Psychology is the science of mind and behaviour

One of the great strengths of Psychology is that as a broad discipline there is always something of interest there for everyone. As a discipline that is rooted in the behaviour of others it both compliments and connects with nearly every other subject studied

Why study Psychology?

1. Understand people and yourself better
Psychology could be the subject for you if you’re keen to explore the human mind and discover why we think and act the way we do. It’s a fascinating area where you’ll gain insight into people’s behaviours, perceptions and motivations.

2. Have a real insight and impact on society
Psychologists play a vital role in society, in aspects from education to the economy. It has helped children’s intellectual growth, discovered conditions such as PTSD and taught us ways to manage stress. As a psychologist, you could work towards improving people’s wellbeing.

3. Degree and career possibilities
There are plenty of professional options for you to pursue. Many graduates go into roles as clinical psychologists or counsellors in sectors including sports, education, forensics and law enforcement. Others work as detectives, neuroscientists, careers advisors or consultants, for instance. A significant portion of graduates continue their research and become academics.

Year 12  |  Year 13  |  Key Skills |  Assessment  |  Key Resources  |  Wider Reading

Psychology at Year 12

In Year One we follow the AS AQA Course and cover the Following topics:

Approaches – Some of the key areas of Psychological thought – Psychodynamic and Freud, Behavioural with Pavlov, Watson, Skinner and Bandura, Cognitive, Biological and the Humanistic Psychology of Maslow and Rogers

Attachment – How do we form our first relationships? What happens when this isn’t fulfilled. The work of Bowlby, Ainsworth and Rutter.

Research methods – Key scientific research methods in psychology such as Lab experiments, observations, interviews and correlations. The importance of ethics.

Memory – How does memory work? Why do we forget? The working memory model, the multi store model and how to improve memory and recall with a focus on the cognitive interview.

Social Influence – Why do we conform and obey? The work of Asch, Zimbardo and Milgram. How do we enact social change and minority influence? The work of Moscovici.

Psychopathology – How do we classify what is abnormal? The disorders of depression, OCD and Phobias. Theories of their origin and potential treatments.

Psychology in Year 13

In the second year of the course, we currently study the following topics;

Issues and debates – Determinism and freewill in our behaviour. Cultural and gender bias in research, Is Psychology a science? Social sensitivity and nature and Nurture.

Biopsychology – Functions of the brain, Bodily rhythms, brain plasticity and recovery after trauma

Forensic psychology – Explanations for offending behaviour, potential ways of dealing with offending behaviour. Offender profiling and catching criminals.

Gender – sex and gender, Androgyny, the role of chromosomes and hormones. The work of Kohlberg, Freud. Influence of culture and Media on Gender. Gender stereotypes.

Schizophrenia – Diagnosis of Schizophrenia. Biological causes and treatments for Schizophrenia. Psychological theories and treatment for schizophrenia

Key Skills

A keen, enquiring and open mind is required to study psychology. A real interest in people and their motivations as well as an ability to reflect on our own behaviour. Students should be able to write fluently and be able to reason and argue differing points. They should enjoy research and scientific methodology as well as be competent in basic mathematical skills.


As a reformed A level assessment is by examination only. There are three papers of 2 hours each, at the end of the 2 years of study, these are:-

Paper 1 – Introductory Topics in Psychology

Paper 2 – Psychology in Context

Paper 3 – Issues and Options in Psychology

Key Resources

Students receive work booklets for each of the topics we study to assist them with their progression throughout the course. Our key Textbook used is AQA Psychology for A Level for the two years.

Wider Reading

There is a huge amount of wider reading that students can engage in as Psychology is such a broad subject. Teachers will give specific suggestions based on topics, however below are some fun general reads!

The Anatomy of violence – Adrian Raine

Quirkology, Night School, Paranormality, 59 seconds, The Luck Factor – Richard Wiseman

Happy – Derren Brown

The Lucifer effect The Time Paradox – Philip Zimbardo

They f#*k you up – How not to f#*k them up – Oliver James

Office Politics – How to survive in a world of lying, backstabbing and dirty tricks, Affluenza

Elephants on acid – Alex Boese

What everybody is saying: Fbi guide to speed reading people – Joe Navarro

Influence – The psychology of persuasion – Robert Cialdini

The Psychopath test – Jon Ronson

The man who mistook his wife for a hat – Oliver Sacks

Lost connections – Johann Hari

The Psychopath test – Jon Ronson

Predictably irrational – Dan Arriely