Psychologists study behaviour - what people and other animals do: being kind or aggressive, breathing and walking, growing up, seeing and thinking. If you are fascinated by people and how they behave, then consider Psychology. You may never look at them in the same way again.
Students take Psychology with both science and humanities subjects. In English Literature, for example, Psychology will help you to analyse and interpret poems, novels and plays. If you are considering university, it can be invaluable as it combines aspects of science and arts/humanities. Psychology is an asset if you are aiming for the extensive range of careers where people are the focus e.g. journalism, nursing, marketing or HR management. The course is taught by specialist, enthusiastic teachers who have a wealth of experience in helping students to achieve high grades and who are skilled in making the subject not just interesting, but fascinating. Learning outside the classroom includes student conferences.
Paston students excel in psychology, in fact in 2009 and 2011 a Paston student was the top A-level Psychology student in the UK, scoring a perfect 100% and receiving a prize from the British Psychological Society.
You can follow a link here to the specification for Pearson Edexcel Psychology
Why not have a look at Psychology Bytes, an e magazine for students studying psychology at Paston Sixth Form College. When you attend the College you could become one of the contributors or indeed an editor of this magazine.
Psychology A level is something you will have never studied before, and once on the course many students decide it is something they would like to study further. One question we often get is ‘What career could Psychology lead to?’ Follow this link to the British Psychological Societies website on careers.
Below are a couple of websites you can look at to get a flavour of what Psychology is, and an idea of the kinds of topics you will be studying:
- http://www.all-about-psychology.com/best-psychological-movies.html (Top 10 best Psychology themed films)
- http://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/psychology (A list of Psychology themed books)
- http://psychopath.channel4.com/quizzes.html (Take the Psychopath Test!)
- http://www.bps.org.uk/psychology-public/areas-psychology/areas-psychology (Areas of Psychology)
Here is a link, which refers to things you may not have known Psychology has contributed to:
Recently the Psychology department took a group of students to see Derren Brown’s show ‘Miracle’. Here is Year 12 student Stan Clarke’s review;
To celebrate the end of exams a large chunk of the Paston psychology department saw Derren Brown at the Theatre Royal Norwich in his latest show Miracle. In this captivating 2 hour performance, Derren reminded us of the true power psychology has, including reading the future, taking risks and the power of evangelist healers. The full house was left in disbelief and wonderment. Although Derren told the audience to keep the show an absolute secret, I can let you in on one thing……it is well worth taking psychology at Paston College just to be part of this truly mind blowing experience.
In the first year you will study:
Social psychology is about aspects of human behaviour that involve the individual’s relationship to other persons, groups and society. The focus will be learning about obedience and prejudice including:
- Important research into obedience, such as the famous Milgram electric shock study.
- Factors affecting prejudice (and discrimination), including individual differences (personality), situation and culture.
- How can knowledge of social psychology be used to reduce prejudice in situations such as crowd behaviour or rioting?
- How can social psychology be used to explain heroism?
Cognitive psychology looks at processes such as perception, memory, selective attention, language and problem solving. Individual differences and developmental psychology will be used when learning about memory differences and memory deficits and how the brain ages. In addition;
- Famous case studies of brain damaged patients.
- How can psychologists’ understanding of memory help dementia patients?
- Can knowledge of working memory be used to inform the treatment of dyslexia?
Biological Psychology is about the mechanisms within our body and how they affect behaviour such as aggression. Individual differences and developmental psychology will be used to look at issues such as aggression caused by an accident and the role of hormones (eg. testosterone) to explain aggressive human behaviour. Other behaviours that are thought to have a biological basis will also be looked at, such as the effect of recreational drugs on the brain. Also:
- Contemporary research will be discussed such as brain abnormalities in murderers.
- Effectiveness of drug therapy such as methadone for treating addictions.
Learning theories are about learning from the environment including the role of rewards and punishment on individuals. There are many famous studies covered in this topic such as Pavlov’s experiment with salivation in dogs and studies into the effects of the media on violent behaviour. Also studied are:
- How learning theories explain the acquisition and maintenance of phobias.
- Treatments for phobias based on theories of learning
- The use of animals in laboratory experiments including ethical issues.
- Is the influence of role models and celebrities something that causes anorexia?
- Would it be a good idea for airline companies to offer treatment programmes for fear of flying?
Please refer to our entry requirements for the different programmes of study.
Additional entry requirements for this course: New grade 5 in Maths GCSE (or old grade C) and new grade 4 in English Language GCSE (or old grade C)
New grade 6 in GCSE Maths is often a minimum requirement for Psychology at university
In your second year, you will build upon your work during the first year of the course and also study:
This is about explaining and treating mental health issues and the different ways of treating them, including counselling and drug treatments.Different explanations for mental health disorders will be looked at such as links between
personality factors, genetic influences (nature) or environmental influences (nurture). This will be looked at in the context of:
- Schizophrenia and other disorders such as anorexia and depression.
- The symptoms and causes of these disorders such as genetics or environment
- Treatments for disorders such as drug therapy and counselling.
- How do different societies define mental health disorders?
- What are the issues surrounding mental health in the workplace?
Criminological psychology is about the definition and causes of crime and anti-social behaviour and the identification and treatment of offenders undertaken by forensic investigators. In addition this area involves learning about the possible causes of criminal behaviour, such as labelling and self-fulfilling prophecy. This will be discovered through the study of:
- Explanations of crime and anti-social behaviour
- Biological explanations, including brain injury
- Understanding the offender, offence analysis and case formulation
- The use of psychology to understand the function of offending behaviour in the individual.
- Treatments for offenders, such as anger management.
- Factors influencing eye witness testimony.
- Factors influencing jury decision making.
This paper is synoptic which encompasses all the theories and skills learned throughout the two years of study. Also you will need to consider issues and debates from across
all topics in order to develop a general knowledge of key issues and debates including:
- Ethical issues in research (animal and human).
- Practical issues in the design and implementation of research.
- Psychology as a science.
- Cultural and gender issues within psychological research.
- The role of both nature and nurture within psychology.
The A- level is assessed by three written exam papers at the end of the course:
Paper 1 – Foundations in Psychology (2 hours)
Paper 2 – Applications of Psychology (2 hours)
Paper 3 – Psychological Skills (2 hours)
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