Skip to content ↓


Why study Psychology?

Psychology is an interesting subject to study because people are interesting. However, psychology is also very complicated because, unsurprisingly, people are also very complicated.  It’s human tendency, therefore often inaccurate and biased, to oversimplify why things happen and why people behave the way they do; especially other people. But think about a difficult decision you made recently; was your decision and subsequent behaviour based on a simple and easily explainable process?

Consider...Would everyone have made the same decision?Could you have made a different decision?

‘You’, are an infinitely complex kaleidoscope of biology, experience, conscious and unconscious thought; more complex than anything yet discovered in the universe. You are unpredictable, unsimplifiable and potentially unreplicable. No one will ever understand your current mental state as well as you do at this very moment, not even yourself in a few minutes time

So while physicists inspect atoms and biologists dissect anatomy, we psychologists are trying to understand the universe's most complex phenomenon; the conscious homosapien. It’s therefore rather difficult, and so it should be.

How is the Department ?

Many students have gone onto study psychology at highly regarded academic institutions. Regardless of your further aspirations, psychology is a well recognised and challenging A-level that develops many of the skills required for undergraduate study.

What will I study?

This paper looks at some of the main approaches within Psychology including the learning, cognitive, biological, psychodynamic and humanistic approach. Research methods and biopsychology is also explored and amongst other things, students will learn about the divisions of the nervous system and localisation of function in the brain.

Paper 3: Issues and options in Psychology
(33.3% of A Level – 2 hour exam)

For this paper students will need to know about issues and debates in Psychology such as the nature vs nurture debate and free will and determinism. Various forms of bias in research will be considered and students will study three areas of Psychology in detail: Relationships, Eating behaviour and Forensic Psychology.

How will I study?

Paper 1

  • Social Influence - To what extent are people influenced by those around them?
  • Memory - How our memory systems work, what are their limitations, and how can we improve them?
  • Attachment - How does our first relationship with our primary caregiver shape the rest of our lives?
  • Psychopathology- Why do people develop mental illness and how can we best treat them?

Paper 2

  • Approaches- Are people primarily shaped by biological process in the brain, their environment, their conscious thoughts, subconscious urges or the people around them?
  • Biopsychology- How exactly does the brain work and do different parts do specific tasks?
  • Research Methods - How do researchers experiment on thinking human participants and what are the relative strengths and weaknesses of these methods?


  • Issues and Debates - Do humans have freewill? Can complex behaviour be reduced to simple processes?
  • Schizophrenia- What are the symptoms of Schizophrenia? Why do people develop these symptoms and what are the relative strengths and weaknesses of the different treatments currently available?
  • Relationships- What processes guide the formation, maintenance and breakdown of romantic relationships?
  • Aggression- What biological and social process make people aggressive, and how should we treat pathological levels of aggression?


Psychology students will be examined on Year 12 content and Year 13 content at the end of their second year of study. They will sit a total of three exams at the end of Year 13. There will be mock exams for Year 12 students in late June and for Year 13 students in January. The A Level course has a maths component of at least 10%.

Each paper lasts 2 hours and is equally weighted except for Research methods which is a double-weighted module in Paper 2.

Need Further Information?

Please see

Contact Psychology Department: