Psychology - AS and A Level

Exam Board: AQA

Introduction to the Course

Psychology is the scientific study of behaviour and mental processes.  It is primarily concerned with the investigation of what people do and why they do it.  Psychology gives us an insight into the influence of a person’s environment on their behaviour, as well as the influence of biological factors such as genetics, the central nervous system, hormones and neurotransmitters.  The full Advanced Level qualification is a two-year course.

Entry Requirements

Standard entry requirements including: English Language, Mathematics and at least one Science at Grade 6 or above.

Course Content

In Year 1 students will study the course content for Paper 1 and Paper 2, which consists of the following topics; Social influence, memory, attachment, psychopathology, research methods, biopsychology and approaches in psychology.

In Year 2 students will study the course content for Paper 3, which consists of the following topics; issues and debates in psychology and one topic from the following three option blocks.  These are subject to change:

  • Relationships, Gender, Cognition and Development,
  • Schizophrenia, Eating Behaviour, Stress,
  • Aggression, Forensic Psychology, Addiction.

The study of Psychology A Level encourages the development of skills in comprehension, interpretation and analysis for both quantitative and qualitative data, as well as the construction of balanced, logical and coherent argument.  This increases confidence and self-awareness and will enhance students’ future education and career opportunities.  A range of approaches are used, including in-depth studies of previous research, student research, video, discussion and note-taking.  Learning objectives are set for each module and these may be assessed in a variety of ways, for example, essays, presentations and research reports.  Students are expected to take part in discussions and conduct extended learning outside of the classroom.  There is an increasing emphasis on students taking more responsibility for their own learning as the course proceeds.


All examinations will take place at the end of Year 12;

  • Paper 1: Social Influence, Memory, Attachment and Psychopathology.
    • Written examination: 2 hours
    • Total Marks: 96
    • Total A Level: 33.3%
  • Paper 2: Approaches, Biopsychology and Research Methods
    • Written examination: 2 hours
    • Total Marks: 96
    • Total A Level: 33.3%
  • Paper 3: Issues and Debates and: Relationships, Gender or Cognition and Development; Schizophrenia, Eating Behaviour or Stress; Aggression, Forensic Psychology or Addiction.
    • Written examination: 2 hours
    • Total Marks: 96
    • Total A Level: 33.3%

Future Career Progression

Psychology is an excellent preparation for Higher Education as it develops the relevant skills necessary for success at this level. Universities also recognise Psychology as a science in the same right as Chemistry, Physics and Biology.  Some careers which follow directly from the study of Psychology are; Doctor of Psychology (clinical, educational, forensic and counselling), marketing, advertising, human resource management, police, teaching, social work, occupational psychology, mental health nursing, and disabilities support worker (SEN).

This subject links well with many others including; Biology, Mathematics, Sociology, English and Medical Sciences.

Download Course Expectations (PDF).