Gumley House School FCJ

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"Becoming is better than being"

Head of Department:  Mrs M Browne

Psychology is the scientific study of human behaviours and mental functions. It includes studying the conscious/unconscious mind, and does this by covering a large range of sub-disciplines. These include human development, health, clinical, social and cognitive processes.

There are four main goals of psychology - to describe, explain, predict and change.  To help psychologists do this there are a number of perspectives that are used to explore a certain set of behaviours, experiences and mental health issues. These include Behaviourism, Social Learning Theory, Biological, Psychodynamic, Cognitive and Humanistic stances. All of which contain key theories and concepts developed by well known psychologists and tested using experimental methods.

Psychologists try to understand the wider picture, by looking at challenges and changes in a person and how this can have an impact on personal issues or societal problems. The A Level will allow students to discuss and examine psychological concepts, as well as unpick them by analysing/evaluating in an extended writing form.


Learning Journey (KS5)

Curriculum Map (Psychology)

AQA: A Level Exam Specification

  • Entry Criteria for AQA: A Level Study:
    Grade 6 in GCSE English Language and
    Grade 5 in GCSE Mathematics

Introduction by Head of Psychology:

A Level Psychology aims to provide an introduction to the human psyche (mind) as well as how we interact with biological and societal processes. Psychology also explores the human brain, looking at the different regions, what they are responsible for and possible implications of brain injury on everyday life.

Students will have the opportunity to unpack popular questions whilst studying Psychology, such as: 

  • Why do we conform to authority figures? 
  • Can we really rely on our memory in the most critical times? 
  • Do our relationships with our parents determine our future relationships?
  • What makes some people more/less ‘normal’?
  • Or even what causes mental illnesses?

Students will learn how understanding the basics of a concept (such as conformity or attachment), will lead to developing a critical eye of the world around them.

There are a number of exciting units that will be covered over the two years, including introductory areas (Social Influence, Attachment, Memory and Psycho-Pathology) to specific sub-disciplines (Forensic Psychology, Relationships, Stress, Schizophrenia and many more). All of which require demonstrations of content of knowledge, application to case studies, evaluation of theory and statistics/research methods skills.

Hear from some psychology students


Course Outline

Why study this course?
This course is designed for people with no previous experience of the subject and is aimed at people with a desire to learn and an enthusiasm for Psychology – the scientific study of behaviour and mental processes. A Level Psychology will give you an understanding of why people think and why people behave in certain ways. You will learn a variety of skills including analytical thinking, improved communication, problem solving and many more that will prepare you for higher education. Possible career options include marketing, human resources, occupational therapy, clinical psychology, nursing and teaching.

More about studying Psychology

The examination board we follow is AQA

What will I learn?
This course will increase your knowledge and understanding of human behaviour. You will develop a number of valuable skills including how to plan and conduct scientific investigations, how to analyse and interpret data and how to view the world around you from different perspectives. In short, it will improve your critical reasoning ability.

How will I be taught?

You will be expected to be independent and self motivated in your learning. The department has high standards of teaching and we have excellent ICT and film resources. You will be expected to participate in group activities and complete
considerable study in your own time.

How many hours a week private study will I have?

You will need to consolidate your learning through private study/homework for a minimum of six hours each week.

You’ll enjoy this course if…

Psychology is research based so you will need to enjoy doing investigations and finding out about studies carried out by psychologists. You are open to different viewpoints and can consider a variety of explanations for human behaviour.

Course Description

The AQA Psychology specification provides a fascinating introduction to key areas of psychological interest and includes many of the classic studies of famous psychologists. The first year of A Level subject content: Social influence, memory, attachment, approaches in Psychology, Biopsychology, Psychopathology and research methods. The second year of A Level subject content: Issues and debates in Psychology, relationships, stress and aggression.


At A Level there are three exams, consisting of multiple choice, short answer and extended writing questions.
Paper 1: Introductory Topics in Psychology 
External written examination (33.3% of A Level)

Paper 2
Psychology in Context 
External written examination (33.3% of A Level)

Paper 3:
  Issues and Options in Psychology 
External written examination (33.3% of A Level)

For more information, contact Mrs M Browne


Where can Psychology take me?

Psychology A Level is acceptable for entry to a wide range of science, social science and humanities courses in further and higher education. Specialisation could lead to fields such as educational / forensic / clinical / occupational and counselling psychology. These will require postgraduate study and can lead to becoming a chartered psychologist within the NHS or private sector, offering therapy to rehabilitate patients.

Other related professions Psychology can lead to: social work, mental health nurse, researcher, media/advertising, teacher, working in the police force and the child care profession.