This post draws on marked examples from the AQA exam board’s A-level sociology papers 7192/3: Crime and Deviance with demonstrate what you need to do to get an A* grade in sociology A-level.
NB – The later links below will only become operational later this week! (Everything by Weds!)
According to the AQA’s 2017 A-level grade boundaries you need an average of 60 raw marks out of a total of 80 get an A* in paper 1. This means you can ‘drop’ 20 marks and still get into the A* category.
However, let’s play it safe and say that the easiest way to ‘guarantee’ your A* is to max out the short answer (4-6) mark questions, and then sneak into the top mark bands for every other question. If you did that you’d end up with a total score of 67/80, made up of the marks as below
- Q01 – 4/4 marks
- Q02 – 6/6 marks
- Q03 – 8/10 marks
- Q04 – 25/30 marks
- Q05 – 17/20 marks
- Q06 – 8/10 marks
= Total marks of 68/70, which is still COMFORTABLY into the A* category!
The remainder of this post explains how to get full marks in the first two short answer ‘outline and explain’ (4 and 6 mark) questions and then examines the ‘top band’s of the mark schemes for the other 10 mark and essay questions, drawing on specific examples from a the AQA’s specimen papers and some model marked scripts from last year’s 2017 A-level sociology examination series.
For more details on how these exams are assessed, please see the AQA’s we site.
Strategies to get an A* in A Level sociology (focusing on paper 7192/3)
Questions 01 and 02: the four and six mark questions
- Outline two reasons for ethnic differences in rates of offending (4) which shows a marked 2/4 answer showing you one clear ‘1+1’ point and explanation, but it also contains the mark scheme, which shows you other points and explanations you could have included to get 4/4. STANDARD
- Outline three functions of crime deviance (6) – shows you two marked exemplars, one of which got 6/6!
Q03: Applying material from item A ‘Analyse Something’
This is my summary of the the AQA’s guidance on the two types of 10 mark question (the second type is question 06 below).
To summarise the key points from the top band of the mark scheme for this type of question, you need:
- Good knowledge and understanding of relevant material
- Two reasons/ ways/ effects (whatever the action word is)
- Two developed applications from the item
- analysis and/ or evaluation of these effects.
So far, so abstract: the question below is a full mark answer taken from the AQA’s 2017 A-level paper 7192/3.
- Analyse two ways in which deviant subcultures may respond to the difficulties of achieving mainstream goals (10)
Question 04: the big, 30 mark, pure education essay question
This question will ask you to evaluate something using an item.
To get into the top mark band, you basically need to demonstrate excellent knowledge and understanding, analysis and evaluation, AND use the item, and conclude!
Below is a link to a response taken from the AQA’s 2015 specimen material which achieved 25/30 – so just into the top band!
Q05: The Methods in Context Question
This question can ask you about any method, or any theory (perspective) or any combination of both! Below is an example of a full mark response to the 2017 paper:
- Applying material from Item C and your knowledge, evaluate the view that conflict approaches are more useful than consensus approaches to our understanding of society (20)
Q06: Outline and Explain Two…(10)
This final question will ask you to outline and explain two reasons, arguments, ways, criticisms etc…. there is no item, and unlike the other 10 mark question, there are no marks for evaluation!
Below are links to two marked exemplars, both of which achieved 10/10.
- Outline and explain two arguments against the view that sociology is a science (10)
- Outline and explain two advantages of choosing overt participant observation as a source of data compared with covert participant observation (10)
Remember that this exact question could appear on either paper 1, or paper 3!
Theory and Methods A Level Sociology Revision Bundle
If you like this sort of thing, then you might like my Theory and Methods Revision Bundle – specifically designed to get students through the theory and methods sections of A level sociology papers 1 and 3.
- 74 pages of revision notes
- 15 mind maps on various topics within theory and methods
- Five theory and methods essays
- ‘How to write methods in context essays’.
Crime and Deviance Revision Notes for Sale
If you like this sort of thing, then you might like my Crime and Deviance Revision Notes – 31 pages of revision notes covering the following topics:
- Consensus based theories part 1 – Functionalism; Social control’ theory; Strain theory
- Consensus based theories part 2 – Sub cultural theories
- The Traditional Marxist and Neo-Marxist perspective on crime
- Labeling Theory
- Left- Realist and Right-Realist Criminology (including situational, environmental and community crime prevention)
- Post-Modernism, Late-Modernism and Crime (Social change and crime)
- Sociological Perspectives on controlling crime – the role of the community and policing in preventing crime
- Sociological Perspectives on Surveillance
- Sociological Perspectives on Punishment
- Social Class and Crime
- Ethnicity and Crime
- Gender and crime (including Girl gangs and Rape and domestic violence)
- Victimology – Why are some people more likely to be criminals than others
- Global crime, State crime and Environmental crime (Green crime)
- The Media and Crime, including moral panics
- The AQA’s 2015 A level specimen paper and commentaries.
- A-level SOCIOLOGY: Feedback on the Examinations Student responses and commentaries: Paper 1 7192/1 Education with Theory and Methods. Published: Autumn 2017
- A-level SOCIOLOGY: Feedback on the Examinations Student responses and commentaries: Paper 1 7192/3: Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods. Published: Autumn 2017
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