Psychology at LGS

  • Ever wondered if prison really does alter criminal behaviour?
  • Or why some people obey those in authority but others defy orders?
  • Or perhaps if the experiences you had as a very young infant shape the relationships you have in later life?

A Level Psychology is currently the second most popular subject in the UK – which tells you what a fascinating area of study it is. It will give you an understanding of the way people think and why people behave in certain ways. You will develop critical thinking, research, scientific, extended writing and mathematical skills. If you enjoy a little bit of everything all rolled into one, you’ll love it; whether you are a humanities or science student. It is a hybrid subject but is classified by the government and most universities as a science.

The word psychology literally means the study of the soul. As such, it is unique in the way it straddles the sciences (natural and social) and the humanities. Psychology as an academic discipline is exceptionally diverse.  Apart from being an inherently fascinating subject, the ideas of psychologists hold great sway in society and are of the foremost practical importance for public policy, especially in areas like criminal justice and economics. To bring the subject to life, you will study about the distortion of eyewitness testimony, the impact of early attachment on later relationships and why past events such as the Holocaust took place.

Psychology can be a controversial and sensitive topic to study – topics such as mental illness, gender and attachment may affect you or members of your family so you will need to approach the study of the subject in an objective and mature way.

Possible career options

Psychology is increasingly valued by employers who recognise the analytical and reasoning skills studying the subject gives you.

  • Marketing
  • Business Development
  • Accountancy
  • Human Resources
  • Forensic psychology
  • Education/teaching
  • Occupational therapy
  • Clinical psychology
  • Nursing

A Level

What specification will you follow?

At Leicester Grammar School we follow the AQA Specification. You can find the specification and supporting documents at: https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/psychology/as-and-a-level/psychology-7181-7182/specification-at-a-glance

Your Psychology A level will cover the following topics:

Paper 1: Introductory Topics in Psychology

  • Social Influence
  • Memory
  • Attachment
  • Psychopathology (Phobias, Depression, OCD)

Paper 2: Psychology in Context

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

Paper 3: Issues and Options in Psychology

  • Issues and Debates
  • Gender
  • Schizophrenia
  • Aggression

You will sit three examination papers of 2 hours each at the end of Year 13 which will consist of multiple choice, short answer and extended 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. There is no coursework in A Level Psychology; it is examination assessed only.


As Psychology is a new department to the school, co-curricular opportunities will evolve as the subject becomes established at A Level. Possibilities for students to extend and broaden their knowledge beyond the curriculum are likely to involve establishing a Psychology Society at both junior school and senior school levels to provide leadership opportunities for students, academic enrichment sessions, visiting speakers and academic essay competitions such as Newnham College’s Psychological and Behavioural Sciences of the University of Cambridge. The school subscribes to Psychology Review to enable students to engage with topical articles and cutting-edge research and has a developing collection of books and an extensive reading list. Students are encouraged to subscribe to the BPS Research Digest to keep abreast of the latest psychology findings.


The ability to organise trips in the current climate may be somewhat limited this year but opportunities should still remain to attend psychology conferences at local universities and events such as the University of Leicester’s Brain Awareness week.

Previous department trips have taken place to UCL to see Elizabeth Loftus speak on Memory and to the University of Nottingham to hear Mark Griffiths lecture on Addiction.

Future trips further afield may include:

  • Krakow: to consider the topics of conformity and obedience in Nazi Germany
  • New York: to explore forensic psychology within the NYPD and social influence via the events of 9/11