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Psychology GCSE

Head of Department: Mrs E Jenkins

Psychology is a broad discipline which includes cognitive development and clinical and social behaviour. This course is offered at GCSE level only and during the course, pupils study topics such as memory, perception, communication and social influence.


If you would like to view related Key Stage 5 courses, please click the links below:

A Level - Psychology


This is an after-school option only

What is Psychology?

Psychology is considered to be a science because psychologists try to understand people through careful controlled observation. All sciences rely on rigorous scientific methods and, in this way, psychology is no different to biology, physics or chemistry.

However, psychology does not study molecules or plants, it studies people, their behaviour towards themselves and each other, and how they learn and think. It is the study of the mind and behaviour and asks the following key questions:

Why do I think like this?

Why do I feel like this?

Why do I behave like this?

What skills will I develop?

Students will develop many valuable skills which will be of huge benefit to them after they leave school, whether that be in employment or in further education.  These include evaluating research and theories, collecting and analysing data as well as developing their presentational and organisational skills.

What syllabus will I follow?

OCR GCSE Psychology J203

What will the course look like?

The syllabus consists of two units and covers a wide range of different psychological areas:

Units 1

This unit covers four topics:

  • Criminal psychology
  • Development
  • Psychological problems
  • Research methods

Unit 2

This unit covers four topics:

  • Social influence
  • Memory
  • Sleep and dreaming
  • Research methods

Within the first three topics of each unit we will look at two core studies, as well as studying key concepts, theories and applications.

Research methods looks at how psychologists collect and analyse their data and includes looking at observations, experiments, interviews and questionnaires. Students will also have the opportunity to carry out their own pieces of research.

What homework will I get?

You will be set homework each week. Homework will include tasks such as conducting your own research, answering past paper questions or researching different theories or studies. 

How will I be assessed?

Each unit makes up 50% of the GCSE and will be assessed through a 90‑minute written exam at the end of year 11.

The exam contains a mixture of short and longer answer questions.

What jobs or further courses of study might this lead to?

Many students who take GCSE Psychology go on to study it for A Level. It is also useful in developing your scientific research skills which can be helpful for science or maths courses. In addition, psychology will develop your analytical and evaluative skills which will benefit you in a number of other subjects. Psychology is relevant to a number of careers such as medicine, police, social work, teaching and law.

Are there any entry requirements for this course?

This course will run as two-hour after-school sessions and is open to those students who have the capacity to take on an additional GCSE subject.  For after-school options, there is a £300 per year charge to cover the cost of teaching and resources

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