Psychology at Sir Thomas Rich's School

Head of Department:Miss Samantha Load

What is Psychology?

Psychology is the science of mind and behaviour. Psychologists study many aspects of behaviour, such as aggression and the development of social relationships, in order to understand what causes them. Different psychologists subscribe to different perspectives and explain behaviour in terms of these perspectives. For example, biological psychologists would argue that aggression is caused by an excess of testosterone or damage to critical areas in the brain, whereas social learning theorists would argue aggression is behaviour imitated from role models.

By studying Psychology you will learn about how behaviour is accounted for by different theories, based on an understanding of psychological research (some of which you will conduct yourself). It will enable you to have a greater understanding of your own behaviour and that of others around you, which is very useful in helping you to appreciate diversity in society.

A Level Topics

The A level consists of 3 main components; Research Methods, Psychological Themes Through Core Studies and Applied Psychology.

  •  Research Methods: this area provides students with the opportunity to understand what’s involved in a range of different research methods and techniques, and it creates awareness of associated strengths and weaknesses.
  •  Psychological Themes Through Core Studies: this area covers 10 pairs of studies (classic and contemporary) to cover a range of areas, including social, cognitive and biological psychology. Students will also learn about specific perspectives, such as behaviourism and the psychodynamic perspective.
  •  Applied Psychology: this area covers a compulsory section on issues in mental health and two further applied areas, which are criminal and environmental psychology.

Examination

We follow the OCR specification for A level Psychology, which has an examination for each component at the end of the A level.

Component 1 – Research Methods (2 hrs) - this asks questions based on your knowledge of methodology and includes multiple-choice questions, data analysis and interpretation and research design from novel sources (30%).

Component 2 – Psychological Themes Through Core Studies (2 hrs) - this requires you to show your knowledge of the core studies, perspectives, debates and practical applications relating to a novel source (35%).

Component 3 – Applied Psychology (2 hrs) – this requires you to answer questions on issues in mental health and select questions on criminal and environmental psychology to answer. Answers are mostly essay-based (35%).

Entry Requirements

You will need to obtain at least a “B” in GCSE English OR Biology (or “AA” in Science and Additional Science) to study Psychology at AS and A2 level.  These qualifications aside, if you are a critical thinker, have an interest in people and would like to understand the human mind, this course is for you!

Life beyond A Level Psychology

An ‘A Level’ in Psychology is always looked upon favourably by universities as you need to demonstrate many skills to succeed in Psychology; writing essays, constructing reports, and critical analysis skills are all developed. A degree in Psychology is becoming an increasingly competitive area for undergraduates.  Typical offers are in the range of AAB at A Level, and can lead to a range of careers, such as Clinical Psychology, Organisational Psychology, Educational Psychology, Teaching, Management, Marketing and many more.