Sixth Form
Course title: AQA GCE A Level Psychology 7182, AQA-7181-7182-SP-2015.PDF

What are the knowledge and skills that students will gain over Key Stage 5?

The study of AQA Psychology develops skills of understanding and critical evaluation of human and animal behaviour within specific contexts. Psychology students develop an appreciation of the influence of Biological and environmental factors on their own and others’ minds, behaviour and experience. The focus on knowledge of psychology theories and topics enable students to carefully examine, measure and evaluate the significance of research in a scientific way. Students learn the principles of psychological methods of research which enables them to carry out their own small-scale studies.

Students will:

  • Acquire knowledge and a critical understanding of Psychology Approaches, theories and selected topic areas
  • Develop an understanding of psychology through a Biological perspective, including the scientific aspects of Biopsychology, as it is known.
  • Appreciate the evaluation of theories and topics in the context of culture, gender, age, ethnicity, and era
  • Understand and evaluate psychological methodology and a range of research methods, as well as mathematical and statistical analysis, through active involvement in the research process within BPS ethical guidelines.
  • Develop an appreciation of how psychology theories change and develop over time and are influenced by contemporary breakthroughs in knowledge of Biopsychology, scanning and treatment of abnormal conditions.
  • Understand how to improve and enhance personal interaction through their study
  • Develop a deeper understanding of their own mind and behaviour.

Why is it delivered in this way?

Approaches and methods of research are compulsory, but topic areas are specifically selected to meet synoptic perspectives required in the examination. There is also scope for cross-curricular links with other subjects on our Sixth Form curriculum offer, such as History, Sociology, and Sports Psychology. In Year 12, the order of delivery does not follow the content order dictated by Paper 1, 2 and 3 , but instead focuses first on the early Approaches, including Biopsychology, (Paper 2) and research methods as these form the foundation for understanding further topics. Additionally, the emphasis is on mastering the extensive use of subject terminology which is unfamiliar to Year 11 who have not studied Psychology at GCSE. The topics selected for year one of study include Memory, as it enables students to understand how they themselves learn and revise, and Social Influence which links to History at GCSE and A level. Attachment and Psychopathology are also covered as the latter deals with mental health and can therefore be useful for students dealing with exam stress. These four topics constitute Paper 1.

In Year 13, Forensic Psychology will be covered, having been introduced at the end of Year 12 when students follow their own choice of ‘crime’ to produce an A2 poster created over the summer holidays. Students will then study the more demanding Psychodynamic and Humanist Approaches. The challenging topic of Schizophrenia is covered, plus Gender, selected because much of the research included in other topics has gender bias/application, hence enabling a synotic perspective. Finally, Issues and Debates are considered, allowing a comprehensive drawing together of all of the theory and Approaches dealt with over the course. This is a complex skill and demands that students adopt an eclectic viewpoint, enabling them to confidently apply and evaluate Psychology theory in the real world.

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