EXAM DATES 2015
Welcome to year 12 and the study of psychology. You have chosen one of the
most popular A levels studied throughout the country. So why have you chosen
psychology? There could be all number of reasons you selected this subject.
These could be as diverse as that you have seen Derren Brown on the TV and
you thinks he’s great, you have a real interest in the subject, you thought beig
bale to read peoples minds would be a good trick or you didn’t fancy any of the
other subjects ion offer so you thought you’d give it a go ! What ever your
reasons I’m hope that you will find it both interesting, enjoyable and thought
The British Psychological Society who lay down the rules and regulations for all
psychological activity in the UK define psychology as “the scientific study of
people, the mind and behaviour”. Throughout the programme we will be looking
at many different aspects of psychology and looking at why people behave the
way that they do and what is it that make different people react in different
ways in similar situations. We will be doing this is a number of different ways.
Which will include looking at a number of famous research studies which have
been carried out in the past and discussing their findings research. We will be
looking at the strengths and weaknesses and whether the research would be
allowed to be carried out today. We will get the chance to be psychologists and
conduct our own psychological experiments on each other in class.
The rest of this booklet includes information about what you need to bring to
class my expectations. Tip on how to get on in psychology information about
plagiarism – if you don’t know what it is make sure you read this section very
carefully! What is covered in the syllabus and the topics we will be coving and
the assessment objectives.
I hope that you enjoy the study of this new topic.
Miss Bowman and Mrs Hillary September 2014
Organisation and Expectations
What you need to bring to class every lesson
A4 Lever arch folder with dividers – this must contain this handbook and the
laminated assessment objectives
The Complete Companions: A2 Student Book for AQA A Psychology (Third
Edition) (Paperback) by Mike Cardwell (Author), Cara Flanagan (Author) – please
ensure you purchase the third edition.
A4, wide ruled file paper
Pen, pencil, pack of highlighters and ruler
There will be a lot of hand-outs during this course so you need to be
organised. Make sure you file away your hand-outs regularly so that you
don’t lose anything.
All the worksheets and PowerPoints used in class can be found on the Show
My Homework will be updated weekly..
It is expected that you attend every lesson and that you arrive punctually
and prepared. Unless specifically told by me, assume that you need to bring
your textbook and folder to every lesson. You may also be asked to read an
article or book chapter in preparation for a lesson. It is vitally important
that this is done, as the information will be needed to complete class work,
and you may be tested on the content.
If you miss any lessons, it is your responsibility to catch up – come and see
us if you need some extra clarification or explanation. If you lose any of the
worksheets it is your responsibility to print off new copies.
I expected that all work set is handed in on the date due. If you feel that
you will be unable to complete a piece of work for a set date, come and see
me to arrange an extension on the deadline. Should work not be handed in
on time, and no extension has been requested, expect to spend a lunchtime
or after school session catching up!. All homework will appear on Show My
Homework. Absence from a lesson is not an excuse for not completing
If you need any extra help understanding the topics covered in class, or
guidance on homework please ask me – I am not a mind reader!
How to get ahead in psychology
These are a few tips for enhancing your study of psychology.
1. After each lesson review the work we have covered to ensure that you
fully understand it.
2. Start revising early: Don’t leave all your revision to the last minute. The
most successful students are those who start their revision weeks,
or even months before their exam. The best way is to revise as you
go. At the end of each topic make revision notes, and look back at
3. Practice practice practice: At the end of each topic there will be a
mini mock. You will also receive exam type questions for you to
complete for homework. If you do any extra work, I will be more
than happy to mark it and give you feedback.
4. Read beyond the textbook: there are a few psychology textbooks
and available in the library. Reading about the same content in a different
book is a great way to consolidate your learning.
5. Use the internet: there are some fantastic psychology websites out
there, and they often have interactive areas for you to try out your
knowledge. A great website is the BPS Research Digest which has updates
of recent research, and it is written in student friendly language
(http://bps-research-digest.blogspot.com/). YouTube is also very useful
to find psychology videos. Take a look at the Student room
http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk this contains lots of useful resources,
revision tips and discussion forums. Be careful however of sites like
Wikipedia, always double check facts. They can often contain errors
which as students you may not be aware of.
A note about plagiarism
What is it?
Plagiarism is when you copy the work of another and pass it off as your own. It
is a very serious issue, and could happen in a number of ways. Work could be
copied from many places, including:
The work of a friend or class mate
a textbook, magazine or other printed material
my slides and hand-outs
Why is it a problem?
Plagiarism is an issue for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is cheating. By passing
off the work of another person as your own, you are technically committing
fraud. At nearly all universities, students who are caught plagiarising will be
expelled from university, and often blacklisted so that other universities may
not accept them. There have been cases where many years after completing a
degree, plagiarism has come to light, and ex-students have been stripped of
their degrees! Therefore, it makes sense to get into the habit of not
plagiarising now if you intend to go to university.
Secondly, plagiarism stops you learning. By just copying the work of someone
else, you are not learning. In the short term, plagiarism may help you get good
grades in homework tasks, but when you are in the exam, without access to your
textbook or Wikipedia, you may suddenly find yourself without a clue, and no
idea of how to answer a question! Similarly, even if you manage to plagiarise and
not get caught out, I will have no idea of your genuine ability and knowledge.
Therefore, I will not be able to provide you with the help and guidance that you
need to help you achieve. You will also waste my time by getting me to mark work
which is not yours.
Thirdly, you will get caught. Even if you think you are getting away with
plagiarising, you will eventually get caught out. Students who are caught
plagiarising will be asked to hand in every piece of work which has been set so
far in the year. These will be checked, and any which are found to have been
plagiarised will need to be redone..
How can you avoid plagiarism?
By following these simple tips, you should be able to avoid plagiarism.
Do use the internet/textbooks/magazines for research. However don’t
just copy/cut and paste sentences or paragraphs exactly or just change a
few words. Try to paraphrase by taking the main idea of what you want to
express but putting it into your own words. A god way to do this is read the
article twice then rewrite the main ideas from memory. You can then go
back to check if you have missed anything key.
One of the sure-fire ways that I will know if you have been copying from
the internet etc. is if when questioned about an idea or term used, you are
unable to show understanding. If you don’t understand something that you
have read, either don’t include it in your work, or ask me to explain it.
It is a good habit to briefly note down at the bottom of any work or extra
notes you make which websites/ textbooks or magazines etc. that you have
used. This is useful so you know where you found the info if you want to
check back during your revision or share something interesting with the
rest of the class.
Although the hand-outs and text books will probably be the main source of
information for you during the course it is important that you learn to put
things in your own words. One way to do this is to use the hand-outs to
create your essay structure, but then trying to write the essay itself from
Can I work with a friend?
Working with a friend on a homework task is a great way to enhance your
learning (two minds are better than one!). However, it can often result in two
students producing homework which is nearly identical. This might lead me to
assume that one person has copied another person’s work. To avoid this problem
carry out your research together and discuss your findings but produce the
final piece of written work on your own.
