S Cool Psychology Gcse Coursework

Understanding Psychology at A level and GCSE: 10: Repeated Measures Design

Here is the 10th in our new series of Psychology blogs – useful for anyone revising for exams or thinking about taking up Psychology as a new subject at A level or GCSE.

Research Methods – Research Design – Repeated Measures

As we mentioned in our previous blog (no.9), Repeated Measures is one of the main forms of experimental design.

Repeated measures is the term we use to describe an experiment in which all participants take part in all conditions.

For example, you want to find out whether taking vitamin tablets before an exam aids recall.

So in the first condition, you give all participants a vitamin tablet. Then you find out what percentage they got in the exam.

Then the next day, you give THE SAME participants a sweet (telling them it is a vitamin tablet) and ask them to do the exam. Then you look at what percentage they got in this exam.

Then you can compare how they did. You are using the same people, so when you compare them, you are comparing the same people, so there are no participant variables, but there can be other factors involved.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Repeated Measures Design


  • Fewer participants are needed for this type of research, but you get the same amount of data.
  • You have the same people to do both conditions, so the differences should be due to individual differences affecting the results.


  • There is a problem of order effects. If all participants did the vitamin tablet test first, then they all did the sweet test second. It could be that when they did the second exam, they had actually got better at answering exams, so they did well in the sweet condition. So it would look as though the vitamin tablet made no difference, but in fact the results could be due to order effects.
  • Let’s look at another example to demonstrate order effects.  Say you wanted to test whether eating chocolate before driving improved drivers’ speed round a track. So you asked ten people to drive round a track and you timed their results. Then you ask the SAME ten people to eat some chocolate, then drive round the track. Again you timed their results. You found that, on average, they drove ten times faster after the chocolate. So that means chocolate leads to faster driving doesn’t it? Well, not necessarily, it could be due to order effects, this was the second time they went round, so there could also be a practice effect. Really, the researcher should use counterbalancing to improve this. We will look at counterbalancing in more detail in the next blog (no.11). Counterbalancing simply means that to avoid order effects, some people would do one task first, then others would do the other task first. So some would do the driving without chocolate first, whilst others would do the driving WITH chocolate first.

In the next blog (no.11) we will look at matched pairs design in research.

Tracey Jones



GCSE Psychology doesn't have coursework, so external candidates can sit the regular GCSE.

When you wish to take the exam determines which Psychology GCSEs you can sit.

As part of GCSE reform old GCSEs (A-G) are being phased out and new GCSEs (9-1) are being introduced.

  • September 2017 - new GCSEs (9-1) become available for teaching.
  • Summer 2018 - final exams for the old GCSE (A-G)
  • Summer 2019 - first exams for the new GCSEs (9-1)

The specifications for old GCSE Psychology (A-G) 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.

The new Psychology (9-1) has more subject content determined by Government so specifications have more overlap.

GCSEs (A-G) - final exam Summer 2018Edit

Edexcel GCSE Psychology (2009)Edit

Final sittings Summer 2018

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 PsychologyEdit

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 PsychologyEdit

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 PsychologyEdit

WJEC GCSE Psychology


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.


GCSE Psychology - specific resourcesEdit

Sparks Psych Printable Revision Workbook for Edexcel GCSE Psychology.

AQA GCSE Psychology at Whittington Green School-a variety of helpful materials specifically for this syllabus have kindly been made publicly avaialable.

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.  

General introductory psychologyEdit

Introduction to Psychology from Coursera - free online course with assignments and discussions.

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.

Distance LearningEdit

The majority of home-educators who study Psychology GCSE get along well using just the textbook and free online resources listed here, but some find a distance learning course suits their family better. The big national distance learning companies offer psychology GCSE courses, but there are also some niche providers who specialise in home education. People generally report that the tutor support is what makes or breaks and online course; this means it's difficult to generalise about whether a particular large distance learning company is good overall, as it may have a brilliant tutor for one subject and a lacklustre one for another.

GCSE Social Science Courses Kat Sleep is a home-educator and experienced tutor offering on-line GCSE Psychology (Edexcel) and GCSE Sociology (AQA) courses. Some courses may also be available in person in Thatcham, Berkshire.

Vicki-Marie Piper Venn offers online tuition in psychology and sociology. We have not had any feedback from members of the HE Exams groups, but her site says: "I specialise in tutoring home educated students, who currently constitute around 45% of all my students. For home educated students looking to apply to university I am able to be your Academic Referee and supply a reference to UCAS at no extra cost, provided that you are having weekly lessons with me."

Edited to add: "I am a member of the HE Exams group and my son had lessons with Vicki before his GCSE Psychology exam. We found her extremely patient and fantastic at explaining topics as well as giving great advice on exam technique. We can highly recommend her!"

Oxford Home Schooling offers a course for AQA GCSE Psychology. £350 for the course for one GCSE.

ICS Learn GCSE Psychology course is the AQA syllabus, £285.

NEC GCSE Psychology - AQA syllabus, £425

GCSEs (9-1) - first exam Summer 2019Edit

Edexcel GCSE Psychology 9-1 from 2017Edit

Edexcel GCSE Psychology 9-1

Paper 1 - 5 compulsory topics 

  • Memory
  • Development
  • Psychological Problems
  • Social Influence
  • The Brain and Neuropsychology.

Paper 2 COmpulsory Reserach methods and a choice of 2 optional topics from a list of 5:

  • Language, Communication and Thought,

AQA GCSE Psychology (8182) from 2017Edit

AQA GCSE Psychology

Paper 1: Cognition and Behaviour

  • Memory
  • Perception
  • Development
  • Research Methods

Paper 2: Social context and behaviour

  • social influence
  • Language, thought and communication
  • Brain and newuropsychology
  • Psychological problems

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