Social Sciences

GCSE Psychology

This course covers a wide range of areas of Psychology. You will develop your scientific interpretation and evaluation skills to look critically at data, theories and models which attempt to explain behavior.

Course outline

In GCSE Psychology, there are six core topics, with two additional topics chosen by the school. The six core topics comprise:

  • Research Methods – how to design and carry out different types of psychological research. You will also learn how to analyse the results of these studies and to evaluate the use of each research method for studying Psychology.
  • Development – how our brains develop in early life and how our intelligence develops as we grow. This includes the role that education plays in intelligence, and how we learn.
  • Memory – theories of how our memories function, why we remember some things and not others, and how amnesia works.
  • Psychological Problems – how people develop depression and addiction and how these psychological problems can be treated.
  • The Brain and Neuropsychology – the structure and function of neurons, synapses and different parts of the brain, brain lateralisation, and how neurological damage can lead to visual agnosia and prosopagnosia.
  • Social Influence - how and why people conform (go along with what other people are doing) and obey (follow orders).

    Whilst not yet finalised, it is likely that the optional topics that we will study will be:

  • Sleep and Dreaming – the stages of sleep, internal and external influences on sleep, sleep disorders such as insomnia and narcolepsy, and why we dream.
  • Criminal Psychology – why people become criminals, the effects of punishment for crimes and how criminals can be rehabilitated so that they do not reoffend.

    Each topic also contains key psychological studies on the research area, and an important issue or debate in Psychology, such as free-will versus determinism. Whilst there will be opportunities on the course to be hands-on and conduct psychological research, GCSE Psychology involves a lot of written theory, mathematical calculations and interpretations of data collected and biology.

Assessment and Progression

Examination Board:  



Grading system:

1-9 (9 is highest)



2 final examinations

Paper 1



Psychological problems.

Neuropsychology and the brain.

Social influence.


Paper 2

Criminal psychology.

The Self.


Sleep and dreaming.  

Language, Thought and Communication.

Research methods.


Exam questions are a mix of multiple-choice, short and long answers.


Progression to Post-16:

A-Level Psychology


Future career links:


Clinical Psychology



Business management



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