Subject overview: Psychology is essentially the study of mind and behaviour. Psychologists observe and measure behaviour using scientific methods in order to explain why people act the way they do, and why there is so much individual difference between people. Psychology has links with many other subjects including biology, philosophy, sociology and anthropology. This mix of disciplines helps to make psychology such a fascinating subject.
Psychology is a very popular A-level option which is attractive to students because it develops a range of valuable skills, including critical analysis, independent thinking and extended writing.
It is important to note that psychology is a science A-level, alongside biology, chemistry and physics. As part of the A-level we learn a lot about the brain and its structure, and the way that biochemicals affect behaviour. Students are also required to learn about data analysis and statistics, and 10% of the A-level paper tests maths skills.
What we cover:
In year 12 students study topics from a range of branches of psychology: development psychology (attachments), social psychology (social influence), cognitive psychology (memory), psychopathology and biopsychology. Students are also taught, in detail, about the different approaches to psychology. Research methods and data analysis (including statistical tests) is taught throughout the year, and before the end of the summer the students work in groups to conduct their own study.
At the beginning of 13, students explore key Issues and debates, including the nature vs nurture debate. They then study three topics in depth: gender, schizophrenia and forensic psychology. Throughout the whole year students will build upon their skills in research methods and handling data.
A significant number of our students go on to study psychology at university.
Qualifications and pathways: Psychology is offered only at A Level as part of the post-16 Curriculum.
Extra-curricular/enrichment opportunities: We have a popular well-stocked psychology library covering both A-level material and topics of wider interest. The psychology website (https://sites.google.com/a/douaymartyrs.co.uk/psychology/useful-links_) also provides a long list of websites, podcasts and programmes that the students can access to enrich their learning. At the end of year 12 students have the opportunity to attend a workshop on Animal learning and Behaviour at London Zoo; this directly links to the work the students have been covering on learning behaviour.
Head of Department: Mrs L Frost