Exam Board

Edexcel (Pearson)

Assessed by

Written examinations



Psychology refers to the scientific study of th4 GCSE P Learning Journey A3 341x480e mind, brain and behaviour. At Sale Grammar School, we follow the Edexcel GCSE Psychology specification.

Students are assessed at the end of Year 11 through two written examinations.

The GCSE Psychology course provides students with a valuable insight into the causes of our behaviour, as well as how our brain and mind work. A crucial part of the course is also the study of research methods, where students learn the different ways that psychological researchers can gather data on the mind and behaviour, which in turn contribute to their theories.

The course presents students with contemporary and engaging studies into the mind, brain and behaviour.

Paper 1 Compulsory Topics (1 hour 45 minutes) worth 55% of the qualification.

Topic 1:

Development – How did you develop?

This topic focuses on early brain development, the role of education and learning on development and moral development.

Topic 2:

Memory – How does your memory work?

This topic focuses on the process of memory, short and long-term memory, amnesia and the multi-store model of memory.

Topic 3:

Psychological Problems – How would psychological problems affect you?

This topic focuses on depression and addiction, genetic and psychological explanations for these mental health problems, as well as drug therapy and cognitive behaviour therapy.

Topic 4:

The Brain and neuropsychology – How does your brain affect you?

This topic focuses on the structure and function of the brain, synaptic transmission and the impact of neurological damage on cognitions and behaviour.

Topic 5:

Social Influence – How do others affect you?

This topic focuses on obedience, conformity, bystander intervention, pro and antisocial behaviour and the factors affecting these aspects of social influence.


Paper 2 Research Methods and Optional Topics (1 hour 20 minutes) worth 45% of the qualification


Topic 6:

Research Methods

This topic focuses on the various techniques psychology researchers can use to gather data on the mind and behaviour, such as experiments, observations, interviews and questionnaires.

Topic 7:

Criminal Psychology – Why do people become criminals?

This topic covers learning theories and biological theories of criminal behaviour as well as the effects of punishment and other treatments for anti-social behaviour.


Topic 8:

Sleep and Dreaming – Why do you need to sleep and dream?

This topic considers the sleep cycle, internal and external influences on sleep, sleep disorders and theories of dreaming.