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“To find out what is truly individual in ourselves, profound reflection is needed; and suddenly we realize how uncommonly difficult the discovery of individuality is.”

C. G. Jung

Aims and Philosophy

The aim of Psychology at AS Level is to provide students with a broad introduction to the different approaches to researching and understanding human behaviour. This is further enhanced at A2 by investigating fascinating topics in greater depth. The subject provides students with the opportunity to develop analytical skills and write essays and psychological reports. With an emphasis on scientific methods and empirically based research, students are encouraged to consider the evidence behind the theories while applying knowledge to real life. Many of the skills developed are transferable to higher education and the workplace.

The Curriculum

In Year one or AS level, students learn the essentials of psychological research, how our memory works, how early development in relationships can influence later life and how we are influenced by our social groups. The second unit investigates the history of psychology and different approaches to investigating human thought and behaviour including different approaches to psychological disorders and therapies. Further study includes elements of biopsychology.

For the A level, second year, the topics are selected from many choices including Schizophrenia, Stress, Gender, Eating Behaviour and Aggression. Psychology offers a fascinating selection of topics where students really get to experience more exciting material and world changing research at an in depth level.

Beyond the Classroom

There are many opportunities to enrich understanding and interest in Psychology. Students are encouraged to look out for and share related television documentaries or media articles that are of relevance to their studies. There is an opportunity at Psychology Club for students to bring in their own ideas or topics for discussion or further exploration. This includes aspects of psychology that are not necessarily included on the exam specification.

Occasionally there are opportunities for visiting experts to share their knowledge with students, for example clinical psychologists. Trips may include visits to science museums where psychology is represented in exhibits, for example ‘@Bristol’. Furthermore students are often encouraged to conduct their research in the wider community. They may seek willing participants from a range of samples, perhaps using questionnaires, observational techniques or running their own small scale, ethically controlled, experiments.