A2 Beliefs: Examiner Feedback

I thought it would be useful to share with you some feedback from my recent AQA examiners meeting:

1. Ideas and substance over names

Whilst of course you must be able to use the names of a good range of sociologists, the message from AQA is loud and clear – it is much more important to apply ideas, arguments, perspectives and terms. If you can’t remember the name of a sociologist, don’t worry too much, just carry on…

2. 9 mark questions

3 bullet points. A brief explanation is fine as long as you have developed your answer in some way. If you are unsure, you can write 4 answers and the correct 3 answers will be rewarded – this will waste time though.

Don’t full into the trap of writing too much on this answer. Remember, you have a maximum of a minute and a half per mark – so a maximum of 13 minutes on this question.

3. 18 mark questions

Define terms.

Perspectives are needed.

Always pick up ideas from the item.

A02 is very important

4. 33 mark questions

If the question refers to ‘today’ make sure that you refer to today. Even if the question does not explicitly ask about today, make sure you give examples from today.

DO NOT WRITE A TIMELESS ANSWER – make sure that you show some appreciation of when the sociology was written and then locate it within today. For example, if you are writing about Durkheim’s ideas of social solidarity, are these ideas still relevant today?

Relate every paragraph to the question.

Compare perspectives – what do they disagree on? How do they agree? DON’T JUST LIST.

Distinguish within the perspectives – orthodox Marxists have different ideas to Neo-Marxists

Remember A02 marks are rewarded more:

A02 a) interpretation and analysis – give examples, reflect on the ideas

A02 b) use words such as – however; on the other hand; yet; nonetheless

A2 Beliefs questions

It seems that the latest past paper questions are missing from the revision book, so here they are:

June 2014

 0 1 Identify and briefly explain three arguments against the view that secularisation has

occurred worldwide over the past 30 years or so, apart from those referred to in Item A.

[9 marks]

 0 2 Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess the view that traditional churches

are experiencing declining attendances mainly because they are no longer attracting the

young.

[18 marks]

 Either

0 3 ‘Religion today helps societies to remain stable and to avoid conflict.’

To what extent do sociological arguments and evidence support this view?

 [33 marks]

or

0 4 Evaluate feminist views on the role of religion in society today.

[33 marks]

 

June 2013

0 1 Identify and briefly explain three characteristics of sects. (9 marks)

 0 2 Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess the view that the growth of religious

fundamentalism is a reaction to globalisation. (18 marks)

 EITHER

0 3 Evaluate the contribution of Marxist theories to our understanding of the role and

functions of religion in the world today. (33 marks)

 OR

0 4 ‘Different social groups have different social and spiritual needs and use religion and

religious organisations in very different ways.’

To what extent do sociological arguments and evidence support this view? (33 marks)

 

Jan 2012

0 1 Identify and briefly explain three ways in which women may be disadvantaged by

religion today. (9 marks)

 0 2 Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess the view that religion no longer acts

as a ‘shared universe of meaning’ for people today. (18 marks)

 EITHER

0 3 Assess the view that religion inhibits social change. (33 marks)

 OR

0 4 Evaluate the role of New Age movements in society today. (33 marks)

  June 2012

0 1 Identify and briefly explain three reasons why statistics on religious belief may not be accurate. (9 marks)

0 2 Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess the view that women are no longer oppressed by religion. (18 marks)

EITHER 0 3 ‘Religion is still the most significant ideological influence in the world today.’ To what extent do sociological arguments and evidence support this view? (33 marks)

OR 0 4 Critically examine sociological views of sects in society today. (33 marks)

 Jan 2012

0 1 Identify and briefly explain three reasons why members of minority ethnic groups may seem to be more religious than members of the majority population. (9 marks)

0 2 Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess the view that most people today choose not to be lifelong members of religious organisations. (18 marks)

EITHER 0 3 ‘The growth of New Age and similar movements is evidence of a spiritual revolution in society today.’ To what extent do sociological arguments and evidence support this view? (33 marks)

OR 0 4 Assess the usefulness of functionalist theories in understanding religion today. (33 marks)