Psychology GCSE

Due to ongoing reforms, the final opportunity to sit exams for this specification is Summer 2018. Our new course for 2019 exams onwards will be available from Autumn 2017.

Due to the short amount of time left until the Summer 2018 exam session, we advise students to reconsider moving their exam intention to Summer 2019 and enrolling on our new course. If you do decide to go ahead with 2018 exams, the deadline for enrolling is 31st December and we strongly recommend adding our Fast Track service to your enrolment. After this final date you would need to enrol on our new course.

Psychology is the science of the mind; the study of, among other things, how our thought processes work, why we behave the way we do and how we learn. Our home study GCSE course will allow you to better understand both yourself and others, and provides a great introduction for anyone interested in studying psychology at a higher level or simply learning more about how our minds work. You’ll learn about different schools of psychology and psychological theories, explanations for different behaviours and the research methods used to study the subject. Full details of the course can be found below.

Would you prefer to pay for your course by instalments? Please see the ‘How to enrol’ section below for details of our low cost, interest free finance available.



Entry requirements

No previous knowledge is required for this course.


This course follows specification 4180 from the awarding organisation AQA. Full details of the specification can be obtained from AQA's website.

Hours of study

As a guideline, you should allow for between 120 and 150 hours' study time, plus additional time for completing assignments. You will have tutor support for a period up until the final exam opportunity in Summer 2018.

Exams and assessment

Two exams:

  • 1 hour 30 minutes, 50% of marks
  • 1 hour 30 minutes, 50% of marks

Non-exam assessment (NEA):

  • None

All exams must be taken in the same session.
At the time of writing, please note that due to upcoming changes the final opportunity to sit exams for this course is Summer 2018.

NEC's tutor-marked assignments:

  • 1 introductory assignment
  • 15 assignments


Additional information

Your course is delivered online through learn@nec, so it’s important that you have access to a computer and the internet. We recommend that your computer is using one of the following operating systems and browsers to improve your experience of using learn@nec:

Operating systems:

  • Windows 7 or later
  • Mac OSX 10.7 or later
  • Google Chrome OS
  • Android 4.4 or later, using the Chrome browser
  • iOS 6 or later, using the Safari browser


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  • Mozilla Firefox (latest version)
  • Safari 6 or later
  • Internet Explorer 10 or later (excluding IE11)

learn@nec may work on other operating systems and browsers with some restrictions. You can see full details of the system requirements by clicking here.

How to enrol

How to enrol
There are several ways to enrol with NEC:

  • Click the ‘Enrol now’ button above
  • Telephone us on 0800 389 2839 or +44(0)1223 400200 and speak to our course advice team
  • Ask us to send you an enrolment form which you can complete and return by post.

How can you pay?
It’s your choice: you can pay in full at the point of enrolment, or you can spread the cost over monthly instalments with our finance offer. To pay in instalments you will need to enrol by telephone.

Representative example:

Course fee:  
Amount of credit:  
Monthly payment:  
Duration of agreement:  
Total repayable:  
Rate of interest:  
0% APR representative.  
  6 months
  0% (fixed)

The National Extension College (NEC) is the trading name of the Open School Trust, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (register number 676788). Finance is provided through the Deko platform by a number of lenders. You will be offered the best rate available based on your credit history and the lenders’ credit decision policies.

Deko is a trading name of Pay4Later Ltd who act as a credit intermediary. They are registered in England and Wales (company number 06447333) and authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (register number 728646). For more information please go to or visit

Unit 1: Making sense of other people

  • Explanations of memory
  • Forgetting
  • Eyewitness testimony
  • Non-verbal and verbal communication
  • Eye contact as non-verbal communication
  • Facial expression as non-verbal communication
  • Body language as non-verbal communication
  • Personal space as non-verbal communication
  • Temperament
  • Development of personality: type theory
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Stereotyping
  • Prejudice and discrimination
  • Reducing prejudice
  • Experiments
  • Selecting participants
  • How to use people in experiments
  • Hypotheses: how to ask questions
  • Presenting results (1)
  • Presenting results (2)
  • Ethical considerations

Unit 2: Understanding other people

  • Classical conditioning
  • Features of classical conditioning
  • Operant conditioning (1)
  • Operant conditioning (2)
  • Applications of conditioning
  • Conformity
  • Obedience
  • Social loafing
  • Deindividuation
  • Bystander behaviour
  • Sex identity and gender identity
  • Psychodynamic theory
  • Social learning theory
  • Gender schema theory
  • Explanations of aggression
  • Reducing aggression
  • Types of research methods
  • Observations
  • Surveys – questionnaires and interviews
  • Case studies
  • Correlations
Including area code and country code (if outside of UK)

GCSE psychology course sample

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What our students say...

"The course content is really interesting. I got a chance to do GCSEs in psychology and sociology – which I wouldn’t have had a chance to at most schools. The courses outline the different subjects very clearly. They relate to the questions you might get in the exam, and include assignments modelled on the exam questions, so you know what to do when you get to the paper."
— Isabel Collins