About Psychology

Psychology is a social science that offers students the opportunity to investigate the motivations behind the human mind. Through their study of Psychology  A Level, students develop knowledge and understanding of key psychological concepts, theories and studies. Students also develop the skills of analysis and evaluation, which they will demonstrate in essay writing, as well as knowledge of how psychologists conduct their research and the ethical issues involved in this.  Psychologists at Loxford will cover a range of topics including memory, attachment, social influence, and abnormality.

How will I be assessed?
There is no coursework component for Psychology A level. Assessment is 100%  examinations. For more information please see the “What you will learn” pages.


What other courses complement psychology?
Biology, Chemistry, Maths, Law, English Literature, Media Studies.

Why should I study psychology?
Psychology is useful in a wide range of careers as it equips you with the ability to understand people and behaviours, as well as developing critical and communicative skills which are useful in a range of environments and occupations.  Studying psychology also helps develop practical maths skills, including understanding graphs and interpreting statistical analyses.  Psychology students are desirable employees because they have both language and numerical skill.

Support for your Learning

Our aim in psychology is to enable students to be able to comprehend a wide range of psychological theory with the ability to critically analyse them.  There is also a practical element to psychology where students will be expected to plan conduct and analyze their own psychological research. This will enable students to deepen their understanding of how science plays an important role in psychology.

Students will be expected to work in small groups to prepare presentations and to conduct investigations but will also be expected to work autonomously on research and essay writing tasks.

To improve their understanding of psychological concepts and how they play a role in human interaction it is important that the students broaden their reading from their textbook. Students should complete extra reading throughout their course that gives detailed examples of Psychological theory at work in real life.

To aid you with this:

You can sign up for the BPS newsletter, which gives easily understandable summaries of the latest psychological research, here: http://www.bps.org.uk/publications/research-digest/research-digest

A reading list can be found here:  Reading list.

A list of films:

  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest- provides a disturbing look into mental hospitals in the 1960s, including electroshock therapy as a form of treatment and a dysfunctional form of group psychotherapy
  • As Good as it Gets-A portrayal of a man with OCD
  • A Beautiful Mind- can’t tell you what it is about- spoilers! Based on a true story.
  • 12 Angry Men- a great way to get to grips with minority influence
  • Shutter Island- good way to look at the unconscious mind and repression( beware spoilers!)
  • The Machinist- another example of repression(beware spoilers!)
  • Memento- a portrayal of a person with short-term memory loss trying to solve a mystery.
  • Silence of the Lambs- a fictional example of FBI profiling, in a hunt to catch a serial killer

Further Resources

The following resources may be useful to you. However, whilst AQA set the topics you must cover at AS, the choice of research and theories is mainly the teacher’s. Therefore, you may find that websites, textbooks, and revision guides give completely different studies to those you have covered in class. This can mean that you end up with too much information. With this in mind, the best source of revision notes are those that you create yourself from class notes.

Useful websites

For revision and A-level psychology:

www.aqa.org.uk – for the specification, past papers, mark schemes, examiner’s reports, exam dates etc.

www.s-cool.co.uk/a-level/psychology – for revision.

www.psychology4a.com – for revision and content.

www.tutor2u.net – key studies and content

BPS Research Digest – contemporary research and latest news

There are also plenty of specification-specific revision guides readily available to buy online.