King James' School


What’s it all about? 

The course provides an interesting and varied introduction to psychology by focusing on a wide range of different topic areas. Key theories and pieces of research are studied and students will be taught to critically examine theories that have been developed by a number of well-known psychologists including; Freud, Bowlby, Skinner and Zimbardo. Year one covers a wide range of different types of human behaviour and thought. Year two further develops the key themes and topics whilst incorporating psychological research & the scientific method and investigating an area of psychopathology. 

Students who typically do well in Psychology A level are those who possess strong academic skills, aspiring to a very wide variety of higher education pathways. It is very important that students enter the course with sound literacy and numeracy skills and the ability to think scientifically. From the beginning of their academic studies, they will be expected to fully engage with material that requires a basic knowledge of the experimental method, basic ability to use statistical analysis techniques (e.g. mean, median, mode and correlation) and the English language skills to design and reverse the meaning of items in a questionnaire. Students have to be flexible and critical in their thinking, and they also need to have a natural tendency to enjoy a debate! 

Exam and Assessment Information: 

AQA Specification A 

Students will be required to complete multiple choice, short answer and extended writing responses.  During the A Level Modules 1, 2 and 3 are examined in the summer of year two.  All Modules are equally weighted.  The A level award has three exams weighted at 33% each.


AS Paper 1 - Exam 50%

Introductory Topics in Psychology

Social influence;     Memory;     Attachment

AS Paper 2 - Exam 50%

Psychology in Context.

Approaches in Psychology;     Psychopathology;

Research methods 


A Level Paper 1 - Exam 33.3%

Introductory Topics in Psychology

Compulsory content

Social influence;     Memory;     Attachment;      Psychopathology

A Level Paper 2 - Exam 33.3%

Psychology in context

Compulsory content;     Approaches in Psychology;  Biopsychology;     Research methods 

A Level Paper 3 - Exam 33.3%

Issues and Options in Psychology

Compulsory content

Exploring the issues and debates in psychology is part of exam paper 3.

A choice of one from each option block - to be decided by the Psychology team. 

Option 1: Relationships;     Gender;      Cognition and development

Option 2: Schizophrenia;     Eating behaviour;     Stress 

Option 3:  Aggression;     Forensic psychology;     Addiction

To get started: 

Students need to be able to work across disciplines so will need grade C in GCSE Maths, English Language and Science.  Students will be required to analyse data, create extended pieces of essay writing and conduct scientific research.  As a subject new to students at KS5 it moves quickly.  Students must be organised and prepared to work independently and engage in wider reading.

What next? 

Psychology A level is considered to be an excellent entry qualification for a wide range of degree courses and graduate careers. Clinical psychology, sports psychology, occupational psychology and forensic psychology are all becoming increasingly popular graduate career choices.  An A level in Psychology may be welcomed by a huge variety of university departments, for example business studies, humanities, the biological sciences, Education  and all the social sciences. It should be noted that studying psychology demonstrates that you are a “good all-rounder” as you must be able to execute scientific investigations, discuss and evaluate research in essays and complete data analysis. These skills give psychology students a wealth of transferable skills which is essential in today’s changing employment market.

Our students say … 

“Psychology is a challenging subject that requires a lot of revision. Nonetheless, I would advise you to take Psychology as it is a fascinating, exciting and enjoyable subject which is very rewarding.”  S Foster 

“Psychology wasn’t something I planned on taking any further than A Level until I started the course, then decided I want to do it at university.  It is different to other subjects, but easily applied to everything.”  A Wright 

There are aspects of this course that are mathematical, you may want to support this subject with a Level 3 Certificate in Mathematical Studies.  The details of this can be found on page 28.