About the department
The Psychology Department is a specialist Sixth Form only department comprising of 3 experienced full time members of staff.
Psychology is one of the most popular A Levels in the Sixth form; in any given year around 40% of Sixth Form students elect to take Psychology. The department has an excellent record regarding UCAS entry with many of our students going on to study Psychology degrees at university.
The department consistently posts outstanding results:
2018 A Level Psychology 19% A*, 45% A*-A (74% A*-B)
What is Psychology?
According to the British Psychological Society, psychology is the “scientific study of human mind and behaviour: how we think, feel, act and interact individually and in groups”.
Its status as a science was rightly recognised in 2008 when the QCA (Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency) brought Psychology in with the other three sciences. Since then the dramatic increase in the popularity of Psychology at both A level and degree level has continued. In 2017, it was the third most popular examination subject at A level and it remains in the top five subjects studied at degree level.
Subject content and syllabus
In Psychology, students will study the AQA specification. The A level examination comprises of three papers of two hours each covering all topics from the two year course. The papers comprise of a variety of multiple choice, short answer and extended writing questions. Two papers will consist of compulsory questions but the third will be optional questions. A brief summary of the specification content is given below.
Paper 1: Introductory Topics in Psychology (Social Psychology, Memory, Psychopathology and Attachment)
Paper 2: Psychology in context (Biopsychology, Approaches to Psychology and Research Methods)
Paper 3: Topics in Psychology (Schizophrenia, Relationships, Forensic Psychology and Issues and Debates)
Monitoring and Assessment
At A level, students are assessed regularly through homework and sit end of unit in class timed tests at the end of each half term. In Years 12 and 13 students sit internal ‘mocks’. Public examinations are at the end of Year 13.
Alongside lessons, we organise a number of activities to enhance and complement understanding of the specification content:
- True Life Conferences where time served criminals come in to school to discuss their experiences from the perspective of forensic psychology
- Key speakers such as Dr Guy Sutton, an international neuroscience expert and director and founder of Medical Biology interactive, who covers aspects of the structure and functioning of the brain
- Students design their own research projects which they conduct with real participants around the Sixth form centre and beyond
The demands of Psychology A level are such that it spans the divide between the Arts and Sciences. It is an academically demanding subject. A curiosity about what makes people tick and an enquiring mind are vital for students wanting to study psychology, whilst the ability to read widely, write fluently and critically, and analyse novel situations is essential. As a result, it is an A level that can be used as a stepping stone towards a wide range of competitive degree courses and careers. This is evidenced by a sample of some of our recent students who have gone on to study Law, Medicine, Mathematics, Dentistry, History, Architecture, Computer Science, Neuroscience, Fine Art, Sports Science, Biology and English Literature to name but a few.