Psychology KS5

Key Stage 5 (Years 12 & 13)

Examining board: AQA 

Psychology is the scientific study of human behaviour. The A level course will develop your insight into what makes you think, feel and act the way you do.

You will study human behaviour from a variety of perspectives including cognitive, social, biological, developmental and individual differences. You will study a wide range of topics from attachment to forensic psychology (see content of papers below).

Research methods lies at the heart of psychology and you will develop your knowledge and understanding of scientific processes and techniques of data handling and analysis.

You will also develop an understanding of issues and debates in psychology. For instance, you will reflect on whether nature is more important than nurture in influencing your behaviour.


Psychology is a subject that both requires and develops good literacy and numeracy skills. It is also a scientific discipline. The entry requirements are as follows:

  • GCSE Maths and English at grade 6 or above.
  • Two 6 or above grades in GCSE Double Science
  • OR three 6 or above grades in GCSE Triple Science.


NOTE: This is the new ‘linear’ specification.

The AS qualification stands alone and does not contribute to the A level marks.

AS qualification (AQA specification: 7181)

There will be two exams at the end of the first year, each 1½ hours long (no coursework).

1½ hours, 50% of AS)   Introductory topics in Psychology
(Topics include social influence, memory and attachment)

1½ hours, 50% of AS)  Psychology in context
(Topics include approaches in psychology, psychopathology and research methods)


A level qualification (AQA specification: 7182)
There will be three exams at the end of the second year (incorporating AS material but extending this), each 2 hours long (no coursework).

PAPER 1   (2 hours, 33.3% of A-level)  Introductory topics in Psychology
(Topics include social influence, memory, attachment and psychopathology)

PAPER 2   (2 hours,  33.3% of A-level )  Psychology in context
(Topics include approaches in psychology, biopsychology and research methods)

PAPER 3   (2 hours,  33.3% of A-level)   Issues and options in psychology
(Topics include issues and debates in psychology, relationships, schizophrenia and forensic psychology)


The psychology A-level course will develop skills valued by Higher Education (HE) and employers, including critical analysis, independent thinking and research.

Not only is psychology a fascinating subject to study, but it also prepares students for a very wide range of careers. Some of these have obvious connections with psychology, such as clinical psychology, educational psychology, forensic psychology and counselling. Psychology also provides a useful training for much wider career options. These include market research, social work, teaching, nursing, advertising, sales, media and broadcasting, personnel management and even the police and Armed Forces.

For further information of careers, please see the British Psychological Society website:

L Evans.  Head of Psychology