Psychology A Level

Full name of specification

A Level Psychology

Exam board specification link

Name of textbook if used

None used

What is A Level Psychology?

Psychology provides a fascinating insight into the reasoning behind the human mind and behaviour, with the aim of answering the most interesting questions in life; why do people develop mental illness? Why do people obey authority figures? You will develop knowledge and understanding of psychological theories and explanations by applying them to real life contexts.

Why study this course?

Do you always find yourself asking ‘why’? Why do I behave differently from my siblings even though we were brought up in the same household? Why do I have a phobia of spiders? Why do I tend to get ill during exams? Develop transferable life skills and a high level of self-awareness by developing an insight into not only why you think, feel and behave the way that you do, but the reasons why others do too.

What can you expect from this course?

You can expect engaging course content and lessons that are fun, as well as informative. You will design and carry out psychological investigations, write reports based upon your findings and participate in debates and discussions to promote a deeper understanding of the course content.

How is it assessed?

You will complete 3 examinations at the end of the two year course.

What are the entry requirements?

5 GCSEs at grades 4 – 9, across four separate subjects, to include GCSE Mathematics and/or English/English Language.

What can I do after completing this qualification?

Psychology can help your career either directly or indirectly. If you wish to become a Psychologist, Therapist or Mental Health Worker, this A-Level is of direct value. Many Psychology graduates tend to build careers in Education, the Police, Social Work and Further Research.

What will I study? (include unit numbers and names)

This qualification is linear. This means that you will complete a range of fascinating topics throughout your two years with our vibrant psychology department and then you will complete 3 exams at the end of the two years. Therefore this gives you valuable time to develop your exam technique.

SOCIAL INFLUENCE: In this topic we will study the way other people can affect our behaviour. This includes why we conform to peer pressure, or obey an authority figure.

MEMORY: We will cover how our memory works and whether our recall of events is always accurate.

ATTACHMENT: We will learn how important early attachment to a caregiver is for our future lives, and what can happen if we fail to form attachments in childhood.

PSYCHOPATHOLOGY: This includes how we define the term abnormality and the causes and treatments of phobias, depression and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

APPROACHES IN PSYCHOLOGY: This introduces the different beliefs in psychology such as whether behaviour is due to biological factors or as a result of learning from the environment.

BIOPSYCHOLOGY: This will lead to a greater understanding of the way biological factors can shape our behaviour including the role of genes and specific brain areas.

RESEARCH METHODS: This covers how research is carried out in psychology and strengths and weaknesses of these techniques in studying behaviour.

In this topic you will be introduced to the issues that we need to consider when conducting research such as whether we can apply our findings to all cultures in the world and issues of gender and ethics.

RELATIONSHIPS: We will learn how we select a romantic partner, how these relationships are maintained and how they breakdown. We will also study new areas of research on relationships concerning the use of social media to form relationships.

FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY: In this topic we will cover the reasons why people commit crime, how offender profiling can be used by the police and how we can punish such offenders.

Additional activities within this subject

You will conduct your own research and use your Psychological knowledge to explain your findings. You may also go to Poland to visit Auschwitz.

Wider Reading list

AQA Psychology for A-level Year 1 & AS Authors: Cara Flanagan, Dave Berry, Matt Jarvis, Rob Liddle

AQA Psychology for A-level Year 2 Authors: Cara Flanagan, Dave Berry, Matt Jarvis, Rob Liddle

AQA A-level Psychology Book 1, Jean-Marc Lawton and Eleanor Willard

AQA A-level Psychology Book 2, Jean-Marc Lawton and Eleanor Willard

The Complete Companion for AQA Psychology A Level: Year 2 Fourth Edition Student Book (PSYCHOLOGY COMPLETE COMPANION) Mike Cardwell and Cara Flanagan

The Complete Companions: AQA Psychology Year 1 and AS Student Book (Complete Companion Psychology) Mike Cardwell and Cara Flanagan

For those leaners who want to add depth and detail to their responses

Oxford AQA Psychology: A Level: Year 1 and AS, Simon Green and Rob Lewis

Oxford AQA Psychology A Level: Year 2, Simon Green and Rob Lewis

Aiming for an A in A-level Psychology, Jean-Marc Lawton

Useful links or Apps

The British Psychological Society (BPS):

American Psychological Association:

Ted Talks Psychology Play list –

Approaches Quiz –

Forensic Psychology –

You may also enjoy studying

Sociology, Criminology, Biology, Health and Social Care


Mrs Small