ISC Class 12 Psychology Syllabus

Introduction to ISC Class 12 Psychology Syllabus

ISC Class 12 Psychology Syllabus is a scientific study of the human mind and behaviour. It is an interface between human psychology and social behavioural patterns. As a subject, psychology has procured more popularity and momentum in the last few years. Psychology is one of the leading topics in research and quickly generates a keen curiosity among the students of the younger generation. Students of Psychology are expected to contribute great efforts toward understanding, examining and analysing the human mind.

ISC Class 12 Psychology Syllabus: Semester 1 & 2

ISC Class 12 Psychology Students are advised to refer to the below semester-wise table for their Examination preparation.

                                Semester 1

(Marks: 35)

                                  Semester 1

(Marks: 35)

Unit No. Name of the Unit Unit No. Name of the Unit
1. Intelligence and Ability 4. Stress and Stress Management
2. Personality 5. Psychological Disorders and Psychotherapy
3. Lifespan Development 6. Social Thought and Social Behaviour
7. Attitudes
8. Applications of Psychology

Introduction to ISC Class 12 Psychology Syllabus: Semester 1 & 2

A Brief Introduction to Psychology class 12 syllabus Semester 1 & 2 is given below.

Intelligence and Ability:

  • Intelligence: Theories regarding the nature of intelligence; how it is measured, the IQ concept, tests on intelligence, individual tests, Group tests, culture fair tests. Levels of intelligence and associated characteristics.

Two Factor Theory 

  • Charles Spearman’s theory elaborates on the primary mental abilities first devised by Thurstone.
  • Raymond Cattell’s theory explains fluid and crystallised intelligence; Guilford’s Structure of Intellect Model.
  • Aptitude defines the achievement and meaning of these terms. The actual reason for their assessment and means of assessment (different tools/ tests) used. Types of aptitude tests are the GATB (General aptitude test battery);  and the SCII (Strong Campbell Interest Inventory).


  • Meaning of personality and its definition-Allport, Cattell, Eysenck.
  • Theories of Personality: Type Theories, Psychoanalytic Theory: Freud’s structure of personality etc.
  • Type Theory: Sheldon, Hippocrates, Kreshtmer, Friedman, Charak Samhita of Ayurveda and so on.
  • How personality is assessed: Its various reports, inventories (MMPI), projective techniques – Rorschach Inkblot Test and Thematic Apperception Test.

Lifespan Development:

  • It’s meaning and importance of growth, development, and maturity.

Why is the study critical? Its determinants, interaction related to heredity and environment, Ecological System Theory.

  • Infancy: Motor, cognitive development skills and emotional development.

Motor: milestones; cognitive: Piaget’s Sensory-Motor Stage.

  • The emergence of self: Gender awareness, identity, stability and consistency. 

Moral development: Kohlberg’s perspective experiment on ethical dilemma

  • Adolescence: Physical changes, cognitive development, socio-emotional development, and some concerns.

Physical changes at puberty and Cognitive development

Stress and Stress Management:

  • Meaning of stress – its fundamental nature:

Stress as a process: Stressors (negative & positive events); results of overload; the stages of General Adaptation Syndrome(GAS) (Selye’s model). 

  • Common causes of stress:

Major life events, hassles of everyday life, work-related, the physical environment. 

Internal/dispositional: Personality variables-traits & types.

  • Effects of stress on health and performance:

Upsets the internal mechanism and balance: immune system, hypertension, heart-related issues, stomach ulcers, diabetes, asthma (each effect to be briefly explained). 

  • Stress Management: Effective and ineffective ways of handling stress. Individual coping with focus: Effective strategies: relaxation method training & yoga. Practical lifestyles and stress cycles-distress and wellness: ineffective strategies, defence mechanisms and rationalisation. 

