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Psychology

Psychology is the scientific study of the human mind and its functions, especially those affecting behaviour in a given context. It is derived from the Greek words psyche meaning mind, soul or spirit and logos meaning discourse or study.

Psychology bridges the gap between arts and sciences and so integrates well alongside a wide combination of subjects from the traditional three sciences of Biology, Chemistry and Physics through to the arts and humanities.  
 
 
Many students choose psychology in order to study a new subject and to try something different from the subjects they have taken at GCSE.  At Queen Mary’s High School it is assumed that nobody has studied psychology before and so students are given a full grounding and preparation in the subject to enable them to achieve their best in the examinations. The AQA specification A is followed.

Not only is it an exciting and intriguing subject, which many students choose to pursue to degree level at numerous top universities, but it also provides an ideal foundation for many university courses from subjects such as medicine and law, through to subjects such as criminology and teaching.

AS Level Course content:
At AS Level, students develop a broad knowledge and understanding of the core areas of psychology (social psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, biological psychology and individual differences).

Assessment (AS Level):
Unit 1: Written paper – 1 hour 30 minutes (50% of AS level, 25% of total A level)
Structured compulsory questions based on Cognitive Psychology, Developmental Psychology and Research Methods.  Questions include short answer, stimulus material and one or more 12 mark questions requiring extended writing in which QWC (quality of written communication) will be assessed.

Unit 2: Written paper – 1 hour 30 minutes (50% of AS level, 25% of total A level)
Three compulsory structured questions; one based on Biological Psychology content, one based on Social Psychology content and one based on the Individual Differences content.  Questions include short answer, stimulus material and one 12 or more mark question requiring extended writing in which QWC will be assessed.

A2 Level Course content:
At A2 Level, the specification offers a chance to study a number of areas which are the subject of intensive research in modern-day psychology, and gives the students an opportunity to bring together explanations from different psychological approaches and engage students in issues and debates in psychology.

Assessment (A2 Level):
Unit 3: Written paper – 1 hour 30 minutes (25% of total A Level) - Three essay-style questions.
Unit 4: Written paper – 2 hours (25% of total A Level) - Three sections:-
  • Psychopathology – One essay / series of structured questions
  • Psychology in Action – One essay / series of structured questions
  • Research Methods – A series of structured questions
Guidance on award of A* from examination boards - Grade A* is awarded to candidates who have gained at least 320/400 UMS (80%) on the A Level as a whole and a total of at least 180/200 UMS (90%) on the A2 Level units.