Psychology

Overview

Inside your head is a brain, a collection of cells made of the same materials as all the cells in your body. However, this collection of cells has a peculiar property associated with it – a mind. You feel love, hate, fear, desire, pride, guilt. You think thoughts, plan, dream, imagine, make decisions… but how does a few kilograms of meat produce a person? Psychology attempts to provide explanations for how this collection of cells and chemical and electrical signals produces a person and why people behave in the ways they do. It considers development from before birth through to old age, the changes taking place, and how these affect thought and behaviour. Psychology also considers how we affect, and are in turn affected by, the people around us and the society we live in. It tries to explain why people are so alike in some respects and yet so different in others.

The department expects to accept students onto the A level course who have achieved an A/7/8/9 in GCSE Biology or English Language, with a good understanding of Mathematics..

To study Psychology successfully, students should have a combination of curiosity, skepticism, an interest in explaining human behaviour and a willingness to read around the subject. Students should be prepared to become self-reliant, and to work hard!

Curriculum

A Level –Year 1

In the Lower Sixth, students will study the following:

  • Research Methods
  • Social Influence
  • Memory
  • Attachment
  • Psychopathology
  • Approaches in Psychology (including Biopsychology)

Assessment: A series of assessments and examination material will be administered throughout the year, with more formal examination practice in the form of Internal Progress Examinations also taking place. Papers are comprised of multiple choice and short answer questions as well as extended writing.

A Level-Year 2

In the Upper Sixth, students will study the following:

  • Additional content from topics studied in the Lower Sixth
  • Biopsychology
  • Issues and Debates in Psychology
  • Cognition and Development
  • Schizophrenia
  • Forensic Psychology

Assessment: Three 120 minute examinations of topics studies throughout the two year course, equally weighted for the A level qualification. These are comprised of multiple choice and short answer questions as well as extended writing.

AQA Psychology specification

Areas studied

The course will involve lectures, discussions, experiments, research, seminars and presentations as well as some flipped learning. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their own learning, and to see the teachers not as the people who tell them all of the answers, but as aids to them finding those answers themselves.

Students can expect to encounter some of the following questions while studying Psychology:

  • What makes Psychology a science?
  • Why can I remember the latest celebrity gossip from a magazine easily, but not the material I need for an examination?
  • What can happen if a person doesn’t form attachments?
  • Under what circumstances will people obey orders and why?
  • What does it mean to be abnormal?
  • Why are some individuals more likely than others to commit crimes?

Students will gain considerable experience in thinking critically, as they will be required to not only understand the theories covered but also evaluate them, taking into consideration evidence for and against, quality of evidence, and the logical coherence of the theories. Students will design and carry out research and learn the limitations of different methods.

Psychology complements many other subjects; from Biology to History, Chemistry to Politics, English to Art. It provides a useful perspective on these subjects, as well as being a fascinating subject in its own right.

Trips, activities and clubs

External speakers who are experts in their fields will give talks to complement the course for Psychology students and as enrichment for interested students and there will be subject related trips on offer.

Students are also encouraged to attend external lectures when available and those interested will be provided with opportunities to deliver Psychology related talks to other members of the Eltham College community

Staff

  • Ms M Pokorny BSc (Head of Psychology and Deputy Head of Sixth Form)