Psychology is only taught at A-level at St Mary’s. The syllabus aims to enable students to:

·         develop essential knowledge and understanding of different areas of the subject

and how they relate to each other

·         develop and demonstrate a deep appreciation of the skills,

knowledge and understanding of scientific methods

·         develop competence and confidence in a variety of practical, mathematical

and problem-solving skills

·         develop their interest in and enthusiasm for the subject, including developing

an interest in further study and careers associated with the subject

·         understand how society makes decisions about scientific issues and how the sciences contribute to the success of the economy and society.

Key Stage 5
The Psychology syllabus provides an introduction to the main approaches in psychology. We also look at a brief history of the development of Psychology.

In Year 1, students will look at topics including cognitive psychology (how we process and organise information from the world around us through our senses), social influence (how the presence, real or implied, of others influences the behaviour of both groups and individuals) biopsychology, the development of attachment, mental illness and psychopathology, and research methodology, including practical research.

In Year 2, we look at applied psychology in areas such as gender, mental illness, and criminal behaviour. We consider major issues within Psychology, such as the extent to which behaviour and development is influenced by heredity or environment, ethnocentrism in research, and the philosophy of science and whether Psychology can be regarded as a science.

Essays and report writing are key features of the course, as are the use of statistical methods and interpretation of results.

 There are three examinations taken at the end of Year 2:

  • Paper 1 Introductory Topics in Psychology (2 hours; 33.3% of A level)
  • Paper 2 Psychology in Context (2 hours; 33.3% of A level)

·         Paper 3 Issues and Options in Psychology (2hours; 33.3% of A level)    

The exams will measure how students have achieved the following assessment objectives.

  • AO1: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas, processes, techniques and procedures.
  • AO2: Apply knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas, processes, techniques and procedures:
    • in a theoretical context
    • in a practical context
    • when handling qualitative data
    • when handling quantitative data.
  • AO3: Analyse, interpret and evaluate scientific information, ideas and evidence, including in relation to issues, to:
    • make judgements and reach conclusions
    • develop and refine practical design and procedures.

  Exam Board: AQA

For further details please visit:

For further information about the Psychology curriculum please contact:

Jane Abberley

Head of Psychology Department

For further information about the Psychology curriculum please contact:

Jane Abberbley
Head of Psychology Department