If you choose to study A-Level Psychology then you will be learning about the nature of psychology as a science. You will become aware of how the human mind develops and what factors may influence this development. You will also develop extensive research skills that are applicable in a wide range of careers.
A specific arrangement of units is required for certification, made up of AS-Level units and A2-level units. You will study four set units. The assessment for A-Level Psychology is by exam.
Over the course, you will undergo at least 360 guided learning hours over a two-year period. These guided learning hours are levels set by the government on how much time the tutor at your sixth form or college has to be present to give guidance (such as lectures, tutorials etc.) towards your award.
AQA offer AS-Level Psychology A and AS-Level Psychology B:
- AQA AS-Level Psychology A
In the Cognitive Psychology, Developmental Psychology and Research Methods unit, you will learn about concepts, theories and studies around Cognitive Psychology and Developmental Psychology. You will also develop understanding of research methods. In the Biological Psychology, Social Psychology and Individual Differences unit, you will explore individual differences, social psychology and biological psychology.
- AQA AS-Level Psychology B
In Introducing Psychology, you will design and carry out informal research and you will learn about key approaches and concepts in psychology, such as Biological, Behaviourist, Cognitive and Humanistic. In the second unit, Social Psychology, Cognitive Psychology and Individual Differences you will focus on social influence, social cognition, cognitive psychology and differences in individuals.
- WJEC AS-Level Psychology
In the first unit, Approaches in Psychology you will focus on the four major perspectives of Biological, Psychodynamic, Behaviourist and Cognitive approaches. You will develop understanding of these approaches as well as how they relate to theory and therapy. In Psychology: Core studies and Applied Research Methods you will explore the nature and practice of enquiry within psychology and you will research and evaluate a selection of studies across the four major perspectives.
- Edexcel AS-Level Psychology
In Social and Cognitive Psychology, you will learn about obedience and prejudice, memory and forgetting. Although the focus is upon these topics, you will also learn a number of key concepts around Social and Cognitive Psychology. In Understanding the Individual, you will study Psychodynamic Approach, the Biological Approach and the Learning Approach. Alongside this, you will be able to carry out a practical experiment.
- University of Cambridge International Examinations AS-Level Psychology
You will study five core topics:
- Cognitive psychology
- Social psychology
- Developmental psychology
- Physiological psychology
- The psychology of individual differences
within these, you will be able to analyse and evaluate implications of psychology, apply psychological concepts to problems and everyday life and also demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of psychology. You will also focus on the key areas of education, health, environment, abnormality and organisations.
- OCR AS-Level Psychology
In Psychological Investigations, you will focus on self-report experiment, observation and correlation in relation to collecting and analysing data. In Core Studies, you will focus on three studies from the five psychological approaches of social, cognitive, physiological, developmental and individual differences.
The A2 Psychology is the equivalent of the second year of study of A-Level Psychology. This is not a separate award. The A2 –Level Psychology with the AS-Level Psychology makes up the A-Level Psychology. A2-Level Psychology will further develop your knowledge from AS-Level Psychology.
AQA offer A2 Psychology A and A2 Psychology B:
- AQA A2 Psychology A
In the Topics in Psychology, you will study in detail three of the following topics:
- Biological rhythms and sleep
- Eating behaviour
- Intelligence and learning
- Cognition and development
In the second A2 unit, Psychopathology, Psychology in Action and Research Methods you will analyse and evaluate theories, explanations and studies in Psychopathology, Psychology in Action and Psychological Research and Scientific Method.
- AQA A2 Psychology B
In the first A2 unit, Child Development and Applied Options, you will focus on social development, cognitive development and moral development. You will also have the opportunity to focus on options that include:
- Cognition and Law
- Schizophrenia and Mood Disorders
- Stress and Stress Management
- Substance Abuse
- Forensic Psychology
- Approaches, Debates and Methods in Psychology
In the Approaches, Debates and Methods in Psychology unit, you will develop your understanding of Biological, Behaviourist, Social Learning, Cognitive, Psychodynamic and Humanistic Approaches and be able to compare and contrast these approaches in Psychology.
- WJEC A2 Psychology
The first AS unit Psychology: Research Methods and Issues in Research will build on your knowledge and understanding from your AS study. You will focus upon research methods in detail, as well as issues that arise from research, such as ethics and psychology in the real world. In the Psychology: Controversies, Topics and Applications you will focus on selected controversies, such as the status of psychology as a science, or cultural bias in psychology. Within these controversies, you will consider memory, relationships, intelligence, adolescence, adulthood and consciousness. You will also explore applications, such as health psychology and educational psychology.
- Edexcel A2 Psychology
In the Applications of Psychology unit, you will explore how psychology can be applied to the real world. You will focus on two of the following:
- Criminological Psychology
- Child Psychology
- Health Psychology: substance misuse
- Sport Psychology
In the How Psychology Works unit, you will focus on a variety of issues within contemporary psychology. You will learn about Clinical Psychology and the treatment of mental health issues.
- University of Cambridge International Examinations A2 Psychology
At A2 level, you will continue to develop your knowledge and understanding of psychology and you will study the application of psychology in two of the following:
- Psychology and education
- Psychology and health
- Psychology and environment
- Psychology and abnormality
- Psychology and organisations
- OCR A2 Psychology
In Options in Applied Psychology, you have the opportunity to focus on two of the following:
- Forensic psychology
- Health and clinical psychology
- Psychology of sport and exercise
- Psychology of education
In the second A2 unit, Approaches and Research Methods in Psychology, you have the opportunity to design a practical project around an area of interest.
A-Level Psychology Exam Board Information
- The AQA A-Level Psychology A and A-Level Psychology B specifications are available from the AQA website.
- The specification for the Edexcel AS and A-Level Psychology is available here.
- The specification for WJEC A-Level Psychology is available here.
- University of Cambridge International Examinations AS-Level Psychology specification is available from the CIE website.
- The OCR A-Level Psychology specification is available here.
Most people study A-Level Psychology so that they can study Psychology at University, or psychology-related subjects such as Counselling, Criminology, Forensic Psychology or Sports Psychology. Others students may choose to study social science programmes, such as Social Work, Psychology, Health Studies, Youth Work and many others.
By studying A-Level Psychology, you will also develop good research, statistical and analytical skills that are useful in almost any career path.
Other Useful Information
- The AQA A-Level Psychology A and A-Level Psychology B past papers are available from the AQA website.
- Edexcel AS and A-Level Psychology past papers are available here.
- The past papers for WJEC A-Level Psychology are available from the WJEC website.
- Past papers are available from the University of Cambridge International Examinations AS-Level Psychology website.
- OCR A-Level Psychology past papers are available from the OCR website.
- S-cool has a selection of Psychology revision resources.
- Revisionworld offer a variety of notes for AS and A2 Psychology units.