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Ribston Hall High School

Ribston HallHigh School

Key Stage 5 

Exam board



Studying Psychology gives students an insight into the working of the human mind and how this affects aspects of our everyday lives. It will inform students about the research methods that psychologists use and give them a chance to try it out themselves. We cover a variety of topics at A level which all offer something slightly different in terms of insight into why we think and behave the way we do.

It’s a rich mixture of previous subjects you would have studied in the lower school such as science, maths, history and English and builds on the skills you would have developed in these subjects.

An understanding of psychology is invaluable for all careers that involve working with people such as medicine, business, education and much more. The A level will help those choosing to pursue a career in Psychology from undergraduate degrees in Psychology to post graduate qualifications in the fields of Clinical, Health, Forensic, Occupational and Educational Psychology all at doctorate levels.

Psychology is offered at A Level at Ribston Hall High School. It is assessed by three examinations which are taken at the end of the two-year course. Each paper is an assessed written exam: 2 hours, 96 marks in total, 33.3% of A-level. A mixture of multiple choice, short answers and extended writing answers (essays). 33% of the overall grade is research methods-based knowledge with a dedicated section but also peppered throughout all sections of the exam (10% of which is maths-based questions) which reflects psychology being regarded as a scientific discipline.

  Year 12 Year 13

Research methods: · Experiments Memory: · Multi-store model · Long-term · Working memory · Forgetting · Eyewitness testimony Research methods: · Observations and self-reports

Approaches · Learning · Cognitive · Biological · Psychodynamic · Humanistic

Issues and debates: · Gender and culture · Free-will and determinism · Nature/nurture · Holism and reductionism · Idiographic and nomothetic approaches · Ethical issues

Forensic psychology: · Offender profiling · Biological explanations · Psychological explanations · Offender behaviour


Social influence: · Conformity · Obedience · Resistance · Minority influence Research methods: · Data analysis Psychopathology: · Defining abnormality · OCD · Phobias · Depression

Attachment: · Caregiver-infant interactions · Animal studies · Explanations · Types of attachment · Maternal deprivation · Influence of attachment

Schizophrenia: · Classification · Biological explanations · Psychological explanations · Therapies · The interactionist approach

Cognition and development: · Piaget · Vygotsky · Baillargeon · Social cognition


Biopsychology: · The nervous system · Neurons · Endocrine system · Fight or flight · The brain

Research methods: · Statistics Biopsychology: · Biological rhythms

Paper 1 – Social influence, memory, attachment, psychopathology ·

Paper 2 – Approaches, biopsychology, research methods ·

Paper 3 – Issues and debates, cognition and development, schizophrenia, forensic psychology

Extra-curricular opportunities

In school:

· Lunch time ‘Aim Higher’ Club.

· Extensive super-curricular library for psychology with an optional reading challenge. Many of which are on the suggested Oxford University reading list.

· Lunch time documentary/book club which our psychology student representative lead.

· Brain dissection session. (Linked to Biopsychology)

· Criminology conference with key lecturers working in the field of forensic psychology. Including David Canter.

· Students sign up to the British Psychological Society Weekly Digest to be aware of new research being published in a student-friendly format which also includes podcasts from expert psychologists in the field.


Trips to the psychology conference in London. Zimbardo (social psychology) and Loftus (memory; Eyewitness testimony) have been previous guest speakers.

Online lectures; wider than the specification from universities across the country.

Encouragement to attend the Cheltenham science and literature festivals in relation to psychology research and literature.