Mrs P Corner - Head of Psychology


Course Content

(Years 10 and 11)
In key stage 4 the Edexcel specification is set up to help students develop an awareness of why psychology matters, acquire knowledge and understanding of how psychology works and its essential role in society. Additionally students will develop an understanding of the relationship between psychology and social, cultural, scientific and contemporary issues, and its impact on everyday life and develop an understanding of ethical issues in psychology. Students will also develop a critical approach to scientific methods and evidence. Furthermore it provides an introduction to the key concepts and contexts of psychology enabling progression to study A Level Psychology.


Overview of content of Unit 1:
Topic A: How do we see our world?
This topic focuses on perception and illusions, drawing on biological and cognitive psychology.

Topic B: Is dreaming meaningful?
This topic addresses Freud’s dream theory and the theory of activation synthesis.


Overview of content of Unit 2:
Topic C: Do TV and video games affect young people’s behaviour?
This topic covers causes of aggression including psychological and social causes.

Topic D: Why do we have phobias?
This topic considers social learning, conditioning and evolutionary causes of phobias.

Topic E: Are criminals born or made?
This topic considers proposed biological and social causes of criminality.


KS 5
(Years 12 and 13)
The aims of the Edexcel AS and A2 units in Psychology are to allow students to appreciate the scientific nature of psychology and to engage in contemporary debates through an understanding of research. Students will demonstrate a deeper appreciation of the skills, knowledge and understanding of psychology and essential knowledge and understanding of different areas of the subject and how they relate to each other. In addition students will be able to describe ethical, safe and practical techniques and processes.

They will be able to understand qualitative and quantitative methods and analyse, interpret, explain and evaluate the methodology resulting in the impact of their own and others’ activities in a variety of ways.


Unit 1 Description
This unit is designed to introduce the social and cognitive approaches to psychology through the development of key content areas. The unit is divided into two parts, Social Psychology: obedience and prejudice and Cognitive Psychology: memory and forgetting. Within each part, the sections of the unit arise from the content which includes a selection of basic concepts of the social and the cognitive approaches.

The unit is designed to enable choice within each approach in the selection of a second key study and a key issue relevant to the approach. Within each approach there is the requirement for students to conduct a short practical investigation.


Unit 2 Description
This unit is designed to introduce three approaches in psychology; the Psychodynamic Approach, the Biological Approach and the Learning Approach. This unit aims to develop students’ understanding of psychological issues of development, individual difference and biology through the study of these approaches.


Unit 3 Description
The aim of this unit is to enable students to study how psychology can be applied to the real world. The unit is intended to further contextualise and make real the understanding of approaches. There is a focus on evaluation, assessment, application and comment as well as on knowledge. Students will be completing only two out of four applications, i.e., criminological psychology child psychology.


Unit 4 Description
This unit focuses on the debates between approaches within contemporary psychology. In the clinical psychology section of the unit, students study aspects of clinical psychology, which include how different approaches in psychology explain and treat mental health issues.

In the issues and debates section, students will be asked to draw on other areas of the specification in order to understand and apply conceptual and methodological issues using theories and evidence.


How Learners Are Assessed:
Summary of assessment at Key stage 4
Assessment has recently become linear, in that, all students taking Psychology will sit two examinations, i.e., unit 1 and 2, in June at the end of Year 11.

Key Stage 4 Overview of Assessment
This is assessed through two external examinations.

Unit 1 breakdown:
This includes Topics A and B only.
The paper consists of multiple-choice and short-answer questions, and lasts 1 hour and 15 minutes.

There are 60 marks in the examination and the result contributes 40% of the total grade for the full GCSE.

Unit 2 breakdown:
This includes Topics C, D and E.
The paper consists of multiple choice questions, short answers and some extended writing and lasts 1 hour and 45 minutes.

There are 90 marks in the examination and the result contributes 60% of the total grade for the full GCSE.


Summary of assessment at Key Stage 5

AS Units
Unit 1 (Social and Cognitive Psychology):

The paper consists of a section of multiple-type questions, a section of short-answer questions and a section of extended writing. It lasts for 1 hour and 20 minutes and is worth 60 marks and 40% of the total AS mark.

Unit 2 (Understanding the Individual):
The paper consists of some multiple- choice questions, short-answer questions and a section of extended writing. It lasts for 1 hour and 40 minutes and is worth 80 marks and 60% of the total AS mark.

A2 units
Unit 3 (Applications of Psychology):
The paper consists of 4 sections but students must complete only 2. Each will consist of short-answers and an extended writing section. It lasts for 1 hour and 30 minutes and is worth 60 marks and 40% of the total A2 mark.

Unit 4 (How Psychology works):
This paper consists of two parts and students must answer both. Each section will have short-answer questions and an extended writing section. It lasts for 2 hours and is worth 90 marks and 60% of the total A2 mark.


Homework plays an integral part of the course and students get to develop and enhance their independent working skills. Psychology has an array of different tasks such as researching a topic, creating leaflets, carrying out surveys, completing exam questions, preparing speeches/presentations and sketching diagrams. Essentially homework will reinforce a topic taught or prepare students for the next lesson. It is set every week in KS4 and KS5.


Revision, Intervention and Enrichment
Underachieving learners are encouraged to attend after school sessions on Tuesday for KS4 and Wednesday for KS5. There are also Saturdays and some holiday booster sessions which are held in preparation for examinations.