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AQA A Level Psychology – High Impact Strategies to access top marks

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An in depth course exploring high impact strategies that raise attainment and support students to access top marks in examinations. Harriet will share ideas and accompanying materials that you can take-away and use immediately in the classroom. You will leave equipped with knowledge of the latest evidence-informed teaching, learning and assessment practice as well as feedback from the most recent exams. In addition the course includes access to a range of resources and practical strategies that will enable you to meet the needs of your most able students and ultimately increase A and A* grade attainment. The course will also place the students’ learning in the context of the next step with suggestions of how to engage the most able by opening the door on to further studying Psychology at degree level.


  • Increase awareness of what success looks like for the most able Psychologists
  • Gain the latest evidence-informed practice that challenges A/A* students
  • Develop greater understanding of what examiners are looking for in Grade A/A* responses
  • Challenge your students with problem solving, modelling and questioning to stretch pupils’ thinking processes
  • Take away a range of innovative teaching ideas and resources to impact your pupils’ learning immediately
  • Deepen your understanding of assessment criteria and mark schemes
  • Bring back concrete strategies and ideas to share with other Psychology teachers
  • Explore how to maximise success levels for your students in the examination
  • Learn how to develop resilience so that talented psychology students achieve their A/A* potential


Key A/A* skills: Mastery and Metacognition

10.00 – 11.15am
  • Strategies to construct outstanding exam responses, looking at example A/A* exam responses
  • How to tackle the sticker exam questions and gain top marks
  • Creating room for success: Training students to ‘Mentally step back’ and  to develop ‘head space’ for clearer thinking under pressure
  • Economic Implications and Concluding paragraphs – ditch PEEL and try ‘COD – strategies to boost efficiency. Some of the most able students often ‘overwrite’, these strategies will help them ‘zone’ in to maximise top marks, with minimum effort


Discussion: coffee break

11.15 – 11.30am

Key A/A* teacher skills: Feedback and Feedforward

11.30 – 12.30pm
  • Scaffolding as a key elements of high quality instruction, even the most able need to have clear structures.
  • Providing higher order skills practice and model responses for students. Showing A/A* students what top mark exam responses look like, how to develop their own answers.
  • Addressing key impact factors – ‘Teacher Credibility’ and ‘Student Expectations’ – research evidence suggests these a vital and I will share tips on how to address these.


Lunch and informal discussion

12.30 – 1.30pm

Key A/A* characteristics: Resilience and Wellbeing

1.30 – 2.15pm
  • How to support students with high expectations from falling backwards under the pressure – new research on perfectionism and healthy striving
  • Strategies to support mental health and motivation
  • Strategies to build grit and resilience
  • How to use practical mindfulness training to promote awareness and wellbeing, whilst teaching key concepts at the same time: practical session

Key A/A* Exam Skills: Getting top marks in A02/A03 questions

2.15 – 2.45pm
  • What does an A* AO2/3 response look like?
  • Strategies to improve application skills for essays
  • What does evaluation in an A/A* essay look like?


Discussion: afternoon tea

2.45 – 3.00pm

Key curriculum insights for A/A*: Less is More strategies

3.00 – 3.45pm
  • Avoiding misconceptions by re-routing student expression – including phrases to solve errors in BioPsychology and Correlation/Quasi/Experiment Evaluation
  • Use of ‘Threshold concepts’ and ‘Hinge questions’ – a way to challenge top end students and mid/lower end ability simultaneously
  • Teaching research methods in context for depth of understanding – preparation for ongoing research at university and into their career
  • How to deal with the large content in Psychology A level – selectivity and re-cycling top tips for overlap key-studies that high end students can re-signpost across topics



London | Monday 04 December 2023
London | Monday 18 March 2024

Please select your preferred date

London | Monday 04 December 2023
London | Monday 18 March 2024

This course, tailored to suit, can be delivered in your school. Discuss this further with our CPD team on 01625 532974 or click below to make an enquiry.


Harriet Ennis is an experienced teacher with over 15 years of leading a Psychology department. She is a ‘Lead Teacher’ co-ordinating ‘stretch and challenge’ in her current school and has been an external examiner for AQA. She has experience of 10 years teaching master classes to students from a variety of different schools; consistently rated as excellent by students and head teachers. Last year she was given an award for public engagement in psychology by the British Psychological Society (BPS). She writes articles and blogs on psychology teaching and is also a chartered psychologist and associate fellow of the BPS.


  • Teachers of A level Psychology
  • Heads of Psychology/Social Science departments


  • A specially prepared folder of detailed notes, practical advice and guidance
  • Notes prepared by the educational experts leading the course
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance

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