The Psychology Department provides a challenging, intensive and enriching educational experience. It is designed to introduce students to current research, encourage active involvement via group discussions, presentations and workshop activities.
Reasons for studying the subject are varied and range from career aspirations to intrinsic interest. Psychology is accepted as an academically demanding A Level for 99% of current undergraduate courses and therefore is eclectic in its educational value. It is particularly useful for medicine, allied NHS careers and Law.
Psychology is not offered at this level.
Psychology is not currently offered at GCSE level.
Board: AQA Specification 7182
The specification is linear and pupils will be tested at the end of two years via three examination papers.
Psychology involves 'the scientific study of mind and behaviour'. Pupils are given an overall view of several major perspectives in Psychology and will concentrate on seven areas:
- Cognitive Psychology (the study of memory and eyewitness testimony)
- Developmental Psychology (the study of attachment and institutionalisation)
- Forensic Psychology (biological and psychological theories of criminals and crime) (Option 1)
- Schizophrenia (Option 2)
- Relationships (Option 3)
- Atypical Behaviour (depression, OCD, phobias, Schizophrenia)
- Social Psychology (social influence)
- Humanistic Psychology (Year 2)
- Psychodynamic Approach (Year 2)
Research design and statistics will also be taught as part of Year 1 and consolidated and extended in Year 2. After successful completion of Year 1, pupils progress to studying theoretical aspects of psychology such as Schizophrenia, Relationships and Forensic Psychology in Year 2.
There is also a large compulsory philosophical element to the final year known as the Issues, Debates and Approach section (IDAs), for example whether psychology is a science, free will versus determination issues in conjunction with future research design and statistics. Psychology and its impact on the economy and real world application of psychological research is an integral part of the course.
Examination Structure (A Level linear)
Paper 1 (2 hours)
Consists of the topics of Social Influence, Memory, Attachment and Psychopathology.
Paper 2 (2 hours)
Consists of approaches in Psychology, Biopsychology and research methods.
2 hour written paper with a compulsory section on Issues and Debates and questions on Relationships, Schizophrenia and Forensic Psychology, although these topics are subject to change dependent upon pupil interest.
Research methods are present on all three papers.
Up to date research can be accessed through the Psychology Twitter Feed and the use of several apps suggested by subject staff.
Research methods are assessed throughout and biological psychology is explicit. The Government requirements for this specification are that 25-30% of Psychology assessment should focus on research methods and 10% is mathematical content.
Attendance at pupil conferences.
Sixth Form Film Society.
Participation in local university research studies.
Guest speakers relating to course content.
The department actively encourages the use of social media to extend psychological knowledge and appropriate websites will be shared with pupils.
Psychology is defined as "the scientific study of mind and behaviour" (Gross 1981)
This challenging and academically demanding subject has proved to be extremely popular in the Sixth Form at KGS since its introduction to the Sixth Form in 1995 and has attracted many pupils each year. It is a versatile subject to study at A Level and is classed as a scientific subject at the majority of UK universities where competition for undergraduate places in Psychology is high. It is accepted as an appropriate A Level for 99% of undergraduate courses including Psychology, medicine and allied medical careers, Law, Business related, Sports related and Mathematics degrees (pupils must check the individual subject requirements at their chosen university because university undergraduate admission requirements will vary). It is a highly desirable A Level for most apprenticeships and for anyone wishing to pursue a career in the police, fire or prison service.
Psychology gives an insight into why people behave as they do. Investigations, research design and statistics are an integral part of both Year 1 and Year 2 of the course. Biological knowledge is also developed throughout the course, particularly in terms of investigating the central nervous system, hormones and neurotransmitters and the effects of all these factors on typical/atypical behaviour. Pupils will be expected to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of Psychological concepts and theories and are required to develop the skills to undertake and analyse research. In Year 1 pupils will study social influence, memory, attachment, approaches in Psychology, BioPsychology, Psychopathology and research methods. In Year 2 there are optional areas to study in addition to a compulsory section on issues and debates. The current choice of areas to study are: Relationships, Forensic Psychology and Schizophrenia (please note that these topics are subject to change). Research design and statistics may be examined on all three papers but it is always examined thoroughly on Paper 2.
The approved AQA A Level specification (7182/1/2/3) is taught over two years. An underlying principle of the course is to engage pupils in the subject and provide effective assessment across the ability range. Year 1 and Year 2 subject content will be examined in three papers at the end of Year 2.
This linear method of examination will consist of three two hour examinations (Papers 1, 2 and 3). All papers will consist of compulsory sections with Paper 3 also containing three subject options. The government requirements are that 25-30% of psychology assessment should focus on research methods and statistics and 10% (within the 25%) should be mathematical content.
Psychology A Level combines well with many other A Level subjects but particularly Biology, Mathematics and Physical Education. Pupils who wish to go into Medicine or Dentistry should study Psychology at least to AS level if not beyond.
Potential careers for A Level Psychology pupils:
Counselling Psychology and Psychotherapy
Personnel related courses
Human Resource Management