Transition Work – Psychology

As Psychology will be a new subject to almost all students, it is important to understand the subject matter, appreciate the way the discipline works and familiarise yourself with the topics you will be studying.  This will allow you to make an informed decision as to whether Psychology is the right subject for you and prepare you for A Level study.

The following website provides a simple, yet concise description of what Psychology is:

The next website goes into more detail regarding the development of Psychology as a separate discipline and explains the links to both Philosophy and Biology.  Familiarise yourself with the differing schools of thought or perspectives, focusing especially on Psychoanalysis, Behaviourism and Cognitivism as these will form the basis of Year 1.  Once you understand the differing perspectives, move on to the differing areas of Psychology in today’s society, as some of these applications will form the basis of Year 2:

A major part of Psychology is research.  Research can take many forms from laboratory experiments to interviews.  Understanding the basis of scientific enquiry is essential in Psychology, as is the statistical analysis of research and ethical considerations.  The following clip introduces some of these aspects:

(The Psychology Crash Course videos are excellent – many relate to topics you will cover during the course, so it would be advisable to watch a selection)

There is no right answer in Psychology, but much research, theory and debate.  Explanations of human behaviour generally relate to the four different approaches that you will study in Year 1 – Social, Cognitive, Learning and Biological, so familiarise yourself with these differing perspectives.  Year 2 focuses on applying your knowledge to Clinical and Criminological Psychology and full details of the course, including sample assessment material can be found on the Pearson website below – take some time to read through the specification, conduct independent research on some of the topics and familiarise yourself with the A Level sample assessment material, located under the ‘course materials’ tab:

A large part of the course will consist of understanding and evaluating concepts, theories and aspects of research.  It is important to always question the reliability and validity of theory and research.  Your final task is to conduct your own independent research on these terms, familiarise yourself with the concepts of reliability and validity and consider how they are used within Psychology.

The more independent research you conduct, the more informed you will become.  This will ensure your chosen programme of study is appropriate to your personal interests and abilities.  There are some great MOOCs available (on all courses – google them) and similar courses to introduce you to Psychology, the following is optional:


Should you have any questions or queries, please contact me on

Kate Betts

Subject Leader for Psychology

The Thomas Adams School
Lowe Hill

01939 237000