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The golden opportunity you are seeking is in yourself. It is not in your environment, it is not in luck or chance, or the help of others; it is in yourself alone..

Orison Swett Marden

Psychology provides a broad introduction to the scope and nature of psychology as a science. It encourages students to explore how science works by analysing practical investigations that are applicable to real life. By the time students have completed the course they have a better understanding of how human behaviour from infancy to adulthood can have an affect on the society in which they live. The AQA A level specification is very exciting as students will gain knowledge in how memory works along with what happens when young children have their attachment to the mother figure disrupted. Also new topics such as biopsychology where we look at language and auditory functions in the brain; and how they are processed by PET and MRI scans.

Psychology at Brampton is a very popular subject which has enjoyed a very high level of exam success over many years. Taught by expert A level teachers in pleasant surroundings, Psychology can be studied on a one year A level course as well as the new reformed 2 year course. This fascinating subject combines very well with science subjects A level choices.


The Course

This challenging A level course covers major psychological theories and the supporting evidence. Students are expected to develop basic understanding of theories, concepts and research. Over the course they will learn to argue effectively both for and against the major theoretical perspectives critically evaluating research evidence to support their arguments. The course aims to develop a student’s interest and inspire them to take a further interest at career level.

The subject content in the first year is compulsory to taking the AS and A level and is then built on in the second year for the full A level qualification. The first year is divided into seven core areas of Cognitive, Developmental, Biopsychology, Psychopathology, Social Psychology plus Approaches and Research Methods, all of which is intended to give students a broadly based understanding of Psychology. In the second year there is the opportunity for students to further extend their knowledge and develop an understanding of core areas, such as Biopsychology, Methodology and the Issues and Debates we often discuss in relation to gender biases and ethics surrounding some of the studies in Psychology. In the second year we also study Gender development and the role the environment and genetics play in this, alongside Aggression and how this is also shaped by the environment we live in, and finally Stress and how it affects our internal mechanisms and how we can manage it

Students taking this A level will be expected to develop critical and evaluative skills and learn to develop coherent, informed and logical arguments. They will be able to identify ethical issues, apply Psychology to cultural social and contemporary issues, and use a wide range of research methods which includes developing mathematical skills to competently carry out statistical testing.

It is not necessary for students to have studied GCSE Psychology before commencing work on this specification and no prior knowledge of Psychology is necessary. However, it is essential for students to have obtained a Grade A in GCSE English, Science and B in Maths before commencing this specification. For those students who are not taking A level Maths, there will be supplementary lessons given to cover some aspects of the specification.

Syllabus and Assessment

‘A’ level Psychology comprises an AS level and a final A qualification. The AS level serves as an introduction to the subject and may be used as a ‘stand-alone’ qualification, but note, this does not form part of the complete A level qualification. In the complete A level students are expected to sit all three papers at the end of two years.

A Level

The A level is assessed by three exams at the end of the second year.
PAPER 1: Introductory Topics in Psychology:
This is a 2 hour exam (forms 33.3% of the A level)

This paper consists of multiple choice questions and extended writing over the four different aspects of the specification e.g. Social Influence, Memory, Attachment, Psychopathology and Methodology, which is integrated into the other four sections and for which a calculator may be required. Each section is worth 24 marks.
PAPER 2: Psychology in Context:
This is a 2 hour exam (forms 33.3% of the A level)
This paper consists of multiple choice questions and extended writing over three different aspects of the specification, e.g. Approaches in Psychology, Biopsychology and Research Methods for which a calculator is required. Approaches in Psychology and Biopsychology are each worth 24 marks and Research Methods is worth 48 marks.

PAPER 3: Issues and Options in Psychology:

This is a 2 hour exam (forms 33.3% of the A level)

This paper has a multiple choice option in section A of the paper, but then a compulsory extended writing component and short questions section in parts B, C and D. These questions are based on the topics of Gender, Stress and Aggression, for which a calculator may be needed for some research methods questions. This paper like paers one and two, is worth 96 marks in total.

Psychology Staff

Heather Keayes

h keayes
Head of Psychology
BSc(Hons), PGCE

Heather Keayes, Head of Psychology, spent five successful years as team leader at a sixth form college in Newbury before coming to Brampton, where she managed 250 students and nine members of staff. Heather is an experienced examiner and team...

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Dr Barbara White

students studying at brampton college
BSc(Hons), MSc, PhD

Barbara White joined the College in 2004 after spending the first part of her career in psychology lecturing and research at a top class university psychology department, from which she brings expertise, particularly in research methods, to her A level...

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A level Results




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Psychology Students

Over the last few years, students from Brampton have gone on to read Psychology at the most prestigious departments in the country, including UCL, Manchester, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Cardiff, Bath and Exeter. We often encourage students who intend to have a career in psychology to take a sandwich course at university, where in the third year they undertake work experience in a particular field. The final year is then devoted to their dissertation. This gives them a very good start on their future career path.