A Level Psychology

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The A Level Psychology online course covers a broad range of subjects, including social and cognitive psychology, child development, and the psychology that lies behind atypical behaviour. You'll gain an understanding of why people develop differently and of the causes of conditions such as autism and anxiety disorders.

As you study our online learning course you will gain an understanding of the main issues that arise from various psychological methods, and look at the ways in which psychology can be applied.

You will learn to conduct effective research and how to interpret the results, how to use statistics effectively and deal with ethical issues.

As you discover how others think, you'll also be gaining an insight into your own psyche and behavioral traits, which is a valuable asset in both your personal and working life.

**This course prepares you for the new AQA Psychology A Level specification (7182), for examinations in Summer 2017. This will be the first examination for this specification. For more information on A level specification reforms please speak to our course advisors.**

Course Content

This course prepares students for the AQA Psychology A Level specification (7182), for examinations in Summer 2017 and beyond.  For more information on A level specification reforms please speak to our course advisors.

The A Level Psychology is structured into 10 individual units which relate to three themes. All three themes have externally examined assessments.

Unit 1: Approaching Psychology

  1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of psychological concepts, theories, research studies, research methods and ethical issues in relation to the specified Paper 1 content
  2. Apply psychological knowledge and understanding of the specified Paper 1 content in a range of contexts
  3. Analyse, interpret and evaluate psychological concepts, theories, research studies and research methods in relation to the specified Paper 1 content
  4. Evaluate therapies and treatments including in terms of their appropriateness and effectiveness.

 

Knowledge and understanding of research methods, practical research skills and mathematical skills will be assessed in Paper 1. These skills should be developed through study of the specification content and through ethical practical research activities, involving:

  1. Designing research
  2. Conducting research
  3. Analysing and interpreting data.

 

Unit 2: Research Methods

Students should demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the following research methods, scientific processes and techniques of data handling and analysis, be familiar with their use and be aware of their strengths and limitations.

  1. Experimental method. Types of experiment, laboratory and field experiments; natural and quasi-experiments.
  2. Observational techniques. Types of observation: naturalistic and controlled observation; covert and overt observation; participant and non-participant observation.
  3. Self-report techniques. Questionnaires; interviews, structured and unstructured.
  4. Correlations. Analysis of the relationship between co-variables. The difference between correlations and experiments.
  5. Content analysis.
  6. Case studies

 

Unit 3: Memory

The multi-store model of memory: sensory register, short-term memory and long-term memory. Features of each store: coding, capacity and duration.

  1. Types of long-term memory: episodic, semantic, procedural.
  2. The working memory model: central executive, phonological loop, visuospatial sketchpad and episodic buffer. Features of the model: coding and capacity.
  3. Explanations for forgetting: proactive and retroactive interference and retrieval failure due to absence of cues.
  4. Factors affecting the accuracy of eyewitness testimony: misleading information, including leading questions and post-event discussion; anxiety.
  5. Improving the accuracy of eyewitness testimony, including the use of the cognitive interview.

 

Unit 4: Social Influence

  1. Types of conformity: internalisation, identification and compliance. Explanations for conformity: informational social influence and normative social influence, and variables affecting conformity including group size, unanimity and task difficulty as investigated by Asch.
  2. Conformity to social roles as investigated by Zimbardo.
  3. Explanations for obedience: agentic state and legitimacy of authority, and situational variables affecting obedience including proximity, location and uniform, as investigated by Milgram.
  4. Dispositional explanation for obedience: the Authoritarian Personality.
  5. Explanations of resistance to social influence, including social support and locus of control.
  6. Minority influence including reference to consistency, commitment and flexibility.
  7. The role of social influence processes in social change.

 

Unit 5: Attachment

  1. Demographic change and the family
  2. Caregiver-infant interactions in humans: reciprocity and interactional synchrony. Stages of attachment identified by Schaffer. Multiple attachments and the role of the father.
  3. Animal studies of attachment: Lorenz and Harlow.
  4. Explanations of attachment: learning theory and Bowlby’s monotropic theory. The concepts of a critical period and an internal working model.
  5. Ainsworth’s ‘Strange Situation’. Types of attachment: secure, insecure-avoidant and insecure resistant. Cultural variations in attachment, including van Ijzendoorn.
  6. Bowlby’s theory of maternal deprivation. Romanian orphan studies: effects of institutionalisation.
  7. The influence of early attachment on childhood and adult relationships, including the role of an internal working model.

 

Unit 6: Psychopathology

  1. Definitions of abnormality, including deviation from social norms, failure to function adequately, statistical infrequency and deviation from ideal mental health.
  2. The behavioural, emotional and cognitive characteristics of phobias, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
  3. The behavioural approach to explaining and treating phobias: the two-process model, including classical and operant conditioning; systematic desensitisation, including relaxation and use of hierarchy; flooding.
  4. The cognitive approach to explaining and treating depression: Beck’s negative triad and Ellis’s ABC model; cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), including challenging irrational thoughts.
  5. The biological approach to explaining and treating OCD: genetic and neural explanations; drug therapy.

 

Unit 7: Issues and Debates on Psychology

Students will be expected to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of psychological concepts, theories, research studies, research methods and ethical issues in relation to the specified Paper 3 content
  2. Apply psychological knowledge and understanding of the specified Paper 3 content in a range of contexts
  3. Analyse, interpret and evaluate psychological concepts, theories, research studies and research methods in relation to the specified Paper 3 content
  4. Evaluate therapies and treatments including in terms of their appropriateness and effectiveness.

