level/

Physics and Maths Tutor: https://www.physicsandmathstutor.com/

Psychboost: https://www.psychboost.com/

 

What equipment is needed?

A calculator, ruler, pen and pencil are essential at all times as well as A4 file paper and a robust ring binder folder for each topic with dividers and plastic wallets.

Get in touch

HR Department

Sandridgebury Lane

St Albans

Hertfordshire

AL3 6DB

01727 853134