A Level Psychology

Key Information

Examination Board Cambridge International Examinations
Syllabus Code 9990
Entry Requirements IGCSE Grade B in English Literature & First Language English, Mathematics Grade C.

Introduction

Students usually enjoy this course as it addresses many questions which pre-occupy adolescents.  It requires consistent application and, in order to achieve the highest grades, a willingness to ‘read around’ the subject.   Students would usually need a minimum of a B in English; a C grade is acceptable in Maths and a Science subject

Course Content

The list of careers which a degree or A-level in Psychology prepares you for is incredibly extensive; it is a useful subject in almost any field because it focuses on the understanding of human behaviour in almost any context. At ISS, we follow the Cambridge syllabus, which takes a scientific perspective. This means that the AS candidate has to be familiar with the research which underpins our understanding of human behaviour, and then progress in A2 to apply this to areas of ‘real-life’, through a choice of two units out of four specialist areas: Abnormal psychology, Health psychology, Organisational psychology and Consumer psychology.

Assessment

Students can take the full two year A-level, or an AS level which can be taken as a ‘stand-alone’ qualification.

  • The AS level is worth 50% of the whole A-level.
  • The A2 level is also worth 50% of the total marks awarded for an A-level.
  • The AS level comprises two 1.5 hour long papers (Paper One and Paper Two) which must be taken at the same time (i.e. in the same exam period, on different days), mainly short answer questions but with a couple of essay questions.
  • The A2 also consists of two 1.5 hour papers, one on theory and one on applications. It comprises a choice of essay questions.

Careers and Progression

Everyone has heard of Clinical Psychology, where people are helped to overcome their mental and behavioural problems. Most people have heard of Forensic Psychology which helps catch and rehabilitate criminals. And some people have heard of, or even spoken with, an Educational Psychologist who helps schools and pupils become more effective at teaching and learning.

But there are so many more jobs in psychology. Did you know there are Traffic Psychologists — technically called Ergonomists — who study drivers, their cars and their driving patterns in order to work with industry in designing vehicles, developing driving tests, and advising urban planners? Or Consumer Psychologists who help manufacturers and retailers sell more goods? The list is virtually endless.

For more information, contact Mr Mingay