Unit 3 (PSYA3): Topics in Psychology (25% of the total A Level marks)
Pupils will study three topics, each examined equally within one exam paper lasting 1 hour 30 minutes. The three topics are Biological Rhythms and Sleep, Eating Behaviours,and Aggression. The study of biological rhythms explores the nature of the biological rhythms that govern many of the processes within our bodies, of which sleep is one (a 24 hour rhythm). Pupils will explore the different psychological explanations that have been investigated for why humans sleep. The study of eating behaviours explores the psychology that drives why we eat and the foods we choose to eat. Pupils will then explore a range of eating disorders with the primary focus on Anorexia Nervosa, and learn about some of the psychological reasons that have been investigated for why this disorder has developed. The final topic is explores the theories of human aggression. Pupils will explore a range of evidence for social, evolutionary and biological explanations for why aggressive behaviour exists in humans and animals.
Unit 4 (PSYA4): Psychopathology, Psychology in Action and Research Methods (25% of the total A Level marks).
The first topic within this unit that is psychological research and scientific method. This builds on pupils understanding of some of the fundamental science behind psychological research methods from AS level with pupils now focusing on how they would design and implement a psychological study. During the last part of the AS year leading into their A2 year, pupils research an area of psychology that they are interested in, and fully design and implement their own experiment. This is designed to give pupils a taste of degree level psychology, build upon their own interests but also, importantly, give them a deeper insight into the research methods that underpin the A2 course. The second topic that is studied is psychopathology, which again builds upon their study at AS level. The focus of this unit is about the study of depression. Pupils will explore the range of cognitive, social and biological explanations for why 1 in 10 of the UK population will experience depression at some point in their lives. The final topic that pupils will study is called “psychology in action” which is they study of an area of contemporary psychology. The focus for this topic is the study of addictive behaviour and pupils will explore the variety of different explanations and research that explores why some addictive behaviour (e.g. smoking and gambling) exist in society.
This unit is assessed through one exam lasting 2 hours.