Year 12 Transition: Psychology

Loosely speaking A-level Psychology is 50% Biological and 50% Social in terms of broad content. It is a scientific discipline – AQA (our exam board and specification) list the subject along with Physics, Chemistry and Biology – but it has more shared with Biology in terms of concepts and content. Scientific thinking and methods are real fundamentals when it comes to understanding how Psychology works as a subject.

Psychology uses several ‘theoretical approaches’ to explain human behaviour, in much the same way a Physicist might use theories of ‘gravity’ or the ‘big bang’ to explain the universe Psychologists use ‘Psychodynamic’ theory or ‘Behaviourist’ theory (amongst others) to explain human behaviour. 

Our Topics in Year 12 are Social Influence, Memory, Attachment, Approaches, Psychopathology and Research Methods. In Y13 we cover Relationships, Biopsychology, Issues and Debates, Schizophrenia, Forensic Psychology and Research Methods.

The textbook we use is published by ‘Illuminate Publishing’ ‘AQA Psychology For A-level Year 1 and AS’ and ‘AQA Psychology For A-level Year 2’ – these are easy to recognize as they have a picture of a girl with Green hair on the year 1 and Pink hair on the Year 2 book. I wouldn’t suggest buying these yet though as I’ve been told that they are publishing new editions in summer that we would use for next year!

I’ve attached a couple of websites (below) to have a look at for background reading around the topics :-

These will give you some idea about the A-level content.

There are plenty of books, films and TV shows which deal with various aspects of Psychological topics and approaches – ‘treatments for psychological disorders’ for example.

Film and TV

Films I’d suggest are

  • One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  • Girl, interrupted
  • The Experiment” (Netflix I think)
  • “The Mind, Explained” (Netflix)


Book-wise, I’d suggest a couple of novels, no doubt also available in Audiobook–

  • “The Reader” by Bernhard Schlink
  • “Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins and
  • “The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat” by Oliver Sacks (actually anything by Sacks is fascinating).

These should pass some time and be thought provoking to say the least!!