How much control do you have over your own behaviour? Are we the product of our environments and genes? Where do we draw the line between normal and abnormal behaviour?

Lots of us think about ourselves as people watchers. And we are. Without thinking about it, you are a psychologist, you are constantly reading the behaviour of others and making decisions about them and how you should act in response.

The real question is do you want to think harder about what it is you are doing. The Psychology A level formalizes this process and puts a serious scientific underpinning to our attempts to explain human behaviour.

You will draw heavily from behavioural, biological and mathematical sciences and concentrate on the critical evaluation of explanations. You will also look at the practical applications of our understanding to areas such as parenting, therapies for mental illness, memory and learning and creating social change. After all, what’s the point of being a psychologist if you can’t mess with people’s heads.

In addition to the specific content, the course will provide you with essential skills in research and critical analysis that will be transferrable to any further study or work. If you have any intention to work with people, the course will have long-term benefits in helping you understand the needs and motivations of others.

Exam Board
AQA (specification A)

The course coverage can be divided into 2.
Specific topics. Including memory, attachment, social influence, abnormality, aggression, brain function, cognitive development, aggression and schizophrenia.
Over-arching topics. These are designed to develop your overall understanding and ability to critically analyse. They include, approaches to psychology, research methods, issues and debates in psychology and psychology as a science.

Psychology A level is heavily weighted towards biological science and has a significant maths content. It is its broad coverage that makes it so valuable to combine with just about every other subject. Most degree courses will now have some psychology component. Typically, many young people will start to think about professional psychology such as clinical or occupational, but there is no limit to the application of psychology to the world of work and you should consider it one of the most flexible and useful things you can do. After all, most careers involve other human beings.

Preparatory Reading
The Lucifer Effect (Philip Zimbardo)

The Mis-measure of Man (Stephen J Gould)

The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat (Oliver Sacks)

50 Ideas You Really Need to Know – Psychology (Adrian Furnham)