Government funding available
To take into account
The high demands on literacy and numeracy skills means that those choosing to study psychology usually have both GCSE English and Maths at grade C or above, though they are not an essential requirement.
Questions & Answers
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WHY TAKE PSYCHOLOGY?
Did you know that if you were bold enough to ask someone for their seat on a crowded bus or train they would probably give it to you? How come men are better at reading maps than women? And why is a dream about a train or an elevator not always quite what it seems? Psychology is about us (you and me) and the experiences we have and why people think and behave in the ways that they do ('the scientific study of human behaviour and experiences').
WHAT ARE THE KEY AREAS OF STUDY?
The AS course consists of fifteen core studies. These include sleep and dreaming, autism, memory, functions of the hemispheres of the brain and mental illness. You will also get involved with practical work using a variety of research methods - for example, designing a simple experiment to investigate the effects of aging on memory.
The A2 course focuses on applications of psychology. Here you study Forensic Psychology (e.g. why individuals commit crime, offender profiling, and how decisions are made in a courtroom) and Health and Clinical Psychology (e.g. stress and psychotic disorders like schizophrenia). You also learn about approaches and perspectives, such as behaviourism and you will become familiar with debates like freewill versus determinism. You will learn more about how research is conducted, including how data is analysed using statistical formulae to assess probability levels.
WHAT SKILLS WILL I NEED AND DEVELOP?
The course helps develop both literacy and numeracy skills. You will read and summarise scientific journal articles and need to be able to express yourself well in both the spoken and written word and be prepared to work with statistics. You will be involved in group work at times but also be required to engage in independent study.
HOW WILL I BE ASSESSED?
For AS Psychology there are two examinations: a one hour paper in January assessing knowledge of research methods and a two hour paper in May assessing understanding of the Core Studies. For A2 there are two 1.5 hour examinations: one in January assessing approaches, perspectives and research methods and one in June assessing the applied psychology options. There is no coursework.
You will have the chance to attend conferences covering topics like forensic psychology, go on various trips including Chester Zoo to hear talks on primate behaviour and undertake your own observational research and hear from specialist invited speakers.