Psychological Disorders and Psychotherapy:

  • “Abnormal behaviour or Psychological Disorder” is a cause of various psychological disorders regarding DSM IV.
  • Types of psychological disorders: Anxiety- generalised, phobic, obsessive-compulsive disorder; Mood swings, bipolar, depression; personality traits and antisocial, histrionic, avoidant, dependent and passive-aggressive.
  • What is meant by Anxiety: Various forms of anxiety disorders: phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorders; Mood disorders characteristics of severe depression, manic depressive or bipolar disorder; personality – antisocial, histrionic, avoidant, dependent, passive-aggressive (causes and symptoms).
  • Schizophrenia- meaning; main types; characteristics. Fundamental nature of Schizophrenia – aspects of Disorganised, Catatonic and Paranoid Schizophrenia (symptoms).
  • Psychotherapy: Psychoanalysis, client-centred and behavioural rehabilitation.

Social thought and social behaviour:

  • Social Perception: The process where people try to understand the reasons for their behaviour.
  • How individual behaviour determines whether others’ behaviour results from internal causes or external factors.
  • Social Influence: how people try to change their  behaviour  through social norms, conformity and obedience


  • Meaning of “Attitude”: the relationship between attitude, perception, belief and behaviour; how attitudes are formed and changed. Attitudes and its components. How attitudes determine behaviours, developing attitudes, how attitudes change-persuasion and cognitive dissonance.
  • Prejudice: meaning of prejudice and discrimination; its origin and how to combat prejudice. 
  • Meaning and causes of prejudice and how it works in the form of discrimination, honest competition, social learning and ways through which it can be resisted. Caste, community and gender-based stereotypes in the Indian context.

Applications of Psychology concerning:


  • Psychology helps to understand criminals and rehabilitate them and prevent crime.

Clinical psychology and counselling

  • Role of a counsellor and clinical psychologist in dealing with individuals, people, couples, families and groups.

Educational (school/college) Psychology:

  • How psychology helps to learn in school: students and teachers relation; individual problems, learning differences, teaching and evaluation method and school environment. 

Organisational Psychology

  • It helps promote efficiency, well-being and profits. Recruitment method, motivation, team building and leadership skills, marketing and consumer behaviour.

ISC Class 12 Psychology:  Examination Pattern & Chapter Weightage

The ISC class 12 Psychology is divided into two papers as mentioned below: 

  • Examination Paper I – The theory exam duration is 3 hours and worth  70 marks.
  • Examination Paper II– Practical Work examination consists of 30 marks.

ISC Psychology Class 12 Syllabus

Theory paper is of 3 hours duration and 70 marks. There are 7 units in the syllabus: (i) Intelligence and Ability (ii) Personality (iii) Lifespan Development (iv) Stress and Stress Management (v) Psychological Disorders and Psychotherapy (vi) Social Thought and Social Behaviour (vii) Attitudes.

Section A

1. Intelligence and Ability

(i) Intelligence: what is meant by intelligence – theories regarding the nature of intelligence; how intelligence is measured – the concept of IQ, intelligence tests – Individual Tests, Group Tests. Levels of intelligence and associated characteristics. Emotional Intelligence (EQ).

(ii) Aptitude, Achievement and Interest: meaning of these terms. Reason for their assessment and means of aptitude assessment (different tools/ tests) used.

2. Personality

(i) What is meant by Personality.

Definitions of personality – Allport.

(ii) Theories of Personality: Type Theories, Psychoanalytic Theory – Freud’s structure of personality; psycho-sexual stages of development; Post Freudians (in brief); Humanistic – Rogers and Maslow; Traits – Allport, Cattell; Social Cognitive Theory – Bandura.

(iii) How personality is assessed: reports, inventories (MMPI), projective techniques – Rorschach Inkblot Test and Thematic Apperception Test, Behavioural Analysis.

Section B

3. Lifespan Development

(i) Meaning of Development, growth and maturation.

Why is the study of lifespan development important? Determinants – interaction of heredity and environment, context of development – Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological System Theory.

(ii) Infancy – motor, cognitive development, socio-emotional development.

Motor Development – definition of motor milestone, reflexes- rooting, moro, grasping, babinski; cognitive development -Piaget’s Sensory Motor Stage; socio-emotional development – attachment (definition). Mary Ainsworth’s & Lamb’s strange situation test (four patterns of attachment).

