Key Stage 5
Subject Leader: Mrs N Cooper
Exam board: AQA
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Psychology will be running as an A Level.
The two year A Level qualification sees students studying 3 equally weighted papers, each assessed through a two-hour written examination. The examinations include multiple choice, short answer and longer essay questions.
Paper 1: Introductory topics in psychology
- Social influence provides explanations of why people conform and obey and includes famous research such as that conducted by Philip Zimbardo and Stanley Milgram.
- Memory, including the functions of short and long term memory, how memory can affect the legal system with eye witness testimony and explanations of forgetting.
- Attachment, including how infant attachments are formed with our parents and what can happen if this attachment is disrupted.
- Psychopathology takes a biological viewpoint, considering how we define abnormality, and investigating the causes of and therapies for mental illnesses such as depression, phobias and obsessive compulsive disorder.
Paper 2: Psychology in context
- Approaches in psychology provides an insight into the origins of psychology and the very different perspectives psychologists take in explaining the same behaviour.
- Biopsychology focusses on the structure and of nervous system and endocrine system, brain neurons and brain structure and function, scanning techniques and biological rhythms, including sleep.
- Research Methods looks at how we conduct research in psychology, how we select our participants, ethical issues when carrying out experiments and how to analyse results, including the use of descriptive and inferential statistics.
Paper 3: Issues and options in psychology
This paper begins with a compulsory section on the issues & debates spanning the whole of psychology and continues with questions on 9 optional topics in psychology, of which students will answer the 3 options that have been covered during their lessons in the second year.
The synoptic issues and debates section include questions of whether we are born or made (nature or nurture), whether our actions are determined or a matter of free-will, and the extent to which psychology exhibits gender or cultural bias.
The optional topics are listed below; with those currently taught in bold
- Either relationships, gender or cognition & development
- Either schizophrenia, eating behaviour or stress
- Either aggression, forensic psychology or addiction
- Cognition and development looks at the way children’s thinking changes as they age.
- Schizophrenia looks at the diagnosis, causes and treatment of this serious disorder.
- Forensic Psychology looks at problems in defining crime, offender profiling, explanations of offender behaviour and ways to deal with this.
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