GCSE: years 10 and 11
The intent of the Psychology GCSE is to introduce students to the scientific method underpinning psychological research. Students explore this in the context of a wide range of theories and studies from different eras and approaches in Psychology. Students complete the course with a sound understanding of the complexity and diversity of the subject.
Topics covered include:
- Memory: this topic explores the early cognitive models of memory, such as the Multi-store Model, and critiques with evidence for and against, helping develop evaluation skills of laboratory-based research, alongside scientifically descriptive writing.
- Perception: this topic explores how cultural and experiential differences between individuals can change how we perceive stimulus in our visual field. It explores how we process visual information to make sense of it.
- Child Development: here we explore how humans develop cognitive skills such as logical reasoning between babyhood and teenage years. We explore how observational techniques can be used reliably and scientifically to create credible learning theories.
- Research Methods: running throughout the course, this component focuses on how we investigate behaviour, and the issues with choosing one method over another. This includes the maths content that makes up 10% of the final grade.
- Social Influence: Exploring some of the most famous studies into conformity and obedience, we explore the question “How do others influence our behaviour?” We also explore the ethical questions that psychological research creates.
- Language, Thought and communication: We ask the question “What comes first, language or thought?” and explore the evidence for both hypothesis. We also look at how non-human animal evidence may act as support and the limitations of using this research.
- Brain and Neuropsychology: The most biological of the components, this topic explores the structure and functions of different brain areas. This includes theories of how our brains process and organise information, such as Hebb’s theory suggesting neurons that “Fire together, wire together”.
- Psychological Problems: Here we explore theories and treatments for the psychological disorders of Unipolar Depression and Addiction. We consider how research can be applied to real life situations.
A full break down of the specification can be found at: https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/psychology/gcse/psychology-8182
GCSE Psychology Revision: https://learndojo.org/gcse/aqa-psychology/
A Level: Years 12 and 13
The intent of the Psychology A-level is to ensure students have a diverse range of knowledge and skills with which to explore Psychology further at a higher level. This includes giving students opportunities to carry out research themselves, and to develop their understanding of how existing research is flawed or could be improved. Students develop critical thinking skills alongside core knowledge and are encouraged to learn independently and critique with increasing sophistication.
- Memory: We explore how early cognitive research developed, and how theory has developed real world applications such as the Cognitive Interview. We further explore the effect of different factors on memory accuracy and relate this to Eyewitness Testimony
- Social Influence: Developing on from our understanding of influential research into the effects of others on whether we obey or conform, we explore how personality and situational factors can change our responses, and how theory might explain societal change.
- Attachment: Here we explore how the relationships formed in early childhood can affect us in childhood and later life, and the ethical implications of researching attachment.
- Psychopathology: Incorporating biopsychology, we investigate theories and treatments for OCD, Depression and Phobias. We consider how the biological and psychological theories differ and compare.
- Research Methods: Running throughout the course, this component focuses on how we investigate behaviour and the issues created when one method is chosen over another. This includes the maths content that makes up 10% of the course and continues into Year 2.
- Approaches in Psychology: Here we compare the different theoretical stand points that researchers adopt. For example, how is biopsychology different to social psychology, or what assumptions do cognitive theorists make about the brain and behaviour? This continues into Year 2
- Relationships: Option topic 1, we explore economic theories of romantic relationships and compare with biological and psychodynamic theories.
- Schizophrenia: Option topic 2, we consider the psychological and biological theories of Schizophrenia, and how these theories develop treatments.
- Forensic Psychology: Option topic 3, we consider biological and psychological theories of crime, how crime can be treated and effective interventions to reduce crime and rates of recidivism.
- Issues and Debates in Psychology: Here we compare the different debates in psychology such as whether research should be reductionist or holistic, are we better explained by nature or nurture, and should we carry out socially sensitive research. This topic aims to develop students’ ability to think critically about the research we have explored and consider alternative ways of investigating.
The full specification can be found at: https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/psychology/as-and-a-level/psychology-7181-7182
A-level Psychology Revision: https://learndojo.org/a-level/aqa-psychology/