Psychology specification A introduces students to the broad range of Psychology topics.
This course of study comprises two written units in the first year of the A level course and two on the second year, with no coursework. The emphasis is on applying knowledge and understanding, thereby developing students’ transferable skills of analysis, evaluation and critical thinking. The course provides students with the opportunity to develop analytical skills, write essays and psychological reports. They will also develop their mathematical knowledge and research skills. These skills are all relevant and transferable to higher education courses of study or to the workplace.
In the first year of the Psychology A level course students develop knowledge and understanding of concepts, theories and studies in relation to Cognitive Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Individual differences, Social Psychology and Biological Psychology. Students develop skills of analysis, evaluation and application in relation to the aforementioned areas and a knowledge and understanding of Research Methods associated with them.
In the second year of the A level course students build upon the skills they have developed from the first year and apply them to three topics of choice from the following:
- Biological rhythms and sleep
- Eating behaviour
- Intelligence and learning
Cognition and development: in this final unit, students will be expected to develop knowledge and understanding of theories and studies relevant to the content for each area of psychology in this unit, namely Psychopathology, Psychology in action and the compulsory topic, Research Methods.
Within each of these areas, students must analyse and evaluate theories, explanations and studies relevant to the content for each area and undertake practical research activities involving collection, analysis and interpretation of qualitative and quantitative data.
Students will be expected to demonstrate an understanding of the major approaches in psychology (cognitive, biological, behavioural and psychodynamic) through their study of the topics and demonstrate an appreciation of issues and debates as relevant to each topic studied: for example, issues of bias, including gender and culture, the role of animals in research, ethical issues, the nature/ nurture debate, free will and determinism and reductionism.