Aims of the subject

Psychology is about understanding human behaviour. Pupils will look at a wide range of behaviours and case studies in order to work out why people behave the way they do. They will undertake practical experiments in order to prove or disprove theories, as well as apply the vast amount of knowledge they gain from this fascinating subject. Psychology covers a variety of different skills, which is one reason it is a hugely popular subject nationwide. Parts of the course focus on literacy, with essay questions being part of all exams as well as a lot of new technical vocabulary to learn. They will also need strong skills in both maths and science, as the subject is heavily grounded in both these disciplines. This makes the subject useful to those who are going to continue in either arts or science based routes, and for those who are unsure of what they would like to do once they leave school.  There are high expectations relating to the commitment needed to succeed in psychology, due to most of the course being completely new for all who decide to study it at Key Stage 5.

Courses on offer

We offer AQA Psychology A Level.


The teaching is currently shared between 2 teachers. They each teach three or four units in Year 12 and two in Year 13.

They are taught in a variety of ways, with different activities to keep the pupils engaged. Pupils have responsibility for the organisation of their notes and are expected to complete work independently each week. The aim of this is to help pupils to prepare for the next step, whether that is university, work or further training.

Progression route


Year 12

Pupils study six units in Year 12: memory, attachment, social influence, research methods, approaches (including biopsychology) and psychopathology.

Year 13

In Year 13 pupils will study four units. The compulsory unit is Issues and Debates in Psychology, with the other three being chosen by the course teachers (one from each option).

  • Option 1 – gender
  • Option 2 – eating behaviour
  • Option 3 – forensic psychology

Assessment objectives

AO1 – Describe: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas, processes, techniques and procedures.

AO2 – Apply: Apply knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas, processes, techniques and procedures:

  • in a theoretical context
  • in a practical context
  • when handling qualitative data
  • when handling quantitative data

AO3 – Evaluate: Analyse, interpret and evaluate scientific information, ideas and evidence, including in relation to issues, to:

  • make judgements and reach conclusions
  • develop and refine practical design and procedures

Exam Papers

A Level

Each paper is 2 hours long.

Paper 1 – Social influence, memory, attachment, psychopathology

Paper 2 – Approaches, biopsychology, research methods

Paper 3 – Issues and debates in psychology, gender, eating behaviour and forensic psychology

For more information contact subject leader:

Hannah Waghorn


Content updated September 2018