Examination Board: OCR


Psychology is the scientific study of behaviour and mental processes (the mind).  In order to explain human behaviour better, psychology sets out to describe, explain, predict and when and where appropriate, change or control behavioural or thinking patterns.  AS level Psychology provides an introduction to this very complex subject.  The AS course is academically demanding and requires students to learn and critically evaluate 15 ‘Core Studies’ or classic pieces of research from five Approaches; also, students are required to design, undertake, write-up and evaluate four separate Investigations.


AS Level Content/Skills


Component Title Examinations
Unit G541:     4 Psychological Investigations





June 1 Hour, written examination of  Psychological Investigations (15% of the Advanced GCE marks)
Unit G542:     15 Core Studies

Social Psychology:


Looks at Milgram’s  ‘Behavioural study of Obedience’; The Psychology of Tyranny in a Prison simulation study; and ‘Helping Behaviour on the New York subway  June 2 Hour, written examination – 15 Core Studies/evaluation (35% of the Advanced GCE marks) 
Cognitive Psychology Examines Memory re-construction of an automobile accident; How the mind functions for adults with Autism, or Asperger Syndrome; and Symbol acquisition and communication of Pygmy Chimpanzees
 Developmental Psychology Shows how children develop through stages in an experiment with the ‘Conservation’ of materials; the ‘Transmission of Aggression’ through imitation; and Freud’s ideas relating to the conscious and unconscious are explored in his study of a young boy’s phobias
 Psychology of Differences One study looks at what it means to be ‘sane and insane’; another examines a case of multiple-personality: and one investigates the role of bias and skill in fruit machine gambling
Physiological Psychology: Changes in the brain functioning of Taxi drivers are examined; the relationship of eye-movements during sleep to dream activity are investigated; and Hemisphere disconnection and unity in consciousness is explored


A2 Level Content/Skills


Component Title Examinations
Unit G543:Options in Applied Psychology

Forensic Psychology:


Turning to crime – looks at some of the influences that psychiatrists have used to explain behaviour, such as: Upbringing; moral and social development and thinking patternsMaking a Case – How Psychology can inform the investigative process: interviewing witnesses and suspects, creating a criminal profile

Reaching a Verdict – How psychology can inform behaviour in the courtroom: persuading a jury, witness appeal and reaching a verdict

After a guilty verdict – Looks at how psychology can inform the penal system: Imprisonment, and alternative treatment programmes


June 2 hours, written examination (25% of the total Advanced GCE )
 Health and Clinical Psychology:  Healthy Living – Factors that influence our lifestyle including: Health Beliefs, methods of promoting and adhering to medical regimesStress – Causes of stress, methods of measuring stress and techniques for managing stress are examined

Dysfunctional Behaviour – Psychologists look at how it is diagnosed, cognitive, behavioural and biological explanations, and at treatments

Disorders – Anxiety, phobias, psychotic (e.g. Schizophrenia) and other characteristics are considered together with explanations, and their treatment.

 Approaches and Research Methods in Psychology: 


This unit builds and expands the research methods unit in the G541 UnitStudents will be asked to design, conduct and evaluate a research project, for example a repeated measures design, with a view to answering questions about practical difficulties or problems of a research in the examination. Unit G544 – June 1 ½ hour, written examination (25% of the total Advanced GCE) 


Entry Requirements:

5 GCSEs at Grades A*-C, including English Language and Mathematics


Contact: Ms Brittain