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A level Psychology Course

What board do we do? AQA

What is Psychology? 

Have you ever wondered why people do things they don’t really agree with just because their friends do? Or why some people seem to find it easy to make friends and have happy relationships while others always struggle? Maybe you are interested in how your memory works or the causes and treatment of psychological illnesses. These are just some of the questions that psychology tries to answer in a scientific manner and we begin to think about them in the first year of the A level course.

Psychology is the scientific study of human behaviour, mind and experience. It aims to discover truths by carrying out objective, systematic and verifiable research and it takes a number of different perspectives. For example, behaviour can be explained at the most basic level by considering its biological basis or from a much wider perspective by considering how we function in social groups. Because it is a science, all psychology courses involve a substantial portion of study of research methods; it also involves precise learning, the application of facts and the development of essay-writing and evaluation skills.

Students may study psychology because they want to follow a career which is directly related to it, such as clinical or counselling psychology, educational psychology or operational psychology. Others find it useful as a basis for a career in human resources, probation work or advertising and the media. Still more students study psychology just because it is interesting and because helps to develop a range of transferable skills which are useful in any future career.

Our psychology teacher, Dr Paula Lacey, has considerable experience in teaching both university undergraduates and A level students. She takes an interactive approach which integrates traditional methods of teaching with encouraging students to discuss and share ideas. Her lessons include regular written exercises to consolidate learning and application of material together with practical experience of research where appropriate; addition she teaches supporting skills such as summarising and essay planning and writing. Some mathematical ability is now required by the A level syllabus and appropriate teaching and practice in this are also provided. Learning is supported throughout by regular, written homework assignments and timed progress tests to assist students in developing all the required examination skills. These assignments and tests make the maximum possible use of past paper questions.

AS / A level

The new AS and A levels in Psychology are stand-alone linear qualifications, where marks gained at AS level do not contribute to the final A level grade. Hence there is no longer any concept of A2.

The new AS level examination in Psychology will comprise two written papers. Each of these will consist of a mixture of multiple choice, short answer and extended writing questions. The A level will involve three papers; again, all will feature a mixture of multiple choice, short answer and extended answer questions; however, the extended writing questions will be longer and worth more marks. In every paper, marks are allocated in equal measure to demonstration of knowledge, application and evaluation.

At David Game College we are following the AQA specification. The examination structure is as follows:

AS level (subject code 7181): first examination May / June 2016

 

Paper 1            (7181/01)         Introductory Topics in Psychology

                        1 hr 30 min      50% of the total marks available

 

Paper 2            (7181/02)         Psychology in Context

                        1 hr 30 min      50% of the total marks available

 

A level (subject code 7182): first examination May / June 2017

 

Paper 1            (7182/01)         Introductory Topics in Psychology

                        2 hr                  33.3% of the total marks available

 

Paper 2            (7182/02)         Psychology in Context

                        2 hr                  33.3% of the total marks available

 

Paper 3            (7182/03)         Issues and Options in Psychology

                        2 hr                  33.3% of the total marks available

As well as new material, the A level will feature the topics covered in the AS but these will be studied in greater depth and extended writing questions will require more in-depth answers.

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