Cambridge International A & AS Level Psychology Syllabus code 9698
What is Psychology?
This is the study of the mind and human behaviour. Why do people do what they do, behave the way they behave? The answers to these questions form the rationale behind Psychology and if we can understand and identify why people behave in this way, then we can, by interventions and strategies teach people how to behave differently in the future. So, Psychology can be applied to each one of us here and now as well as in the future. In fact, we probably use a lot of psychology already in our work place, family relationships and social life but without realising it.
Psychology is an applied subject which means we can see how research and studies by psychologists can affect and impact upon our world today. Every person would benefit from knowledge and understanding in this subject as we are bound to interact with other people and many will become leaders in their professional career and so an appreciation of “what makes people tick” should be very useful.
This syllabus aims to encourage an interest in and appreciation of psychology through an exploration of the ways in which psychology is conducted. This exploration includes:
• a review of a number of important research studies
• an opportunity to look at the ways in which psychology has been applied.
The aims of Psychology A level are:
• to provide an introduction to psychological concepts, theories, research findings and applications
• to create an understanding of the range and limitations of psychological theory and practice
• to encourage candidates to explore and understand the relationship between psychological findings and everyday life
• to develop skills of analysis, interpretation, application and evaluation
• to promote an appreciation and understanding of individual, social and cultural diversity
• to develop an understanding of ethical issues in psychology, including the moral and ethical implications of psychological research
• to explore and understand the relationship between psychological findings and social, cultural and contemporary issues
• to study psychological principles, perspectives and applications
• to improve communication skills.
At the end of the course candidates should be able to:
AS Level Paper 1. 1 hour 30 mins
Short answer and structured essay questions, based on Core Studies
Section A: 15 short answer questions (60 marks)
Section B: 2 structured essay questions (20 marks) with a choice of one core study from a list of three in each question
Paper 2. 1 hour 30 mins
Structured essay questions
Section A: 1 question on methodology with a named core study (25 marks)
1 question on approaches and perspectives, and issues and debates with a named core study (25 marks)
Section B: 1 question on approaches, issues and debates (20 marks) related to a number of core studies from a choice of 2 questions
A2 Level Paper 3. 3 hours
Short answer and structured essays
Candidates study 2 specialist options from a choice of 5 – Abnormal and Health Psychology
For each option chosen there are 3 sections:
Section A: short answer questions (6 marks)
Section B: 1 structured essay: topic areas (20 marks)
Section C: 1 structured essay: applying psychology (14 marks) from a choice of two questions
All three papers are available in both the June and November examination sessions.
Overview: AS Level
The syllabus contains three themes that should inform all aspects of the candidate’s progress on the course:
• the theme of methodology encourages the candidate to evaluate the psychology for the methods that
• the theme of approaches and perspectives encourages the candidate to look at how psychology
informs our view about human experience and action
• the theme of issues and debates encourages the candidate to consider alternative points of view and
debate explanations of human experience and action, particularly the impact of psychology on everyday
The 20 core studies have been selected to reflect five key approaches in psychology: Each approach is taught through 4 key studies
• Cognitive psychology
• Social psychology
• Developmental psychology
• Physiological psychology
• The psychology of individual differences
Overview: A2 level
A traditional approach in the study of psychology is to progress to greater and greater specialism and, in so doing, narrow the range of study. This syllabus is designed to increase the specialism of study yet retain a breadth of coverage. Over the past few years, a number of applied areas have developed in psychology that have sought to integrate the knowledge derived from a variety of psychological sources and apply it to specific problems. The syllabus takes this approach and encourages the candidate to look at how psychological theory has been applied. This involves the candidate in integrating the various areas of the subject, and seeing the connections and contrasts between them.
The chosen areas are in Abnormal and Health Psychology.