The AQA A Level Psychology qualification offers an engaging and effective introduction to the subject which appeals to a cross-section of students, regardless of whether they have studied it before.
The qualifications are linear, with the students sitting all of their A Level exams at the end of the two-year course. Students learn the fundamentals of the subject and develop skills valued by Higher Education and employers, including critical analysis, independent thinking and research.
Research is an integral part of the course and pupils will be expected to carry out a variety of practical work. The course builds upon their analytical and research capacities, developing sufficient skills to enable them to design and conduct research in the subject area.
Student feedback suggests that they find the subjects very relevant to their own lives, and that they enjoy finding out about the science behind topics such as eating behaviours, psychopathology, addiction and memory.
It helps them to understand what is going on around them and how they can put some of the knowledge gained into practice; an example of this is their deploying memory techniques which improve their study skills, and this is of benefit to them in their other Sixth Form subjects.
There are three exam papers, all of them lasting two hours and covering 96 marks in total. Each paper is worth 33.3% of the final A Level:
Paper 1 – Introductory topics in Psychology
Paper 2 – Psychology in context
Approaches in Psychology
Paper 3 – Issues and options in Psychology
Issues and debates in Psychology
Cognition and development