Psychology at Blundell's

Board and Syllabus

AQAPsychology students at Blundell’s take the AQA specification in Psychology A Level. This is an exciting and engaging course, which explores many key areas of Psychology as well as more contemporary areas of research. It is therefore one of the best introductions to the subject, particularly for those considering further study at university.

As of September 2015, there will be a change of specification as part of the A Level reform.  From September 2016, students will follow this specification in a linear fashion with assessment taking place at the end of the second year and examinations taken in summer 2018.

The A Level (Year 1) textbook used is Lawton, J. M., and Willard, E. (2015) AQA Psychology for A-level Year 1 and AS.  Hodder Education (ISBN-13: 978-1-4718-3488-2)

The A Level (Year 2) textbook used is Lawton, J. M., and Willard, E. (2015) AQA A-level Psychology Book 2.  Hodder Education (ISBN-13: 978-1471835377)

Students will also be given the opportunity to purchase revision guides and other relevant support texts. It is recommended that a number of textbooks and/or revision guides are used by students in order to diversify the content available to them.

Content of the Linear A Level Modules

The ethos behind the AQA Psychology specification is understanding research and application. The following papers only apply to the new AS and A Level courses starting in September 2015.

Paper 1: Introductory topics in psychology

The first psychology paper covers some of the key areas of research as part of a general introduction to the subject. The topics covered include Social Influence, Memory, Attachment and Psychopathology.

Classic research such as that carried out by Stanley Milgram to investigate obedience and Mary Ainsworth’s Strange Situation as a method of classifying parent-child attachment types will be studied. In addition to this, students will explore the different explanations and treatments offered for mental illnesses include depression, phobias and obsessive compulsive disorder.

Paper 2: Psychology in context

The second paper provides more context for the subject of Psychology, which has a long history and without careful explanation, can seem overly broad.

The topics covered include Approaches in Psychology, Biopsychology and Research Methods. In this topic, students will find out more about the origins of psychology as well as some classic approaches to understanding the mind and behaviour including behaviourism as well as some more contemporary approaches such as cognitive neuroscience.

Students will need to organise their revision carefully in order to ensure that they have a good grasp of how to tackle relevant exam questions.

Paper 3: Issues and Options in Psychology

The final paper in Psychology features an in depth examination of optional topics of contemporary and classic research. In addition to this students explore some of the issues and debates in Psychology, including nature versus nurture, determinism vs free-will and the question of the scientific nature of the subject. The topics studied for this unit include forensic psychology, stress and cognition and development. These particular topics have been chosen as they offer insight into popular applied areas of psychology and are of interest to students pursuing careers in law, child care, education or medicine.