A2 Level Psychology

Further Details
Course Code
Full Time, The AS content is taught in the first year of study.
The A2 content is taught in the second year of study.
A Levels
Start Date
04 Sep 2024
End Date
20 Jun 2025
Course Overview
There are two unit exams at the end of Year 1 (AS Level) and a further two at the end of Year 2 (A2 Level)

Year 1

Unit 1 - Psychology: Past to Present
The purpose of this unit is to give a solid grounding in some of the basic core elements of psychology by studying 5 psychological approaches.
For each of the five psychological approaches (biological, psychodynamic, behaviourist, cognitive and positive) it will be necessary for learners to;
•Know and understand the assumptions of each approach
•Apply the assumptions to explain the formation of a relationship
•Know and understand how the approach can be used in therapy (one therapy per approach), and the main components of the therapy
•Evaluate the therapy (including its effectiveness and ethical considerations)
•Evaluate the approach (including strengths, weaknesses and comparison with the four other approaches)
•Know, understand and make judgements on a classic piece of evidence (including methodology, procedures, findings, conclusions and ethical issues and social implications).

Unit 2 - Psychology: Using Psychological Concepts.
Section A: Contemporary Debate
The explorations of five contemporary debates provide an opportunity for independent research into areas that psychology has influenced. Both sides of the debate should be considered from a psychological perspective. Learners are asked to explore the debates using their knowledge and understanding of the five approaches in Unit 1. The 5 debates to be investigated are;
• The ethics of neuroscience
• The mother as the primary caregiver
• Using conditioning techniques to control children’s behaviour
• Reliability of eyewitness testimony (including children)
• The role of positive psychology in today’s society

Section B: Principles of Research
The focus for this section is that of psychological research, from the initial planning stages through to the final stage of analysis and evaluation. To give an appropriate context for the teaching, two pieces of research from the work of social and developmental psychologists should be studied.

• Social Psychology: Milgram, S. (1963). Behavioural study of Obedience.
• Developmental Psychology: Kohlberg, L. (1968). The child as a moral philosopher.

Section C: Application of research methods to a novel scenario
This section requires learners to apply their knowledge and understanding of research methods to a novel research scenario, making judgements on the details of psychological research.

Year 2

Unit 3 – Psychology: Implications in the Real World
Section A – The Study of Behaviours.
The exploration of 3 behaviours out of 6; Addictive behaviours, Autistic spectrum behaviours, Bullying behaviours, Criminal behaviours, Schizophrenia, Stress.

Section B – Controversies.
This is a synoptic element of the course; five controversies that span psychological research will be studied, and learners will be required to use material from across the course to make their arguments. The controversies are;
• Ethical costs of conducting research
• Non-human animals
• Scientific status
• Sexism
• Cultural bias

Unit 4 – Psychology: Applied Research Methods
Section A: Personal Investigation
To ensure true appreciation of methodologies in psychology, the learners are expected to gain first-hand experience of two research methods by designing and carrying out two investigations during the year. The titles of these investigations change each year, and will be specified by the exam board. Learners will be required to respond to questions concerning these investigations in the assessment. Learners are encouraged to use ICT in researching, designing, analysing and presenting their investigation.

Section B: Novel Scenarios
The second aspect of this component is for learners to apply their knowledge and understanding of research methods to novel research scenarios, making judgements on the details of psychological research.
Examination Board WJEC. At the end of each unit students are required to sit an internally marked mock examination. These rehearsal examinations are devised to be as similar to the external examinations as possible.

External examinations:
Units 1 – 2 (AS) – Unit 1 & 2 are examined in the first May of the course – 1 hour 30 minutes each.

Unit 3 (A2) – the second June of the course – 2 hour 30 minutes exam.

Unit 4 (A2) – the second June of the course – 1 hour 30 minutes.
5 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above including English Language / Welsh (1st Language) and Maths, and meet the following criteria:

-GCSE sciences at grade C/4 or above

At Coleg Cambria we would encourage you to do the very best that you can in your exams. The better your grades the more options you will have, and may result in you gaining entry onto a higher level course.
Employers in most realms recognise Psychology as a subject that prepares and matures people for almost any kind of employment. The AS level demonstrates an understanding of people and by completing the A2, the student should have developed the power of critical analysis in dealing with human phenomena.

At degree level, Psychology can open the doorway to a number of careers: Personnel, Management, Caring Professions and Teaching. For example, a good degree can lead to becoming a Chartered Psychologist in areas clinical, educational, industrial, occupational or forensic.
Some courses may require equipment and/or uniforms to be purchased. Please see attached equipment list for further information.
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