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A-Level Psychology

Psychology literally means ‘the study of the mind’. It is a rich and varied discipline combining the scientific study of research and theory with the logical skill of Mathematics, and the analytical and linguistic skills of Literature and Language. Teaching styles are varied, from introducing new topics using a more didactic, teacher-led style, to a student-led approach involving independent learning and research for specific extracurricular presentations. Consolidation of material is key and covered in a variety of ways to suit different learning styles. Homework typically involves tasks that contribute to the consolidation and revision of material ready for assessment, or preparation and research for a new topic on the specification.

We study the AQA specification at HGS, which is considered by many higher education institutions to be the most challenging. Both Mrs Edwards and Mrs Maydom teach Psychology and Mrs Edwards has been an examiner for AQA Psychology for ten years. Internal assessments are a very frequent part of the A Level course, taking place at the end of every unit of work. Essay assessments under examination conditions are also a regular feature, in order to practise and develop exam technique most effectively. Exploring and learning how to answer exam questions is an integral part of lesson time from the very outset of the course.

A highlight of the A Level course is a live interactive workshop on Forensic Psychology with Dr Guy Sutton, Honorary Assistant Professor at University of Nottingham Medical School, where students also engage in a brain dissection.

Students develop a thorough grounding in the multiple areas of Psychology, as well as in-depth knowledge of research methods and awareness of the shift of psychological paradigms throughout history. Students also learn about phenomena beyond the confines of the A Level specification, particularly in order to foster independent learning and research skills in preparation for undergraduate study.

The strong skills that students develop through the study of Psychology form an excellent foundation for degree-level study. Skills such as critical thinking, logical analysis of research, independent learning, and comparing and contrasting theories are invaluable in any undergraduate or post-graduate course.

Psychology has a broad range of real-world applications in everyday life and offers excellent career prospects. Besides the obvious path through which you can become a Chartered Psychologist, a Psychology degree would allow you to enter careers such as social work, HR, media, business, teaching, nursing - any career that involves working with people. The transferable skills you will gain will aid you in many different areas of both your academic and professional life.

Subject content:

Compulsory content:

  1. Social influence
  2. Memory
  3. Attachment
  4. Psychopathology
  5. Approaches in Psychology
  6. Biopsychology
  7. Research methods
  8. Issues and debates in psychology

Optional content:

Option 1

  1. Relationships
  2. Gender
  3. Cognition and development

Option 2

  1. Schizophrenia
  2. Eating behaviour
  3. Stress

Option 3

  1. Aggression
  2. Forensic psychology
  3. Addiction

See for further information.

Teaching staff

Mrs Eleanor Edwards - Head of Department

Ms Katharine Hobbiger