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GCSE Psychology

Online distance learning course with study materials, tutor support and guaranteed exam place included.

The National Extension College


£495 VAT exempt
Payment options

It’s your choice: you can pay in full at the point of enrolment, or you can spread the cost over... Read more

Study method
Online, self-paced
150 Hours
Access to content
18 Months
GCSE Psychology
Professional What's this?
Additional info
  • Exam(s) / assessment(s) not included in price & must be purchased separately
  • Tutor is available to students
  • TOTUM card is available to purchase separately What's this?

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Open up your mind to the scientific study of human behaviour, through our GCSE Psychology online course.

Psychology is a subject that offers a unique journey of self-discovery. Not only will it help you to interpret the behaviour of those around you – it also enables you to analyse your own interactions with different personality types, and what drives you to react in different situations.

By learning how to scientifically study the mind, you’ll be able to make observations on human behaviour. From exploring what motivates and challenges us, to how we change – psychology helps us to tackle both personal and social problems.

This insightful subject is taught through a variety of topics such as memory, perception, social influence, the brain and neuropsychology. Choosing this course opens up opportunities to become more employable and highly-skilled, as well as informing how you currently view and understand society.


GCSE Psychology
Awarded by AQA Education


Why study Psychology?

GCSE Psychology will enable you to combine research and analytical tools, with an ability to become a better communicator. It can also help provide sound skills in how to resolve conflict.

Course content

Section 1: Research methods, Part A

  • Asking questions – developing a hypothesis
  • Selecting participants
  • Ethics in psychological research
  • Describing and evaluating experiments

Section 2: Memory

  • Process of memory – encoding, storage and retrieval
  • Structures of memory
  • Memory as an active process

Section 3: Perception

  • Sensation and perception
  • Visual cues and constancies
  • Gibson’s direct theory of perception
  • Gregory’s constructivist theory of perception
  • Visual illusions
  • Factors affecting perception

Section 4: Development

  • Early brain development
  • Piaget’s theory of cognitive development
  • Piaget’s four stages of development
  • Applying Piaget’s theory to education
  • Dweck’s mindset theory of learning
  • Learning styles and Willingham’s learning theory

Section 5: Research methods, Part B

  • Designing research
  • Natural and field experiments
  • Questionnaires and interviews
  • Case studies
  • Observations
  • Reliability and validity
  • Correlation
  • Types of data
  • Data handling

Section 6: Social influence

  • Conformity
  • Obedience
  • Prosocial behaviour
  • Crowd and collective behaviour

Section 7: Language, thought and communication

  • Language and thought
  • Human and animal communication
  • Non-verbal communication
  • Explanations of non-verbal behaviour

Section 8: Brain and neuropsychology

  • Structure and function of the nervous system
  • Neuron structure and function
  • Structure and function of the brain
  • Introduction to neuropsychology

Section 9: Psychological problems

  • Introduction to mental health
  • Effects of mental health problems
  • Characteristics of clinical depression
  • Theories and treatment of depression
  • Characteristics of addiction
  • Theories and treatment of addiction

Your tutor

You’ll have access to support from a personal tutor. All NEC tutors are subject experts, with experience of supporting online learners.

Meet Tracey who is just one of our first-class psychology tutors:

“Teaching distance learning students for over 15 years has given me a great deal of experience in supporting students and I always enjoy working with students who are keen, enthusiastic and enjoy their studying. They never fail to inspire and motivate me. Many NEC students work in their own homes and have to be disciplined to study like this, so it is always great to have enthusiastic students who work hard to complete their course. If you are thinking of studying by distance learning, think about your own life and the time you have available for studying, then make sure you take a course that you are really interested in and it is what you want to do. If you are interested in a topic and enjoying it, then studying it is so much easier. I love what I teach and hope my students do too.

My qualifications include MSocSc and Diploma in Social Science and Social Work, Postgraduate Diploma in Learning Disability Studies, Post-graduate Certificate in Education, B.Sc. (Hons) in Psychology. I am a former examiner for AQA and International Baccalaureate, and I also write academic textbooks and courses.”

What you need to know

Exam board

  • AQA 8181


  • Online learning with support from a personal tutor


  • Complete at your own pace
  • Approx. 120-150* hours plus time for completing assignments

*The specification suggests that 150 hours is needed. You’ll also need time to complete assignments and prepare yourself for exams and some courses like English literature involve a lot of reading. Everyone is different so it’s impossible to say with certainty how long a course will take you, but you should expect to spend longer than 150 hours. Taken across the length of time we recommend, this equates to approximately 4 hours per week. This will increase if you choose to take it over a shorter time frame or may be less if you are retaking a subject and have covered a lot of of the course content.


  • 10 assignments (one introductory) – these do not contribute towards your final grade


  • No additional set texts required


  • Internet access
  • Computer operating system and browser to support learn@nec

What's included?

Our course fees are open and honest to help you plan for any additional costs.

Your course fee includes:

  • Access to learn@nec
  • All the course materials you need to complete the course
  • Support from a personal tutor for up to 18 months from your date of enrolment
  • Assignment marking
  • Guaranteed exam place
  • NEC’s guide to study skills: How to Succeed as an Independent Learner
  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar guide
  • Time planner to help you plan your study timetable
  • Information on how to apply for exams

Your course fee does not cover:

  • Exam entry fees
  • Recommended textbooks for additional reading

Optional extras:

  • Additional past paper marking
  • Revision tutorial
  • Optional tutorial
  • Additional review

Exams and assessment

Exams (two):

  • 50% of marks (1 hour 45 minutes)
  • 50% of marks (1 hour 45 minutes)

There is no non-exam assessment (NEA) for this course.

Additional support if you're under 18

We know that our younger students often need an extra helping hand with their studies. In our experience, learning online works best when the parents are involved, so when you enrol your child with NEC, you’ll have a unique set of services to help you to support your child.

This includes:

  • Your own log in to learn@nec to access the course so you can view the course materials and other information for yourself.
  • Access to your child’s gradebook to help you to monitor progress and provide appropriate and timely intervention and support
  • You’ll receive emails and forum posts so that you have all the examination and assessment updates/information provided by the NEC team
  • Dedicated Parent Portal Pages and targeted blogs with updates/information/help and advice on many aspects of home education.
  • Access to the Kudos career platform for young learners to explore career choices.

Who is this course for?

Studying GCSE Psychology online is ideal if you:

  • Would like to increase your skill set – particularly in the areas of analytical research, team working, communication skills, handling data, statistics and problem solving.
  • Have an interest in finding out more about how, and why, we behave as we do.
  • Want to learn more about research methods and how they can be utilised.
  • Aspire to progressing onto a science-based apprenticeship.


  • No formal qualifications are required for this course
  • An ability to read and write in English

Career path

Future opportunities

  • Studying other sciences, or Psychology, at A level.
  • A range of careers in fields such as psychology (occupational, clinical, health, educational or high-intensity psychologist roles), advertising, psychotherapy, counselling, consultancy and advice work.

Questions and answers

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