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What Is A-Level Psychology Like? Topics You’ll Learn 


What is A-Level Psychology like? You wonder as you plan what A-Levels will best suit your future goals. It’s wise for you to ask such a question. Given that university options depend on your A-Level choices.

What work is involved in A-Level Psychology? Is it hard? Will the topics be interesting? Worry not! As we’ll cover each of these questions in this article. 

We’re familiar with the questions you’re dealing with because our Psychology summer course students often ask the same. And we ensure they have 1:1 access with expert tutors to help guide them on their next steps in education. 

We’ve also done the research for you, so you don’t have to scramble around blindly in the dark. After reading this article, you’ll feel more grounded and confident. And you’ll have a better idea of what you should do next. Read on!

What Is Psychology?

Psychology is the fascinating scientific study of the human mind and behaviour. Why do we think, feel, and act the way we do? What are the mental processes and motivations behind our actions? 

It is a broad field that includes the study of emotions, thoughts, memories, perceptions, and how people interact with one another.

Psychologists also study human development throughout the lifespan. In addition, they study psychological disorders and the effectiveness of different treatments. It’s because of Psychology that we’ve had breakthroughs in disorders such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • And Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Thereby helping people who experience these to overcome and move forward in their lives. Do you have a strong fascination with Psychology? Then you’ll most likely enjoy taking A-Level Psychology! 

What Is A-Level Psychology?

A-level Psychology is a two-year course that introduces the fundamentals of psychology. What core topics will you learn from studying A-Level Psychology? There are 4 common core areas that Psychology students often tackle:

  • Social Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Biological Psychology
  • Learning Psychology 

Let’s take a closer look at each one:

Social Psychology

Social psychology looks at how people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are impacted by the presence of other people. This includes topics such as: 

  • Group dynamics
  • Conformity
  • Prejudice
  • Violence & Aggression
  • Social Identity

By studying Social Psychology, you’ll better understand human behaviour within a group setting. 

Cognitive Psychology

Cognitive Psychology is concerned with how people process information. It focuses on topics such as: 

  • Memory
  • Thinking
  • Problem-solving
  • Decision-making 
  • Language

Cognitive psychology principles are relevant to everyday life, as they help you better understand how your behaviour is influenced by how you think.

Biological Psychology

Biological Psychology focuses on the anatomical structures and physiological processes that underlie behaviour. This includes topics such as: 

  • The Neuroendocrine System
  • The Nervous System  
  • Biological rhythms
  • The fight or flight response

You can better understand how different parts of the brain affect our behaviour as you go through Biological Psychology.

Learning Psychology

Learning Psychology is the scientific study of how people acquire and modify behaviour. This includes topics such as:

  • Classical Conditioning
  • Operant Conditioning
  • Observational Learning

You’ll gain a deeper appreciation of how learning allows us to adapt to our ever-changing environment.

Is Psychology Hard at A-Level?

Is Psychology hard at A-Level? Yes. To find out why, let’s take a look at the A-Level 2022 outcomes for Psychology, then compare it to the following subjects:

  • Maths
  • English Literature
  • Chemistry

According to Ofqual Analytics, 10.4% of A-Level Psychology students achieved an A*, and 18.2% received an A. What about Maths? 22.8% of A-Level Maths students garnered an A*, and 24.3% got an A. 

Looking at the data above, A-Level Psychology is harder than Maths. Why? Since fewer Psychology students managed to ace their grades compared to Maths. Let’s now proceed to Psychology vs English Literature.

Data states that 16.5% of A-Level English Literature students gained an A*, and 20.2% received an A. In both instances, fewer Psychology students reached A* and A than English Literature students. This means Psychology is more challenging than English Literature.

What about Chemistry? About 13.6% of A-Level Chemistry students got an A*, and 24.4% received an A. In this comparison, fewer Psychology students also achieved A* and A than Chemistry students. Hence, A-Level Psychology is harder than Chemistry.

Is Psychology hard at A-Level? Yes, at least when compared to the three subjects mentioned, more students find Psychology more difficult. 

What Work Is Involved in A-Level Psychology? 

Psychology involves lots of reading, studying, and research analysis. Unlike Engineering or Geography, where heavy hands-on work abounds, Psychology requires more brain power.

You’ll often encounter the following:

  • Theories
  • Research findings
  • Research methods
  • Case studies

You’ll also have substantial experience with essay writing. You’ll learn to sift through theories and case studies to support your point. Enhancing your ability in written communication.

Thus, you’ll gain valuable research and essay-writing skills as you go through A-Level Psychology. Helping you prepare for research and essay-heavy courses at the university.

Why Study A-Level Psychology?

Psychology in itself is a mentally-stimulating subject worth studying. But whether you should study A-Level Psychology depends on your personal goals. Here are reasons why you should study A-Level Psychology:

  1. You Want To Study Psychology in Higher Education

Do you want to take Psychology at university? Then taking it at A-Level will give you the best preparation to breeze through your degree. 

A-Level Psychology is not usually a required subject. But it is often considered desirable. 

Taking Psychology at your A-Level gives you a better idea of what topics you’ll encounter at the university. Plus, you’ll begin to develop the skills you’ll need to succeed in Higher Education, such as:

  • Numeracy & Research Skills
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Clinical Reasoning
  • Experiential Learning
  • Active Listening
  • Communication Skills
  • Problem-Solving
  • Time Management

Are you planning to take Psychology at university? Then you may want to know what A-Level requirements are needed to apply for Psychology. Check out “A-Level Requirements For Psychology” for more information. 

  1. You’d Love To Gain Insight Into the Human Mind and Behaviour

Studying A-Level Psychology can provide you with invaluable insight into the inner workings of the human mind and behaviour. 

You’ll gain an understanding of what makes us think, feel and act in certain ways, which can be advantageous in various career paths for psychology degrees, such as:

  • Psychologist
  • Researcher
  • Psychotherapist
  • Human Resource Manager
  • Teacher
  • Counsellor 
  • Social worker
  1. You’re Passionate About Mental Health

Studying A-Level Psychology is an excellent way to gain more knowledge and understanding of mental health issues. You’ll learn about the different contributing factors affecting mental well-being and how to identify signs of distress.  

So you can better care for yourself and your mental health. In addition, you’ll also be more sensitive and compassionate to other people.

Overall, A-Level psychology is an exciting and thought-provoking subject that can give you valuable insight into the human mind. And a wealth of knowledge, skills and experience that’s useful in your daily life. 

What Can I Do with Psychology A-Level?

University degrees that go well with A-Level Psychology include the following:

  • Psychology
  • Nursing
  • Sociology
  • English Language and Literature
  • Sports Science
  • Education
  • Fashion

At this point, you have a better idea of what A-Level Psychology is like. It’s now up to you to align this knowledge with your future goals. Will studying A-Level Psychology help get you where you want to go? 

Our tutors are eager to help you if you need more personalised guidance. We at Immerse Education are dedicated to your success!


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