Why study Psychology at Isaac Newton Academy?

People like to offer their own explanations as to why individuals behave the way that they do. The mind is such a complex entity that we are naturally driven to deepen our understanding of the behaviours of both ourselves and of those around us! The study of Psychology allows us to broaden this knowledge of our internal processes and related behaviour, beyond the realms of mere speculation and ‘guesswork’. Psychology is, by definition, the scientific study of the mind and behaviour and Psychology therefore aims to explain human and animal behaviour through using scientific theory and research.

Learners who elect to study A- Level Psychology at Isaac Newton Academy can expect to be taught fascinating psychological theories of behaviour and will be encouraged to critically analyse these theories and their respective strengths and limitations. Learners will then extend their knowledge beyond the classroom to suggest practical uses of how psychological theory can be applied to improve the quality of life at both a societal and individual level.

Studying A- Level Psychology will also enable learners to develop various transferable skills such as analysis, evaluation, numeracy and literacy that can be utilised in many Humanities and Science based subjects. Consequently, Psychology at Isaac Newton Academy will equip learners with the skills needed for success not only at A-Level but also at university and beyond.

What topics will you study?

Learners will follow the AQA A- Level Psychology course; listed below are the topics that will be studied and the corresponding examination papers. Each paper is worth 33.3% of the overall A- Level.

Paper 1: Social Influence; Memory; Attachment; Psychopathology

Paper 2: Research Methods; Approaches in Psychology; Biopsychology

Paper 3: Issues and Debates in Psychology; Gender; Schizophrenia; Forensic Psychology

How can you prepare for the course?

To enable you to rise to the challenge of studying A- Level Psychology, you will need to complete the summer learning task (outlined below) before your first Psychology lesson. This task will require you to research famous psychologists form a particular field in Psychology and their respective theories.

Adrian Raine- Biological Psychology (aggression/ criminality)

Edward Thorndike- Behaviourism

Albert Bandura- Social Learning Theory

Albert Ellis- Cognitive Psychology

Sigmund Freud- Psychodynamic Psychology

Abraham Maslow- Humanistic Psychology

You will need to write a brief, hand written, summary (no more than 300- 500 words) describing the main ideas or contributions of each individual to the field of Psychology. You may either write a summary describing, briefly, the different theories each Psychologist has proposed or studies they have conducted; or you may to describe one particular study or theory in more detail. Be ready to discuss thus during your first Psychology lesson.

The following books will ensure you are well prepared to start your A-level in Psychology. Always ensure the book you are choosing corresponds to the AQA A-Level course rather than the AS course.

To supplement your subject specific reading, the following books will provide a useful starting point in demonstrating your interest in Psychology outside of the classroom the UCAS application process.

The man who mistook his wife for a hat - ISBN-13: 978-0330523622 - £7

Hallucinations – Oliver sacks - ISBN-13: 978-1447208266 - £7.50

The Interpretation of Dreams (Classics of World Literature) - 978-1853264849 - £4

Studies in Hysteria (Penguin Modern Classics) - 978-0141184821 - £13

The Unconscious (Penguin Modern Classics Translated Texts) - 978-0141183886 - £8

Freud and Man's Soul - 978-0140147575 - £5


The following are excellent websites to explore and expand your understanding of Psychology. They may be used throughout the course to find revision notes and past-paper questions.