Fast Track A Level in Psychology (Full AS+A2) 2180
Oxford College ODL offer this full A level course in Psychology. The course aims to give you some fundamental and lasting insights into behaviour and thought processes which will help you cope with the challenges of life, both for yourself and those you come into contact with. As well as learning about behaviour and thought processes you will also learn how to express yourself coherently, how to challenge and evaluate information presented to you and how scientific information is produced.
Psychology is a dynamic, ever changing subject with new information and studies constantly confirming or challenging existing theories and producing new ones. The subject matter of psychology is uniquely around and within you, it is essential that you are curious about the why’s and how’s of behaviour and thought processes in all settings from cradle to grave, from successful relationships (parent-child, work colleagues or romantic) to the best ways to utilize your memory.
The AS Level psychology course consists of 6 modules, 3 for each unit, (an additional module on psychological methodology is included in unit 1, which will allow you to assess the studies in the other two parts). The modules are further broken down into clear subject topics. At the end of each topic is a set of key words, which you should be able to define as a revision exercise, as well as activities throughout the text to ensure understanding of important aspects of the topic. Topic coverage may vary in length and difficulty depending on the level of detail and information required. You will need to study the modules in the sequence provided. There are three tutor marked assignments associated with each unit which should be sent to your tutor, as well as an introductory assignment to introduce yourself to your tutor.
Like the majority of academic subjects at A level, Psychology has its own distinct set of terms. You will be expected not only to recognise and understand these terms in examination papers, but be able to use them correctly in your answers. Psychology also contains many examples of research and theories you will be required to know methodological details and results of many of these. Students are recommended to have a notebook or index cards to develop a file of key words and Studies/researchers as you go along in order to help with revision and evaluation skills.
Course Format and assessment
This new specification (from September 2008) reflects the changes that the Qualifications Curriculum Authority have implemented to classify psychology as a science. This means that in addition to the psychological subject matter in previous specifications students are now required to study psychological research and methodology as an integral part of the course rather than in isolation. The new format also reduced the number of units to be studied from 6 to 4, with 2 being studies at AS level and 2 at A2.
Unit 1 – PSYA1
Cognitive Psychology, Developmental Psychology and Research Methods 50% of the total AS marks, 25% of the total A2 marks. Length of exam. 1 hour 30 minutes Structured compulsory questions based on Cognitive Psychology, Developmental Psychology and Research Methods. Questions include short answer, stimulus material and one 12-mark question requiring extended writing in which QWC (quality of written communication) will be assessed. Available January and June.
Unit 2 – PSYA2
Biological Psychology, Social Psychology and Individual Differences 50% of the total AS marks, 25% of the total A2 marks Examination Length: 1 hour 30 minutes. Three compulsory structured questions, one based on the Biological Psychology content, one based on the Social Psychology content and one based on the Individual Differences content. Questions include short answer, stimulus material and one or more 12-mark questions requiring extended writing in which QWC will be assessed. Available January and June.
Unit 3 – PSYA3
Topics in Psychology. 25% of the total A Level marks
1 hour 30 minutes
Three essay-style questions chosen from eight topics, the following four are available in this course.
(g) Intelligence and learning
(h) Cognition and development
QWC will be assessed in each essay Available January and June.
Unit 4 – PSYA4
Psychopathology, Psychology in Action and Research Methods
25% of the total A Level marks. 2 hours.
Psychopathology: One essay-style question on Depression. QWC will be assessed in this essay.
Psychology in Action: One question on Addiction
Research Methods: One compulsory structured question.
Available January and June
AS + A2 = A Level
All questions are set in order to test a student’s ability to demonstrate the following assessment objectives. The course has 3 assessment objects.
AO1 - Recognise, recall and show understanding of scientific knowledge, select, organise and communicate relevant information in a variety of forms
AO2 - Analyse and evaluate scientific knowledge, apply knowledge and processes to unfamiliar situations, assess the validity, reliability and credibility of scientific information
AO3 - Describe ethical, safe and skilful practical techniques and processes, know how to make, record, and communicate valid observations, analyse, interpret, explain and evaluate the methodology and investigative activities in a variety of ways.
Weighting of Assessment objectives in units
The 3 assessment objectives above are weighted slightly differently with the different units, with emphasis moving from description to analysis, evaluation and practical skills which become increasingly important throughout the course.
In Unit 1 AO1, AO2 and AO3 are weighted equally.
In Unit 2, AO1 and AO2 are weighted approximately double that of AO3.
In Unit 3. AO1 is worth 9/25, AO2 12/25 and AO3 4/25.
In Unit 4, AO1 is worth 6/25, AO2 8/25 and AO3 10/25.
(Numbers have been rounded).
The topics have been arranged for ease of understanding and topic coverage so may be of different length and difficulty. You will need to study them in sequence.
The AS course is laid out as follows:
Introduction Topic 1 Psychology, psychologists and research methods.
Initial assignment. Introduction to Tutor.
Topic 2 Investigation design, data, data analysis and preparation.
Section A Topic 3 Memory. Models of memory and memory in everyday life.
Section B Topic 4 Early social development. Attachment. Attachments in everyday life.
Unit 2 Topic 5 Biological psychology. Stress as a bodily response. Everyday stress.
Topic 6 Social Influence and social influence in everyday life.
Topic 7 Psychopathology. Definitions and explanations. Treatment of abnormality.
Topic 8 Preparing for the AS exam.
The A2 course is laid out as follows:
Unit 3 Topic 9 Relationships
Topic 10 Agression
Topic 11 Intelligence and learning
Topic 12 Cognition and development
Unit 4 Topic 13 Psychopathology. Depression
Topic 14 Psychology in action. Addiction.
Topic 15 Psychological research and scientific method.
This course covers all the content of the AQA Psychology A course (2180). You can find the full syllabus for this course at www.aqa.org.uk.
No requirement to have studies psychology previously. A pass at A-C GCSE in English and mathematics is desirable, but no formal qualifications are required. Although those who find reading and understanding broadsheet newspapers difficult will find the course more challenging.
Approximately 250 hours.
AS/A2 A Level in Psychology. Both AS and A2 courses and examinations must be successfully completed to gain a full A level.
Specification: AQA (Full A Level) 2180, AQA (AS) 1181 and AQA (A2) 2181
If you are based outside the UK, it may be possible to sit your examinations through your local British council depending on your location. Please contact the examination board AQA for details on examination centres in your country.
Learning documentation, plus priority Tutor support for 1 year. Students are required to arrange and pay for their examinations themselves. Students must check the relevant examination board website for final examination sitting dates for this syllabus. You will receive priority tutor assistance for fast track students on this course. Students will be able to sit a full A Level examination in one year or less. Examinations take place in January and Summer (May/June) yearly.
Your course is delivered online via the Oxford Learning On Campus website.
Please note that included in your course fee is your registration to the On Campus student community.
You will require Internet access. In the student 'On Campus' you are also able to take part in the student chat room and forums as part of our online student community.
After enrolling online you will receive your username and password to access the On Campus area within 5 working days. You will also receive your personal Oxford Learning student number via email.
Students are required to arrange and pay for their examinations and manage the course work element if the subject requires this. Students must check the relevant examination board website for further information and final examination sitting dates for the specification.