Cambridge International AS and A Level Psychology learners develop their appreciation of the subject by exploring the ways in which psychology is conducted. As part of their studies, learners also review important research; this provides an insight into the ways in which psychology has been applied, thereby leading to a better understanding of key approaches, research methods and issues and debates.

The syllabus reflects four core areas of psychology, namely biological, cognitive, learning and social; it also relates psychology to abnormality, consumer behaviour, health and organisations.

We recommend students that register to this course, have an IGCSE certificate in First Language English with a minimum mark of C or an IGCSE certificate in English as a Second Language with a minimum mark of A. If registering students have completed a curriculum that is not Cambridge International in grades 9 and 10, they will be required to sit an entrance examination at our High School Campus.

Link to Syllabus:

Key Concepts

Key concepts are essential ideas that help students develop a deep understanding of their subject and make links between different aspects. Key concepts may open up new ways of thinking about, understanding or interpreting the important things to be learned.

The key concepts for Cambridge International AS & A Level Psychology are:

  • Nature versus nurture

The nature-nurture debate is a crucial discussion running through all aspects of psychology in order to explain behaviour. Behaviours could be seen as resulting from innate, genetic factors (nature) or behaviours could be explained in terms of the environmental influences that begin to shape us from the moment of conception (nurture). The focus of contemporary psychology is to consider the relative contributions of each influence.

  • Ethics in psychological research

The need for ethical research constrains the investigation of some topics, or the use of some research techniques. Our approach to ethics has changed over time, so some of the earlier studies that were the basis of the discipline are now no longer acceptable. Ethics must be considered when designing a psychological investigation to ensure that data is gathered without compromising the wellbeing of the participant(s).

  • Choice of psychological research methods

Psychologists have to carefully choose the research method they use in terms of the information they wish to gather. Every research method, whether quantitative or qualitative, has strengths and weaknesses, and the psychologist must evaluate how the method they have chosen supports the validity and reliability of their specific investigation and contributes to the wider body of psychological research.

  • No one view in psychology is definitive

Psychological theories are developed by posing hypotheses which are then tested through research. The research will be influenced by the psychological approach of the researcher and the time and context they are working in. A single topic is likely to be studied in more than one psychological approach, and each approach has its own assumptions, strengths and weaknesses. These different explanations can work together or be in opposition, so psychologists have to balance the evidence for each explanation.

  • Relevance of psychology in contemporary society

Psychology is now used to underpin many aspects of our lives – it is used in organising businesses, in planning our shops and homes, in treating medical conditions and to improve how we learn. Every study is undertaken with a specific purpose in mind which can then be applied in everyday life – whether it is improving our lives in general, understanding how groups of people behave or treating a disorder. By understanding psychology we can improve how we live our lives and society in general.

Recognition and progression

Cambridge Internationals expertise in curriculum, teaching and learning, and assessment is the basis for the recognition of Cambridge International programmes and qualifications around the world. Every year thousands of students with Cambridge International AS & A Levels gain places at leading universities worldwide. They are valued by top universities around the world including those in the UK, US (including Ivy League universities), Europe, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

UK NARIC, the national agency in the UK for the recognition and comparison of international qualifications and skills, has carried out an independent benchmarking study of Cambridge International AS & A Level and found it to be comparable to the standard of AS & A Level in the UK. This means students can be confident that their Cambridge International AS & A Level qualifications are accepted as equivalent, grade for grade, to UK AS & A Levels by leading universities worldwide.

Cambridge International AS Level Psychology makes up the first half of the Cambridge International A Level course in psychology and provides a foundation for the study of psychology at Cambridge International A Level. Depending on local university entrance requirements, students may be able to use it to progress directly to university courses in psychology or some other subjects. It is also suitable as part of a course of general education.

Cambridge International A Level Psychology provides a foundation for the study of psychology or related courses in higher education. Equally it is suitable as part of a course of general education.


The following are the preferred resources at Istanbul International School:

  • Cambridge AS/A Level Psychology 9990 Coursebook
  • Variety of resources determined by teacher

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