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Exam Board and Specification Codes: AQA (7182) 

Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behaviour. This specification has been designed to provide a broad introduction to the subject with a focus on the human mind – the most complex system on earth and the source of all our thoughts and behaviours. 

Psychology is a science subject in the national curriculum and 10% of it is biology, 10% maths and 25% research methods.

Students must not worry if these subjects are not their strengths, many humanity students take Psychology and we will offer extra support if any student is struggling with the scientific elements. Alongside developing your understanding of the topics and learning how to apply them, you will also develop essential transferable skills such as analysis, evaluation and critical thinking.

What is covered by the course? 

Year 1 

Component 1 - Memory 

Students will investigate major theoretical models of memory including the differences between short and long-term memory and the application of these to real world issues such as improving the accuracy of eye witness testimony 

Component 2 - Research Methods 

  • These methods are embedded throughout the whole course and students carry out a number of practical demonstrations 
  • Deep understanding of research methods enables students to critically evaluate psychological studies as well as research beyond psychology 

Component 3 - Approaches 

Students will explore key psychological approaches, or “perspectives” in psychology, for example, Freud and his psychodynamic theory and how the Behaviourists believe we are born a ‘blank slate’ and learn everything from our environment 

Component 4 - Issues and Debates 

Students will learn and debate controversial issues and questions in psychology such as whether research is gender biased and if free will really exists. 

Component 5 - Social Influence 

Students will discover the psychology behind why we are obedient (or not!) to authority figures and why we tend to conform when we are in the presence of a group 

Component 6 - Psychopathology 

We will investigate the definitions, explaining and treatments for three common mental health issues; phobias, depression and OCD 

Year 2 

Component 7 - Attachment 

Students will explore the evolutionary and nurturing reasons for why infants attach to their primary caregivers and the consequences that can happen when attachments are not formed 

Component 8 - Biopsychology 

Students will learn what functions occur in different parts of the brain and how the brain can recover after injury, as well as how the brain can be scientifically studied 

Component 9 - Gender 

We will investigate biological and environmental determinants of gender and how these can impact cultural differences in gender identity 

Component 10 - Aggression 

Students will use the knowledge from approaches, research methods and issues and debates to explore the difference theories concerning why people can act aggressively and how this had practical implications, for example, in prisons 

Component 11 - Schizophrenia 

Students will explore the biological and environmental explanations for schizophrenia and the problems psychologists encounter when trying to diagnose and treat complex disorders such as this 

How is it examined? 

Paper 1 - Written Assessment (2 hours) 

  • Comprises assessment of knowledge, application and evaluation of the key topics, like memory, social influence, attachment and psychopathology 

  • 33.33% of the A-Level 

Paper 2 - Written Assessment (2 hours) 

  • Comprises assessment of knowledge, application and evaluation of the key topics of approaches and biopsychology as well as a one-hour long section assessing research methods 
  • 33.33% of the A-Level 

Paper 3 - Written Assessment (2 hours) 

  • Comprises assessment of knowledge, application and evaluation of the key topics, such as issues and debates, gender aggression and schizophrenia 
  • 33.33% of the A-Level 

Related university courses & careers? 

Psychology works well in combination with many other subjects, both sciences and humanities. It is considered a science subject by universities, giving a sound grounding in critical analysis, research and independent thinking – skills needed for many degrees and careers. Pupils do not need to have studied psychology at GCSE level. 

The type of degrees or careers that pupils may pursue include Medicine, Dentistry, Biology, Nursing, Advertising, Psychotherapy, Educational Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Education, Child Development, Social work and Forensic Science. 

Suggested literature & resources 

Subscribe to 

Literary texts 

‘Quirkology’ by Richard Wiseman (2015) 
‘The Psychopath Test’ by Jon Ronson (2012) 
‘Kluge: The haphazard construction of the human mind’ by Gary Marcus (2008) 
‘Delusions of Gender’ by Cordelia Fine (2008) 
‘The Lucifer effect’ by Philip Zimbardo (2008) 


‘One flew over the cuckoo’s nest’ (1975) 
‘A beautiful mind’ (2002) 

Lower School

Kensington Park School (Years 7-11),
40-44 Bark Place,
W2 4AT

Tel: +44 (0)20 7616 4400

Sixth Form

Kensington Park School Sixth Form,
59 Queen's Gate,
South Kensington, London,

Tel: +44 (0)20 7225 0577

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