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Psychology is available in the sixth form at CGS. It is a fascinating and highly regarded A level that is popular with students, employers and universities alike. It provides students with the opportunity to develop a scientific understanding of the brain, our minds and behaviour. Teaching aims to stimulate curiosity, enjoyment and interest in psychology and to inspire a passion for the subject and for learning in its students. The department is firmly committed to the use of varied interactive teaching methods that facilitate the development of understanding and the acquisition of knowledge for all students.
The AQA specification is followed. In Year 1, students learn about a variety of psychological topics, including memory and forgetting, attachment formation and relationships in humans and animals, social influence (conformity, obedience and minority influence) and explanations and treatments in psychopathology. The key Approaches in Psychology are compared and discussed as explanations of behaviour.
In Year 2, students deepen their level of understanding of the various theories, issues and debates which underpin psychology through investigating the causes of, and factors that influence, eating behaviour, romantic relationships, and forensic psychology. The syllabus also includes a section on biological psychology, exploring the brain and nervous system, and linking physiology and neuroscience to behaviour.
Underpinning all topics in the course, the teaching of research methods is integral to A level psychology. As psychology is a science it is important that students develop an understanding of the research process and the issues inherent in it. We provide many opportunities to develop and implement research projects to gain practical experience. Mathematical requirements include understanding statistics and probability, and being able to analyse and interpret data.
We organise a variety of activities and encourage students to attend external lectures and events. Year 13 students attend the British Psychological Society Conference for A level students and a 'Brain Day' run by a cognitive neuroscientist. Year 12 students will visit London Zoo to gain a deeper understanding of phobias and engage in observational studies of primates.
All students meeting the entry requirement are welcomed as trainee psychologists. The department encourages students to work towards their personal best, and provides strategies and techniques for achieving this.
As a new subject, students should be prepared to learn a new language, based on science and that is particular to psychology. Whilst the course is broad, the mathematical and biological content of the syllabus should not be underestimated. Students will develop their essay-writing and analytical skills as they consider the strengths and weaknesses of psychological theory and research.