Psychology is often called the science of mind and behaviour. By using scientific methods, we attempt to explain how the mind works and why people behave in the way that they do. It is an ideal subject to take if you are planning on any career which involves extensive interaction with other people. Psychology is not just an academic subject, but a life skill – what could be more important than understanding other people?
Ideally, you should have at least a grade 5/6 or above in the following GCSE subjects: A discursive subject (which contains a lot of essay writing), such as English or History, Maths or Science (combined or single subject sciences).
Paper 1: Introductory Topics in Psychology – Social Influence, Memory, and Attachment.
Paper 2: Psychology in Context – Approaches in Psychology, Psychopathology, Biopsychology and Research Methods.
Paper 1 and Paper 2 as above Paper 3: Issues and Options in Psychology – Issues and Debates in Psychology, plus three topics: Gender, Schizophrenia and Aggression.
|3 examination papers|
You will take three written examinations for the full A-level; each one is externally assessed and marked out of 96.
Paper 1: Candidates answer four compulsory questions which require multiple choice answers, short answers and extended writing. This exam forms 33.3% of the A-level. (2 hours)
Paper 2: Candidates answer three compulsory questions which require multiple choice answers, short answers and extended writing. This exam forms 33.3% of the A-level. (2 hours)
Paper 3: Candidates answer one compulsory question and three questions from optional topics which require multiple choice answers, short answers and extended writing. This exam forms 33.3% of the A-level. (2 hours)
Where does it lead?
Former psychology students can be found in almost every profession these days. Studying the subject for A-level may be useful if you wish to pursue a graduate course in Psychology, but is not essential. Many students who have studied psychology go on to work in careers which involve a lot of contact with other people or involve the need to understand other people’s motivations, such as teaching, journalism, advertising, acting, business, sports coaching, police work, public health, politics … the list is endless.
Introducing Psychology: A Graphic Guide by Nigel C. Benson
50 Psychology Ideas You Really Need to Know by Adrian Furnham (available on kindle)
The Rough Guide to Psychology by Dr Christian Jarrett (available on kindle)