Psychology is defined as “the scientific study of people, the mind and behaviour” (BPS). Throughout the A Level programme students will be looking at many different aspects of behaviour, both typical (memory, obedience etc) and atypical (depression, schizophrenia etc). 

The A Level Psychology course aims to provide students with:

  • Knowledge and understanding of psychological theories, concepts, research paradigms and research findings
  • Research skills, including statistical and other data analysis skills, which will equip them well for further education
  • An awareness of applications and implications of psychological theories and research
  • The ability to think critically and creatively about the content learned
  • An understanding of how psychology relates to other disciplines
  • Active-learning skills and transferable skills (e.g. study skills, information retrieval skills, communication skills, group work skills).

A student opting to study Psychology at Cross and Passion College will be encouraged to:

  • approach the study of Psychology with confidence and a positive attitude, founded on their enjoyment of the subject
  • gain an understanding of psychological knowledge through a range of theories and studies.
  • gain fluency and confidence in the use of the psychological terminology and methods.
  • reflect on their individual learning experience
  • enjoy and benefit from working both independently and in cooperation with others.
  • develop an ability to gather appropriate and relevant information from a range of sources.
  • develop skills of critical analysis, interpretation and evaluation


Miss E McKay  (Teacher in charge of Social Sciences)

Post 16

Exam board- AQA

This is a two year course.  Due to A Level reform, Psychology is now examined linearly, meaning there are no modular exams. A student who chooses A Level Psychology will sit their exams at the end of Year 14. 

Whilst this might seem daunting, there are many benefits of this, such as:

  • number of exams reduced from 4 to 3
  • a full term before exams to recap and work on exam technique
  • more flexibility in teaching to allow students time for independent research
  • a change in specification to include more relevant, interesting topics


Paper 1: Introducing topics in Psychology:

  • Social Influence (obedience, conformity, social roles and social pressures)
  • Memory (multi-store model of memory, long-term memory, explanations of forgetting, use of eyewitness testimonies)
  • Attachment (caregiver-infant interactions, Bowlby, Ainsworth, maternal deprivation, Romanian orphanages studies)
  • Psychopathology (abnormality, OCD, phobias, depression)

Paper 2: Psychology in Context:

  • Approaches in Psychology (Biological, Cognitive, Psychodynamic, Humanistic, Learning)
  • Biopsychology (nervous system, neurons, fight or flight response, areas and functions of the brain, sleep/wake cycle)
  • Research Methods (experiments, observations, correlations, case studies)

Paper 3: Issues and Options in Psychology

  • Issues and Debates (gender and culture, free will and determinism, nature and nurture, idiographic and nomothetic)
  • Options: Students will choose 3 options, 1 from each group as follows:



-Cognition and Development


-Eating Behaviour



-Forensic Psychology



A Psychology trip to London is organised every two years. Students get a chance to explore aspects of Psychology outside the classroom for example Jack the Ripper Tour (Forensic Psychology), London Zoo (use of animals for research), National Science Museum (Who Am I? Psychology exhibition). On the most recent trip, students got to attend a ‘mock’ Psychology lecture in the University College of London (rated number 4 in the top UK Universities for Psychology 2014)

The NI branch of the BPS run annual Psychology events which our students are encouraged to attend. Events in 2014/2015 included:

  • Sport and Exercise Psychology Public Lecture
  • A Flavour of Psychology event at Queen’s University Belfast- aimed at A Level students interested in studying Psychology at University
  • All Ireland Psychology Undergraduate Careers Event
  • I’m a Psychologist Get Me Out of Here’  at University of Ulster- aimed at students from Year 11- Year 12, to give them a taste of what studying Psychology would be like
  • Inaugural A Level Conference at Queen’s University Belfast, for students currently studying A Level Psychology


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