Psychology at LGS
- Ever wondered if prison really does alter criminal behaviour?
- Or why some people obey those in authority but others defy orders?
- Or perhaps if the experiences you had as a very young infant shape the relationships you have in later life?
A-level Psychology is currently the second most popular subject in the UK – which tells you what an exciting and relevant area of study it is. It will give you an understanding of the way people think and why people behave in the way they do. You will develop critical thinking, research, scientific, extended writing and mathematical skills. If you enjoy a little bit of everything all rolled into one, you’ll love it; whether you are a humanities or science student. It is a hybrid subject but classified by the government and most universities as a science.
The word psychology literally means the study of the soul. As such, it is unique in the way it straddles the sciences (natural and social) and the humanities. Psychology as an academic discipline is exceptionally diverse. Apart from being an inherently fascinating subject, the ideas of psychologists hold great sway in society and are of the foremost practical importance for public policy, especially in areas like criminal justice and economics. To bring the subject to life, you will study about the distortion of eyewitness testimony, the impact of early attachment on later relationships and why past events such as the Holocaust took place. You can expect to develop an understanding of different schools of psychological thought such as behaviourism, humanism and the biological, cognitive and psychodynamic approaches and how these offer opposing or complimentary explanations for human behaviour. Psychologists also plan and design experiments, collect evidence from observations and questionnaires and analyse and evaluate data gathered to explain behaviour empirically, using statistical testing.
Psychology can be a controversial and sensitive topic to study – topics such as mental illness, gender and attachment may affect you or members of your family so you will need to approach the study of the subject in an objective and mature way.
What subjects does Psychology complement?
Psychology is a multifaceted scientific subject and has close ties with a range of disciplines; other subjects that go particularly well with Psychology are Maths, Sciences (Biology, Chemistry), Social Sciences (Economics and Business) and Humanities (English Literature, Religious Studies). As an A-level it provides excellent preparation for Higher Education; the subject encourages an open-minded approach to problems and develops excellent analytical and communication skills transferable to many areas of study. Not only does it lead to a variety of psychology-specific degree options but studying psychology also serves as a valuable basis for other higher education options (e.g., neuroscience; law; nursing). Students may go on to study pure psychology and specific study options (e.g., sports and forensic psychology). A career in Psychology can be a rewarding path; qualified psychologists are required in Education, the Health Services, Commerce and Industry. Some BSc courses may require a Science at A-level, in addition to Psychology. An essential consideration when selecting a Psychology degree is to ensure it is accredited by the BPS (British Psychological Society). To achieve chartered status as a psychologist, a highly standardised and regulated route of study and practice is required (http://beta.bps.org.uk/). An increasing number of university medical schools will include Psychology among the subjects considered as a Science; students with a desire to read Medicine should conduct their own research on admissions pages online.
Possible career options
Psychology is increasingly valued by employers who recognise the analytical and reasoning skills studying the subject gives you.
- Business Development
- Human Resources
- Forensic psychology
- Occupational therapy
- Clinical psychology
What specification will you follow?
At Leicester Grammar School we follow the AQA Specification. You can find the specification and supporting documents at: https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/psychology/as-and-a-level/psychology-7181-7182/specification-at-a-glance
Your Psychology A level will cover the following topics:
Paper 1: Introductory Topics in Psychology
- Social Influence
- Psychopathology (Phobias, Depression, OCD)
Paper 2: Psychology in Context
- Research Methods (double-weighted)
Paper 3: Issues and Options in Psychology
- Issues and Debates
You will sit three examination papers of 2 hours each at the end of Year 13 which will consist of multiple choice, short answer and extended essay questions. A minimum of 30% of your final assessment will be on the topic of Research Methods and at least 10% will consist of mathematical skills and statistics. There is no coursework in A Level Psychology; it is examination assessed only.
The department is proud to announce that in the 2022 June examination series 57% of students achieved an A*, 84% achieved A*-A grades and 94% A*-B.
Co-curricular & Trips
The ability to organise trips has been somewhat limited in the previous two years but a braod range of co-curricular opportunities have still been offered:
Previous department activities have included:
- Virtual trip to the Freud museum
- Careers talk on Clinical Psychology
- Academic lecture on autism
- Virtual lecture on paediatric psychology
- Optional trip to the “Criminal Minds” evening
- Academic lecture on Sports Psychology (December 2021)
- Guest speaker on Schizophrenia (Consultant Psychiatrist and Mental Health nurse)
- Academic lecture on Forensic Psychology (January 2022)
- Brain day with Dr Guy Sutton (February 2022)
- Trip to the National Holocaust Museum with a focus on Social Influence
Further activities planned for 2022/23 include:
- Brain day with Dr Guy Sutton (February 2023)
- Evening academic lecture on “The Criminal Brain” (February 2022)
- Academic lecture on Sports Performance Psychology (Lara Barrett)
- Trip to Warwick University to Psychology in Action conference (November 2022)
Previous trips have taken place to UCL to see Elizabeth Loftus speak on Memory and to the University of Nottingham to hear Mark Griffiths lecture on Addiction.
Future trips further afield in 2023-2025 may include:
- Krakow: to consider the topics of conformity and obedience in Nazi Germany
- New York: to explore forensic psychology within the NYPD and social influence via the events of 9/11