Ever wondered why you went along with the crowd, even though you didn’t really agree with them?

Do you have a weird phobia that you cannot explain?

Are there things you can remember from your childhood but you’ve forgotten what you did last week?

If you’ve ever spent time asking yourself these questions, Psychology might be for you.


Psychology can be defined as the scientific study of the mind and behaviour. Psychologists observe and conduct experiments to find out more about the way people act and interact. They try to understand what motivates, challenges or changes us and use this understanding to help us tackle personal and social problems.

Psychology is one of the most popular subject choices at A level. This fascinating and exciting course allows for the exploration of critical questions about human behaviour, using research and case studies to draw conclusions. For example, Zimbardo’s ‘Stanford Prison Experiment’ explores whether brutal behaviour towards others is the result of a sadistic personality or expectations of social roles.  The case study of Genie, who was exposed to extreme neglect and kept in a basement until the age of thirteen, allows us to see if we can ever recover ‘normal’ abilities like language if we don’t have the chance to learn as children. Rosenhan’s ‘Being Sane in Insane Places’ study sheds light on issues with the diagnosis of disorders like schizophrenia and whether the lines between being mentally well and unwell are more blurred than we think. Underpinning a range of behaviours is the nature/nurture debate, considering, for example, if aggressive, criminal behaviour is the result of genes we inherit or the environment we grow up in, and in either case, do we have any free will over our actions?

Psychology is a multifaceted scientific subject and so will complement with any other A level subjects.  If you enjoy Science and Maths with an element of Humanities, then you will enjoy Psychology.


Careers in Psychology:

You will gain a number of transferable skills including data handling, essay writing and analytical thinking which will be invaluable to your future career.  A degree in Psychology can lead to many meaningful careers including:

  • Healthcare
  • Sport
  • Law
  • Education
  • Business


A level course:

At Harington School, we follow the AQA specification which can be found here:

The A level course will cover the following topics:

Paper 1: Introductory Topics in Psychology

  • Social influence
  • Memory
  • Attachment
  • Psychopathology

Paper 2: Psychology in Context

  • Approaches in Psychology
  • Biopsychology
  • Research Methods (double-weighted)

Paper 3: Issues and Options in Psychology

  • Issues and Debates
  • Relationships
  • Schizophrenia
  • Aggression

There is no coursework involved in the A level course. Instead, you will sit three examination papers at the end of Year 13. Each of the papers are two hours in length and worth 96 marks each. The examination papers will consist of multiple-choice, short answer and essay questions. A minimum of 30% of your final assessment will be on the topic of Research Methods and at least 10% will consist of mathematical skills and statistics.


We are extremely proud that a large number of our students have gone to pursue Psychology at an undergraduate level. Their enthusiasm for the subject has excelled with many of our students attending the Russell Group universities.