Psychology is the science of human behaviour. It is a relatively new science for A level study, but it is becoming very popular in many schools and colleges.
The AS level syllabus concentrates on 20 chosen pieces of psychological research, including famous studies like the Stanford Prison Experiment, Milgram’s investigations into obedience and one of Freud’s case studies. Students must be familiar with the details of this research including aims, independent and dependent variables, procedures, results and conclusions. In addition the students are required to evaluate the studies in terms of their scientific validity and reliability.
A second component of the syllabus is a number of themes and perspectives which run through the various studies. These include psychological methods, issues of design, sampling, control, the range of approaches in psychology: cognitive, social, physiological and developmental psychology, the issues surrounding reductionism, determinism and the nature versus nurture debate, ethics and the social, moral and cultural context of psychology. The course is demanding and requires critical thinking which is useful for any area of study.
The syllabus aims to provide an introduction to psychological concepts, theories, research findings, and applications while developing an understanding of the range and limitations of psychological theory and practice. Students should learn to explore and understand the relationship between psychological findings and everyday life and develop skills of analysis, interpretation, application and evaluation.
Students do not need to be particularly good at Mathematics to succeed in Psychology, but the subject does require the writing of long essays which demand excellent