How can we control crowds, so they are more compliant? What factors contribute to mental health disorders such as schizophrenia and anorexia? How has knowledge and understanding of memory helped those with dyslexia, ADHD and Alzheimers? How can we improve the accuracy of our memory? What are the implications for society if aggression is due to nature (biology) rather than nurture (upbringing)? If these questions intrigue you, perhaps psychology is the course for you.


What will I learn?

Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and how it influences our behaviour; from communication and memory to thought and emotion. As a science, psychology functions as both a thriving academic discipline and a vital professional practice. It’s about understanding what makes people tick and how this understanding can help us address many of the problems and issues in society today.

Students will follow the Edexcel specification. 


Year 12

Paper 1

  • Social psychology – research into obedience and prejudice and discrimination
  • Cognitive psychology – models of memory
  • Biopsychology – the central nervous system, drug addiction and theories of aggression
  • Learning Theories/ Behaviourism – theories of how we learn, phobias and how they can be treated.


Year 13

Paper 2

  • Clinical psychology – theories and treatments in relation to schizophrenia and anorexia
  • Criminal psychology – biological and psychological theories to explain criminality, factors that affect jury decision making and eyewitness testimony.


Paper 3

Synoptic review of content covered and skills developed, including:

  • Review of methodology
  • Review of classic studies
  • Issues and debates such as whether psychology is a science, is behaviour due to nature or nurture, issues surrounding socially sensitive research and gender/ cultural bias that exists within research, amongst others.

Part of the course involves students carrying out their own practical investigations. You will apply your knowledge of the various research methods covered to design studies investigating a particular aim. You will be given time to carry out experiments, questionnaires, observations and content analysis to fully understand the processes involved in conducting research.

Students will be well versed in ‘thinking’ like a psychologist and you will focus on the fundamental areas that have laid the foundations of modern psychological understanding, and then develop this further by considering how our understanding of psychology has evolved and how it has been applied today. At the end of each topic area students get to choose a real-life event/ phenomenon of relevance to today’s society and apply their knowledge to demonstrate their understanding and explain how society has/ can be improved.


How will I be assessed?

Students will be assessed at the end of the two-year course through three externally assessed examinations.

  • Paper 1 - Foundations of Psychology – worth 35% of final grade; 90 marks awarded
  • Paper 2 - Applications of Psychology – worth 35% of final grade; 90 marks awarded
  • Paper 3 - Psychological Skills – worth 30% of final grade; 80 marks awarded


Entrance requirements

Due to the academic nature of the course, the following minimum entrance criteria apply:

  • Minimum of grade 6 in English and mathematics
  • Minimum of grade 5 in additional science or minimum of grade 5 in biology, physics and/ or chemistry


Where might the course take me?

If you are considering this subject, you will be someone with an investigative, enquiring mind, who is prepared to read extensively and not be discouraged by independent work. A qualification in psychology is valuable in its own right and is particularly effective to read for degrees in medicine and science. The subject provides evidence of students having acquired skills in research methods, making it appropriate for degrees in the social and political sciences. Additionally, an A Level in psychology is highly appropriate for a career in management or the public sector.