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
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