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GCSE Psychology doesn't have coursework, so external candidates can sit the regular GCSE. The specifications for GCSE Psychology cover different topics, so what you study will depend on which exam board you choose.  There is not necessarily much overlap between the specifications, eg AQA and Edexcel share only about a quarter of their topics.  This means that there is no such thing as a general psychology GCSE revision or textbook - your materials have to be specific to the topic or syllabus. However, there are good textbooks available which cover each syllabus.

Edexcel GCSE Psychology Edit

Edexcel GCSE Psychology has no coursework or controlled assessment, so can be taken by home-ed students without any special arrangements.

Two papers:

Paper 1 - 1hr 15mins, multiple choice and short answers.

  • Topic A: How do we see our world?  Optical illusions, art, perception
  • Topic B: Is dreaming meaningful? 

Paper 2 - 1 hr 45mins - some longer answers eg up to a page of A4.

  • Topic C: Do TV and video games affect young people's behaviour?
  • Topic D: Why do we have phobias? Treatment options.
  • Topic E: Are criminals born or made?

You can find out about the specification and download past papers and answers on the Edexcel GCSE Psychology page.

The specification changed from 2009 to 2012 only in terms of no longer being modular; the content is unchanged.

Edexcel GCSE Psychology Textbook- covers the whole course and has positive feedback from members of the Yahoogroup.

Printable Revision Workbook for Edexcel GCSE Psychology by SparksPsych - wonderful psychology resource by teacher Mr Sparks.

See the resources section below for some sites dedicated to Edexcel GCSE Psychology.

AQA GCSE Psychology Edit

AQA GCSE Psychology Course code 4180

2 written exams to make up the 'full course', or available as a 'short course' worth half a GCSE, with just the first paper. However, you cannot 'top up' the short course GCSE with a second paper to gain the full GCSE; both papers have to be taken in the same exam season to do this.

2 x 1h30 minute exams.

AQA textbook for Psychology

AQA GCSE Psychology Revision Guide from Hipperholme and Lightcliffe High School.

OCR GCSE Psychology Edit

OCR GCSE Psychology from 2012 - course code J611

This is for first examination in summer 2014.

For GCSE Psychology candidates must take units B541, B542 and B543.

B541- 1h15m written paper

B542- 1h15m written paper

B543- 1h written paper

WJEC GCSE Psychology Edit

WJEC GCSE Psychology


Comments from parents Edit

AQA Psychology with Oxford Open Learning Edit

We have the AQA textbook for Psychology

and DD will be doing Psychology with Oxford Open Learning once she has finished Religious Studies B with them (May 2014).  We are doing eight subjects at present, so the Psychology has to wait.

We are going to do the OOL course for Psychology because DD is very happy with their Religion course (they are all the same format). The course is very well laid out, has exercises (with model answers) and ten assignments throughout the course which are marked and feedback given.  The assignments (for Religion at least) have questions taken from past papers.     The course requires no input from me - it is all there set out for her.

The AQA textbooks in this series are remarkably thin (under 200 pages) but very concisely written.  The Religion book of the same series is the recommended text for the OOL course and we have found all of the information required for the syllabus is in this very slim book.

Edexcel Psychology, DIY approach Edit

My son is working through the Edexcel textbook and is finding it interesting, with plenty of practice questions.  We are supplementing the textbook with other relevant material, eg Oliver Sacks books like "The man who mistook his wife for a hat" and interesting TV programmes such as BBC 4's "The Brain: A Secret History". We also listen to Radio 4 'All In The Mind' podcasts.  Nearer to the exam, he will work through all the available past papers and we may contact an online tutor to have some of his work marked and to get some further tips.

My son worked through the Pearson Edexcel text book himself, he found the topics interesting. We also used the Sparks Psych site. We finished the specification 2 months before the exam and then did every past paper available, when we started revision past papers were grading a D knowing how the examiners wanted the questions answered was key to his B grade, which is what we predicted.

Resources Edit

Sparks Psych Printable Revision Workbook for Edexcel GCSE Psychology.

Memrise revision/learning system has free courses created by users for different exam boards, eg 

Memrise is great for learning things long-term; it introduces terms one by one.  Quizlet allows you to take tests to see how good your grasp is, without making you work through the course first.

[Quizlet] is a similar site - search for the latest courses, but for instance:

Revision booklet for AQA GCSE Psychology by Hipperholme and Lightcliffe High School

Yacapaca - online revision activities for many subjects.  You have to register (free), then search for 'GCSE psychology' to find tests and activities targeted at the Edexcel syllabus.  

PsychExchange at Resourcd - resource-sharing site for teachers, with lots of worksheets and presentations for psychology.  Register (free) first, then search for your syllabus, eg 'Edexcel GCSE Psychology'.  Contains all the material which used to live at psychexchange.  

In Search of Ourselves: A History of Psychology and the Mind - BBC Radio 4

Mind Changers BBC Radio 4 series on classic psychology experiments, including some which are on the GCSE and A-level syllabuses.

"In the Psychiatrist's Chair" with Anthony Clare BBC Radio 4 classic - selected episodes are being repeated on r4 extra in April 2014.

"The Brain: A Secret History" from BBC. Although it's not on iplayer you can probably get it on Youtube with some creative searching.

Brain Story - BBC six-part series. The link currently offers the series as a Youtube playlist. See also the Brain Story wiki .

All In The Mind - BBC Radio 4 series, available as podcasts; interesting general knowledge and background psychology.

Psychology of the Mind BBC Radio 4 collection of programmes and clips

Coursera Psychology free online course - a member of the HE Exams group recommended this, saying it was pitched at roughly A-level standard (first year of American university) and covering a variety of topics. Although the course has started, you can catch up online in your own time.

Pearson Hotlinks for Edexcel GCSE Psychology - external links tied in to the Pearson Edexcel GCSE textbook.

CosmoLearning Psychology - list of documentaries and free online courses in psychology, sorted by area.  Some of the links are broken but you can generally find the content on YouTube.

Psychology documentaries from TopDocumentaryFilms.  Generally has a summary and direct link to view online.

The Secret Life of the Brain - PBS documentary series, 5 episodes.

Uniview GCSE Psychology Resource Catalogue - sells DVDs of documentaries relevant to the topic to teachers.  Prices probably more than you'd pay for home-ed use but may provide inspiration for resources which you can find elsewhere.

TES forum for GCSE Psychology

Virtual Psychology GCSE Powerpoint presentations on core topics.

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