Psychology is the scientific study of mind and behaviour. Studying Psychology at Gresham’s can have a positive impact on pupils as they gain greater insight into their own behaviour, thoughts, feelings and attitudes. They are learning not just about a fascinating subject but also about themselves.
Studying Psychology is fun because you’re always looking for the same things I think a writer should be looking for, which is the story behind the story.Chris Cleave, British Writer and Journalist
Psychology is the study of human behaviour, so if a pupil is interested in what makes a person ‘tick’, they are curious about what makes people similar and yet unique, then Psychology is the subject for them. Psychology can lead onto a variety of careers, including training to be a Forensic, Occupational, Sports or Educational Psychologist. It is also highly relevant to those wishing to study medicine or law or who are a budding entrepreneur. Ultimately, Psychology is a versatile subject which fits with a wide variety of subject combinations. Combined with English Literature it allows an understanding of the motivations of a character in a Bronte novel; with Economics it is understanding why consumers will buy a product even though there are cheaper alternatives on the market; with Biology it encourages the exploration of alternative arguments for human behaviour with more emphasis on the role of the environment.
Who is the course suited to?
Both the IB Diploma and AQA A level courses have a strong emphasis on scientific methods, including maths/statistics and it should be noted that most university courses regard Psychology as a science. Thus, we recommend that pupils have achieved at least a Grade 6 in a Science and Mathematics at GCSE level.
The method of assessment does include essay writing and it is expected that pupils will read widely to consolidate classroom teaching, thus, a Level 6 or higher in English would also be recommended.
What is essential is enthusiasm, commitment, curiosity, and a genuine interest in the subject.
What skills will be learnt or developed?
Transferable skills including the ability to analyse and evaluate information; complete academic research using the internet with discretion; communicate effectively and reflect on their own performance.
- A level Psychology
Exam board: AQA
Entry requirements: No prior study of psychology or other specific subjects are required of pupils. The skills needed for the psychology course are developed during the course itself.
Paper 1 – Introductory topics in Psychology: Social Influence, Memory, Attachment, Psychopathology. Four topics, all studied in Year 1.
Paper 2 – Psychology in context: Approaches, Biopsychology, Research Methods. Three topics studied in Year 1 & 2.
Paper 3 – Issues and options in Psychology: Gender, Schizophrenia, Forensic Psychology, Issues and Debates. Four topics studied in Year 1 & 2.
Assessed by Examination
AQA Psychology A Level is a 2-year linear course, meaning all units are examined at the end of the two years. There are three exam papers, all 2 hours in length. The papers include a variety of question styles: multiple choice questions, short answer questions of between 1 and 6 marks, and essay questions worth 8, 12 or 16 marks.
Click here for AQA specification at a glance.
- IB Psychology
Entry Requirements Grade B in IGCSE Mathematics or equivalent, B in IGCSE English Language or equivalent.
Paper 1 (Higher and Standard Level)
The Core – three ways to explaining behaviour are studied: Biological Approach, Cognitive Approach and Sociocultural Approach.
Plus, Research Methods and Ethics.
Paper 2 (Higher and Standard Level)
- Health Psychology (HL & SL)
- In addition, HL choose one more Option from: Developmental, Abnormality, Human relationships
Paper 3 (Higher Level only)
Research Methodology – An unseen stimulus piece is provided which the pupils read and then answer three pre-set questions on.
Assessed by Examination and Internal Assessment
HL pupils will have three examinations and complete an Internal Assessment worth 20% of their final grade.
SL pupils will have two examinations and will complete an Internal Assessment worth 25% of their final grade.
Click here for the IB Diploma Psychology Subject Brief.
- Activities and Societies
Y9 Enrichment Programme
Psychology is introduced to Year 9 as part of the Year 9 Enrichment slot on a Friday afternoon. Many of our current Sixth Form students remember these lessons and refer to them fondly. The aim is to clear up myths and misunderstandings about Psychology so that students are better informed and can make sound choices when choosing their Sixth Form options in Year 11.
Step-up to Sixth Form Programme
This programme was introduced in 2020 and has proved very successful. The aim is to introduce Year 11 pupils to the subject and give them a taste of what is to come in Sixth Form. It is an ideal opportunity to cover topics that will not be examined and encourage a love of learning. We cover diverse and interesting topics such as Positive Psychology, the Bystander Effect and the Halo Effect.
An activity from Step-up to Sixth Form Programme – Altruistic Behaviour
Graduating class 2021 Leavers’ Party
Pupils doing the Macarena dance while learning about Social Learning Theory – used as a memory aid to learn the acronym ARRM.
Graduating class 2021 Leavers’ Party
Hannah is manager of the practice policy team at the British Psychological Society (BPS). She advises the Society’s Practice Board and leads on the development of guidance for psychologists. Some of the key areas of her focus include expert witnesses, mental capacity and dyslexia. Hannah studied psychology and completed a Masters in Forensic Psychology at the University of Leicester. Before joining the BPS, Hannah worked as an intelligence analyst for Leicestershire police.
HANNAH FARNDON NEE PIKE
Isabella is currently studying Arts and Sciences at UCL.
“I really enjoyed the IB Psychology course and the insight it gave me into human behaviour, especially the biological and socio-cultural aspects of the course. Learning about methodology and ethics in psychology has allowed me to develop crucial analytical skills that I have been able to apply to my studies at university in subject areas outside of Psychology and has allowed me to look at research from a range of perspectives. Writing my Extended Essay in Psychology allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of an area I was interested in and was also a great way to introduce me to the research and writing skills expected at university. Beyond the transferrable skills that I have developed through the course, the breadth of IB Psychology was an excellent introduction to a wide variety of psychological concepts. Since completing the IB, my interest in Psychology has continued to grow and I am now studying neuropsychology as part of my degree.”
I loved studying Psychology at A level, as it gave a great insight into the human mind and behaviours. I really enjoyed being able to apply the concepts into everyday life, helping understand why people act in different ways and what makes people unique. I particularly enjoyed studying Social Influence, investigating obedience and legitimacy to authority, and Forensic Psychology, looking at criminal profiling. I have taken my interest in Psychology further by studying Sport Psychology as a module on my degree.