Changes to the AQA A Level Psychology specification, June 2019

If you are an AQA Psychology centre, you may recently have found out that there are a few changes to the specification. We’d like to reassure you that our authors and the rest of our Complete Companions team are already on it.

Here is a summary of the changes and any implications for The Complete Companions resources. The benefit of working closely with examiners for our 5th editions means that we can be completely confident our resources continue to meet your needs and your students’ needs. For further details about the changes, please visit the AQA website:

4.1 Introductory topics in psychology

4.1.1 Social influence: The only change here is to the social influence section. The word ‘uniform’ has been moved in terms of where it appears on the spec as Milgram didn’t specifically create a variation relating to uniform (unlike say, Bushman). All our resources already make this distinction.

4.2 Psychology in context

4.2.1 Approaches: AQA has tweaked the learning approaches specification point to make it clearer that social learning theory (SLT) is not part of the behaviourist approach. Our resources have always treated them separately. For example, on Kerboodle for the confidence ratings activity we have split up ‘Learning approach’ into ‘Behaviourism’ and ‘SLT’ already and also have separate Behaviourism and SLT activities. Sign test: We are clear about the sign test calculation, so that’s no change. We already include plenty of support for this including step-by-step guidance within the student book, a Maths coaching animation on Kerboodle and ‘calculate the sign test’ activities on Kerboodle and in our new Year 1 and AS Revision Guide. Our Paper 2 Workbook and Research Methods Companion have additional support and practice too.

4.3 Issues and options in psychology

4.3.3: Gender: We’re pleased to hear that AQA is updating ‘Gender dysphoria’ to match DSM – we have already explained gender dysphoria in our publishing. Going forward, we will make sure that all our printed resources reflect the new wording when they go for reprint as well as updating our digital content. We will post new pages on our website and share with customers when this has been done.


4.3.5: Schizophrenia: With regard to dopamine hypothesis being an example of a neural correlate, our authors at the time were vocal in their argument that it should be thus, so we are pleased that AQA has taken this on board. All our Complete Companions publishing already makes this clear. In practical terms, what this means is that on p142 of the Year 2 student book, the material under the headings of ‘The dopamine hypothesis’ and ‘Neural correlates’ can all be used for questions on the latter.

4.3.9: Forensic psychology: This is where the largest change can be seen – AQA has removed the first topic: defining crime and ways of measuring crime (which could be argued was a Sociology topic anyway!) to make the volume more in line with other topics in that section. In fact, our ‘Insider tip’ in the student book for this topic already points out that an extended writing question would be unlikely on this. If you are teaching this topic, these are the pages in our resources that you no longer need to teach and your students no longer need to learn. We will put through reprint corrections to reflect this change and, of course, update our Kerboodle resources to show that this topic is no longer on the specification.

ISBN 9780198436331: The Complete Companions Year 2 Student Book: pages 256—257

ISBN 9780198444886: The Complete Companions Year 2 Revision Guide: pages 172—173

ISBN 9780198428930: The Complete Companions Paper 3 Workbook: Forensic psychology pages 8–9

Please do come and see us at ATP or email [email protected] if you have any further questions or concerns.


The Complete Companions team