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Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and human behaviour. Psychologists are interested in understanding why people do the things they do and also what causes one individual to be different to the next. They devise theories which explain and predict human behaviour, and then carry out investigations to find out whether there is any evidence to support them.


Over the course of the curriculum there is a range of topic-based options which bring together explanations from different approaches and engage students in issues and debates in contemporary psychology. Learners will understand how psychological research is conducted, including the role of the scientific method and data analysis and be able to present information, develop arguments and draw conclusions through a critical approach to research evidence, developing as reflective thinkers. Learners will also develop an understanding of the relationship between psychology and personal, moral, social and cultural issues, as well as an appreciation of ethical issues in psychology.


Exam board: AQA Psychology


Number of exams: 

  • Paper 1 (2 hours): Introductory Topics in Psychology (Social Influence, Memory, Attachment, and Psychopathology).
  • Paper 2 (2 hours): Psychology in Context (Approaches in Psychology, Research Methods and Biopsychology).
  • Paper 3 (2 hours): Issues and Options in Psychology (Section A is a compulsory section on Issues and Debates in Psychology. Sections B, C, D each contain questions on the in-depth option topics you've studied .
Year 12 Year 13

Terms 1 & 2

Approaches in Psychology 

Research Methods


Terms 3&4

Social Influence 



Terms 5&6

Issues and Debates 


Terms 1&2



Terms 3&4

Forensic Psychology 

Research Methods 

Terms 5&6


Why is the curriculum sequenced this way?

The sequence of course content aims to develop essential knowledge and understanding of different areas of the subject and how they relate to each other.  

  • In Year 12, learners are initially taught the different approaches in psychology alongside research methods. These topics have been chosen as they are the foundations of psychology upon which theories of human behaviour and psychology research are built. By covering these topics first it equips students with the psychology research skills, knowledge and vocabulary needed to cover the contextualised topics: Psychopathology, Attachment, Memory and Social Influence. 
  • Covering paper 2 and then paper 1 allows for opportunities to further deepen and secure learners knowledge of the subject throughout both years of the course. E.g. Approaches are covered in the first term and then revisited at several points throughout both year 12 and 13 when looking at psychopathology, attachment and the option topics. 
  • In Year 13, learners continue to explore psychology in greater depth whilst studying Schizophrenia, Gender and Forensic psychology. Research Methods is also revisited later in Year 13 with an emphasis on inferential statistics and consolidating knowledge and understanding from Year 12. 

 How is this course assessed?

  • Regular exam questions in lessons to test your skills
  • A wide range of review and rapid recall techniques to embed and deepen psychological knowledge
  • Longer end of unit mock exams to consolidate everything we have done so far

How can I revise for this course?