AQA AS Sociology Exam Paper 1 (7191/1) – Education and Methods in Context

An overview of the AS Sociology paper 7191 (1), and a few quick hints and tips on how to answer each of the questions…

You will be given a total of 90 minutes to answer this paper and is out of a total of 60 marks (this means 1.5 minutes per mark). There are a total of 6 questions, 5 on ‘pure education’ and 1 on ‘methods in context’.

This is a ‘write in ‘ paper – you get a booklet with the questions, and lined gaps after each question – write your answers in the gaps. If you need to use extra paper, put the question number you are adding to in the appropriate place.

The general structure of the paper is as follows:

  • Q01 – Define the term (2 marks)
  • Q02 – Using one example, briefly explain something (2 marks)
  • Q03 – Outline three ways/ factors/ criticisms (6 marks)
  • Q04 – Outline and explain two ways/ reasons/ criticisms (10 marks)
  • Q05 – Applying material from Item A and elsewhere, evaluate something to do with education (20 marks)
  • Q06 – Applying material from Item B and your knowledge of research methods, evaluate the strengths and limitations of using xxx method to research xxx issue in education (20 marks)

General hints and tips

Questions 1 – define the concept and give an example. Even though it says define, it’s good practice to do this and then back it up with an example to show you understand it. NB – this could be any concept within education – sometimes they’re obscure, sometimes they’re easier – if it looks unfamiliar, don’t worry about it and just move onto the next questions. (A colleague of mine cynically refers to this question as ‘did you revise this concept the night before the exam? Yes – 2 marks, No – 0 marks)

Question 2 – Is a ‘1+1’ question which is asking you to do two things – firstly, explain how something affects else, and secondly. give an example.

Question 3 – is 3 lots of ‘1+1’ – make sure you explain HOW each point has an effect, or is affected by something. For example, if the question asks you to outline three ways in which cultural deprivation affects educational achievement – state three forms of CD and then explain how, explicitly, this affects educational achievement…

Question 4 – It’s good practice to try and pick 2 very different answers – from different parts of the education module. Explain and develop using perspectives/ research evidence.

Question 5 – You should be familiar with the essay structure – Intro – then PEEC – Overall evaluations, then conclusion. 4 points all internally evaluated. If in doubt, chuck the perspectives at it.

Question 6 – write it like a methods essay (theoretical, practical, ethical) and then chuck in a few topic links where you can – IMO you’ve very little to gain from thinking about this too much – most students just can’t do what the examiners want to get them into the top mark bands, and even if they do, there’s a risk the (underpaid) examiners will mis-read a top band answer as a mid-band answer – do a good methods essay with a few topi links and you’re pretty much guaranteed 13/20.

Finally, and this is very important, if one or more of the questions simply just don’t make sense, don’t panic, it happens, it’s not your fault – it’s the examiner-bots, their programmers haven’t quite perfected their algorithms yet, and they sometimes just chuck out nonsense. If that happens again this year, just look for the key words and write about the general topic area, and you’ll probably get some marks.

Very finally, if it all goes really pear-shaped, have a look at my alternative careers guidance – you don’t even need A levels to pursue these options!

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