(iii) Childhood – motor, cognitive development and moral development.

Motor development – gross motor and fine motor skills (definitions only); cognitive development – Piaget’s Theory (Preoperational and Concrete). Moral development – Kohlberg’s perspective Experiment on Moral Dilemma – preconventional, conventional and post conventional morality.

(iv) Adolescence – physical changes, cognitive development, some major concerns.

Physical changes at puberty (in brief); Cognitive development – Piaget’s Formal Operational Stage; Some major concerns -substance abuse (drugs and alcohol) – meaning of substance abuse and symptoms of drug abuse and alcoholism; eating disorders – bulimia, anorexia (meaning and symptoms).

4. Stress and Stress Management

(i) Meaning of stress – its basic nature.

Strain and Eustress; Stress as a process – stressors (negative and positive events); the stages of GAS or the General Adaptation Syndrome (Selye’s model). Cognitive appraisal of stress – primary and secondary.

(ii) Common causes of stress.

External / situational: major life events, minor hassles of everyday life, work-related causes, the physical environment.

Internal / dispositional: Personality variables – traits and types.

(iii) Effects of stress on health and performance.

Upsets the internal mechanism and balance – immune system affected, hypertension, heart problems, ulcers, diabetes, asthma (each effect to be briefly explained). Burnout – work related burnout.

(iv) Stress management – effective strategies of handling stress.

Effective strategies – relaxation training and yoga.

Promoting positive health and well-being: Exercise, Diet, Self-Care, Life Skills, Assertiveness, Rational thinking, improving relationships, overcoming unhelpful habits, Social support, Stress Resistant Personality, Positive thinking and positive attitude.

5. Psychological Disorders and Psychotherapy

(i) Meaning of “Abnormal behaviour” – biological, psychological and socio-cultural perspectives. Principles of classification of psychological disorders with reference to DSM IV.

(ii) Characteristics of some psychological disorders: Anxiety – generalised, phobic, obsessive-compulsive; Mood – bi-polar, depression; personality – anti-social, histrionic, avoidant, dependent, passive aggressive (causes and symptoms of all).

(iii) Schizophrenia – meaning and characteristics.

(iv) Psychotherapy – Psychoanalysis; Client-centred; Behavioural. Psychosocial Rehabilitation.

6. Social Thought and Social Behaviour

(i) Social Perception – attribution or the process through which people try to understand the reasons for others’ behaviour.

Attribution – definition, biases in forming judgments. Explain with examples each of the following biases – fundamental attribution error or correspondence bias, self-serving bias, the false consensus effect, automatic vigilance.

(ii) Social Influence – how people try to change others’ behaviour; social norms; conformity and obedience – factors affecting them.

Meaning and characteristics of a group; types of groups – formal and informal, primary and secondary and in-group and outgroup. Meaning of social norms – why people conform to social norms; factors affecting Conformity and Obedience. Asch’s study on conformity; why and when people obey others – Milgram’s experiment.

7. Attitudes

(i) Meaning of “Attitude” – how attitudes are formed and changed.

What are attitudes – the components of attitude; the process of forming attitudes – how attitudes change: persuasion -definition and methods to change attitude and cognitive dissonance – definition and any three ways to reduce cognitive dissonance.

(ii) Prejudice – meaning of “prejudice” and discrimination; the origins of prejudice; how to combat prejudice.

An understanding of the meaning of prejudice and how it works in the form of discrimination – causes of prejudice: social learning, realistic competition, social categorization and stereotyping; ways in which prejudice can be resisted.

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Could you give some tips to secure good grades in the Indian School Certificate (ISC) Class 12 Psychology exam?

Some of the best tips advised to secure good grades in exams are as follows –

  • Revise the difficult topics regularly.
  • Take and practice quizzes.
  • Study and understand the most difficult concepts in the topic.
  • Make individual revision notes to make it easy to study for the examination.
  • Learn definitions in your language to ensure strong memory retention.
  • Practice some psychology concepts in real life for better knowledge and understanding. 
  • Get thorough with new and tricky concepts before proceeding to more straightforward ideas.