Specification for AS Examinations to be taken Summer 2014
PSYA1 Written paper 1 hour 30 minutes
Models of memory •
The multi-store model, including the concepts of encoding, capacity and
duration. Strengths and limitations of the model
The working memory model, including its strengths and limitations
Memory in everyday life
Eyewitness testimony (EWT). Factors affecting the accuracy of EWT,
including misleading information, anxiety, age of witness
Improving accuracy of EWT, including the use of the cognitive interview
Strategies for memory improvement
Early Social Development -Attachment
Explanations of attachment, including learning theory and Bowlby’s theory
Types of attachment: secure attachment, insecure-avoidant and insecure
Use of the “Strange Situation” in attachment research
Cultural variations in attachment
The effects of disruption of attachment, failure to form attachment
(privation) and institutional care
Attachment in everyday life
The impact of different forms of day care on children’s social
development including the effects on aggression and peer relations
How research into attachment and day care has influenced child care
Methods and techniques
• Experimental method, including laboratory, field and natural experiments
• Studies using a correlational analysis
• Observational techniques
• Self-report techniques including questionnaire and interview
• Case studies
Investigation design Candidates should be familiar with the following features
of investigation design:
• Hypotheses, including directional and non-directional
• Experimental design (independent groups, repeated measures and matched
• Design of naturalistic observations, including the development and use of
• Design of questionnaires and interviews
• Operationalisation of variables, including independent and dependent variables
• Pilot studies
• Control of extraneous variables
• Reliability and validity
• Awareness of the British Psychological Society (BPS) Code of Ethics
• Ethical issues and ways in which psychologists deal with them
• Selection of participants and sampling techniques, including random,
opportunity and volunteer sampling
• Demand characteristics and investigator effects
Data analysis and presentation
Candidates should be familiar with the following features of data analysis,
presentation and interpretation:
• Presentation and interpretation of quantitative data including graphs,
scatter grams and tables
• Analysis and interpretation of quantitative data. Measures of central tendency
including median, mean, mode. Measures of dispersion including ranges and
• Analysis and interpretation of correlational data. Positive and negative
correlations and the interpretation of correlation coefficients
• Presentation of qualitative data
• Processes involved in content analysis
PSYA2 Written paper 1 hour 30 minutes
Biological Psychology - Stress as a bodily response
• The body’s response to stress, including the pituitary-adrenal system and the
sympathomedullary pathway in outline
• Stress-related illness and the immune system
Stress in everyday life
• Life changes and daily hassles as sources of stress
• Workplace stress including the effects of workload and control
• Personality factors, including Type A and Type B behaviour, hardiness
• Psychological and biological methods of stress management, including stress
inoculation therapy and drug therapy
• Conformity (majority influence) and explanations of why people conform,
including informational social influence and normative social influence
• Types of conformity, including internalisation and compliance
• Obedience to authority, including Milgram’s work and explanations of why
Social influence in everyday life
• Explanations of independent behaviour, including locus of control, how people
resist pressures to conform and resist pressures to obey authority
• How social influence research helps us to understand social change; the role
of minority influence in social change
Individual Differences – Psychopathology (Abnormality)
Defining and explaining psychological abnormality
• Definitions of abnormality, including deviation from social norms, failure to
function adequately and deviation from ideal mental health, and limitations of
these definitions of psychological abnormality
• The biological approach to psychopathology
• Psychological approaches to psychopathology including the psychodynamic,
behavioural and cognitive approaches
• Biological therapies, including drugs and ECT
• Psychological therapies, including psychoanalysis, systematic de-sensitisation
and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
In the exams, you will be tested on three different assessment objectives.
These can be seen as “skills” which you develop throughout your A Level. They
are the same for both AS and A2
Assessment objectives What they really mean
AO1: Knowledge and understanding of
science and of How Science Works
Candidates should be able to:
a) recognise, recall and show understanding of
b) select, organise and communicate
relevant information in a variety of forms.
Recall and describe various
Present information in a
clear and concise manner
AO2: Application of knowledge and
understanding of science and of How Science
Candidates should be able to:
(a) analyse and evaluate scientific knowledge
(b) apply scientific knowledge and processes
to unfamiliar situations including those
related to issues
(c) assess the validity, reliability and
credibility of scientific information.
Identify strengths and
weaknesses of psychological
studies and methods used
Apply knowledge to
AO3: How Science Works - Psychology
(a) describe ethical, safe and skilful practical
techniques and processes, selecting
appropriate qualitative and quantitative
(b) know how to make, record and
communicate reliable and valid observations
and measurements with appropriate precision
and accuracy, through using primary and
(c) analyse, interpret, explain and evaluate the
methodology, results and impact of their own
and others’ experimental and investigative
activities in a variety of ways.
Understand the importance
of ethics in psychology and
to be able to select suitable
methods of research.
To be able to design, carry
out and write up
Assess the effectiveness of
experiments and identify
ways these could be