 

Knowledge and understanding of research methods, practical research skills and mathematical skills will be assessed in Paper 3. These skills should be developed through study of the specification content and through ethical practical research activities, involving:

  1. Designing research
  2. Conducting research
  3. Analysing and interpreting data.

 

In answering questions on Issues and debates in psychology students will be expected to illustrate their answers with knowledge and understanding of topics studied elsewhere in the specification as appropriate.

Unit 8: Psychological and social explanations of gender development

  1. Sex and gender. Sex-role stereotypes. Androgyny and measuring androgyny including the Bem Sex Role Inventory.
  2. The role of chromosomes and hormones (testosterone, oestrogen and oxytocin) in sex and gender.
  3. Atypical sex chromosome patterns: Klinefelter’s syndrome and Turner’s syndrome.
  4. Cognitive explanations of gender development, Kohlberg’s theory, gender identity, gender stability and gender constancy; gender schema theory.
  5. Psychodynamic explanation of gender development, Freud’s psychoanalytic theory, Oedipus
  6. Complex; Electra complex; identification and internalisation.
  7. Social learning theory as applied to gender development. The influence of culture and media on gender roles.
  8. Atypical gender development: gender identity disorder; biological and social explanations for gender identity disorder.

 

Unit 9: Schizophrenia

  1. Classification of schizophrenia. Positive symptoms of schizophrenia, including hallucinations and delusions. Negative symptoms of schizophrenia, including speech poverty and avolition. Reliability and validity in diagnosis and classification of schizophrenia, including reference to co-morbidity, culture and gender bias and symptom overlap.
  2. Biological explanations for schizophrenia: genetics, the dopamine hypothesis and neural correlates.
  3. Psychological explanations for schizophrenia: family dysfunction and cognitive explanations, including dysfunctional thought processing.
  4. Drug therapy: typical and atypical antipsychotics.
  5. Cognitive behaviour therapy and family therapy as used in the treatment of schizophrenia. Token economies as used in the management of schizophrenia.
  6. The importance of an interactionist approach in explaining and treating schizophrenia; the diathesis stress model.

 

Unit 10: Addiction

  1. Describing addiction: physical and psychological dependence, tolerance and withdrawal syndrome.
  2. Risk factors in the development of addiction, including genetic vulnerability, stress, personality, family influences and peers.
  3. Explanations for nicotine addiction: brain neurochemistry, including the role of dopamine, and learning theory as applied to smoking behaviour, including reference to cue reactivity.
  4. Explanations for gambling addiction: learning theory as applied to gambling, including reference to partial and variable reinforcement; cognitive theory as applied to gambling, including reference to cognitive bias.
  5. Reducing addiction: drug therapy; behavioural interventions, including aversion therapy and covert sensitisation; cognitive behaviour therapy.
  6. The application of the following theories of behaviour change to addictive behaviour; the theory of planned behaviour and Prochaska’s six-stage model of behaviour change.
Entry Requirements

You don't need any previous experience or qualifications to enrol in our A Level Psychology course. That's because we believe in making home study - and a rewarding future - as accessible as possible. 

Where will I go from here?

An A Level in Psychology can lead to university studies and a career in psychology, plus a wide variety of careers that involve personal interaction or communication, such as marketing, health care and personnel management. If you want to enter or progress in employment, you'll find your A Level Psychology will demonstrate to employers that you have the ability to commit to learning, and have acquired good reasoning and analytical skills and an understanding of people - essential in practically every walk of life.

What will I gain?

This course will prepare you to sit the A Level Psychology exams.

Assessment

There are three exams for the AQA A Level Psychology specification 7182

  1. Paper 1: Introductory topics in Psychology
  2. Paper 2: Psychology in context
  3. Paper 3: Issues and options in Psychology

 

These exams are set nationally by AQA. The new A Level syllabus will be a two year linear course with all assessments at one exam diet

The first available examination date for this course takes place in Summer 2017

Important Exam Information

Please note that you are responsible for making your own exam arrangements. You will have to pay an examination fee as well as a centre fee which will vary depending on exam centre.

Find out more information about arranging your examinations.

This course prepares students for the AQA Psychology A Level specification (7182), for examinations in Summer 2017 and beyond. These will be the first examinations for this specification. For more information on A level specification reforms please speak to our course advisors.

What will I get?

Because we're experts in home learning, we offer all the support you need along the way.

You'll gain access to our study materials via our online Student Community. These materials have been specially designed for distance learning by experts in your chosen field. 

Supporting textbooks are not provided with this course. However, we strongly recommend students of the A Level Psychology course source the following ebooks due to the additional resources available:

  1. AQA A-level Psychology Book 1: Jean-Marc Lawton, Eleanor Willard Publisher: Hodder
  2. AQA A-level Psychology Book 2 Jean-Marc Lawton, Eleanor Willard Publisher: Hodder

 

You'll have access to an experienced personal tutor both online and over the phone, ready to help you with guidance and motivation.

Being part of our online Student Community means you will also have access to library materials and your account information, as well as vital links with your fellow students, with the chance to discuss your work and ask questions.

Payment Options

You can either pay for your course in full or opt for an interest free monthly payment plan.

Speak to one of our course advisors now for payment plans.

Additional Fees

Centre exam and registration fees are additional to your course fees and these costs may vary according to the exam centre you use.

Find out more information about arranging your examinations.

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  • Course Code H77
  • Guided Learning Hours 320
  • Support Period 18 Months

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