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Notre Dame High School

Notre Dame
High School


Why study Psychology?


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Psychology is the study of mind and behaviour; Psychologist are interested in factors that influence our development, perception and experiences, and applying research to settings as varied as clinical practise, schools, the army and television.

You will study the core areas of psychology including memory, attachment, psychopathology, biopsychology, research method, gender, and forensic psychology.  This syllabus is new for September 2015 but continues to develop skilled valued by Higher Education including critical analysis independent thinking and research. 

The course is externally assessed.  Three exams are taken: the first is on introductory topics; the second on Psychology in context and the third on issues in Psychology.

Why our students like this course

‘It was interesting to test what we had been learning on other students…’        

I have found psychology very interesting and have really enjoyed doing the memory practical exercises in class and written them up as posters.  It was interesting to test what we had been learning on other students, it makes the subject seem much more real.  Hearing Zimbardo speak at a conference in London was exciting.  I love looking at psychopathology especially phobias and depression.

Entry Requirements
No specific requirement

Exam Board

Course Structure 

Y12 Half Term Introductory topic in psychology Psychology in Context
Autumn 1 Memory – Models


Research methods
Autumn 2

Memory – Eyewitness Testimony

Definitions of abnormality
Research methods
Spring 1

Social Influence - Conformity

Phobias, depression and OCD
Research methods
Spring 2

Social Influence - Obedience

Attachment – Theories
Research methods
Summer 1 Attachment - Disruption Research methods
Summer 2  

Research project



Y13 Half Term Psychology in Context Issues and Options
Autumn 1 Biopsychology Issues and Debates
Autumn 2  


Forensic Psychology
Spring 1  


Forensic Psychology
Spring 2  


Research Methods
Summer 1 Revision and exam technique/practice Revision and exam technique/practice

Where will the subject lead me? 

Psychology A-Level will prepare you for a range of university options and careers which include chartered psychologist (counselling, educational, forensic, clinical, sport and occupational), health and social work, nursing, teaching, police force and human resources.  It works well in combination with both sciences and arts subjects and provides a scientific grounding to the study of thought and behaviour.  

Psychology lends itself to a wide variety of jobs and many people who study psychology at a higher level go into a medical, therapy or education related job sector.

Further Advice

Psychology FAQs 

What is Psychology?

What makes people tick? Why do some people behave the way they do?  Why do different things affect your mood and confidence? If you've ever spent time thinking about these puzzles, psychology might be for you.

Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and human behaviour. Psychologists observe and conduct experiments to find out more about the way people act and interact. They try to understand what motivates, challenges or changes us and use this understanding to help us tackle personal and social problems.

What topics will I study if I take Psychology?

A Level Psychology is a linear subject, assessed at the end of two years of study. The AQA examination board uses three examinations to assess you. Each of these exams comprises a number of short questions, essay questions and scenarios to which you are required to apply your knowledge.

Paper 1: Introductory Topics in Psychology (Social Influence, Memory, Attachment, and Psychopathology).

Paper 2: Psychology in Context (Approaches in Psychology, Research Methods and Biopsychology).

Paper 3: Issues and Options in Psychology -Section A is a compulsory section on Issues and Debates in Psychology. Sections B, C, D each contain questions on the in-depth option topics you've studied. We look at Stress, Gender and Forensics.

What subjects does Psychology go well with?

Psychology is the most popular subject in the sixth form and we have students from all disciplines. It combines well with the sciences, as it is considered a science by universities. Additionally it goes well with Maths as there is some use of statistics and requires an inquiring mind. It goes particularly well with Sociology as there is some crossover with content, in particular the research methods that are used. Students who take Psychology also study PE, English, History, Geography, Politics, Business, Languages, Economics and many of the other A level’s available.

You said that it goes well with science; do I need to be good at Science?

There are two units in particular that use a lot of Biology so if you find Biology hard then you may struggle with these units. There is a lot of support in place to guide you through these units but there is a lot of new terminology to learn. Although there are no entry requirements in place, a 5 or above in Science or Biology will definitely be helpful.

What can an A level in Psychology lead to?

Psychology is useful for any job that requires lots of interaction or an understanding of human behaviour and development. People with skills in psychology are sought after in business, management, teaching, research, social work and careers in medicine and healthcare, to name just a few.

How good at Maths do I need to be to study Psychology?

Overall, at least 10% of the marks in assessments for Psychology will require the use of mathematical skills. These skills will be applied in the context of A-level Psychology and will be at least the standard of higher tier GCSE mathematics. There is no major content that has not already been covered at GCSE mathematics but you should realistically get a 5 or above at GCSE to be comfortable with the maths in a level Psychology.

Where can I find out more about Psychology to help me decide if I want to take it?

Revision Resources 

Our resources are shared via Google Classroom

The code is: euoayl5

Contact a Teacher 

If you have any subject specific questions that you'd like to ask.  You are very welcome to contact the relevant Head of Subject.  To find their email address click on Teaching Staff.  For general enquiries, contact the 6th Form Team.

Transition Resources

Please download the files below for advice on how to help you to prepare over the summer for the course.