This post draws on marked examples from the AQA exam board’s A-level sociology papers 7192/32: Topics in Sociology to demonstrate what you need to do to get an A* grade in sociology A-level.
NB – this post only refers to section A: the families and households option, your option in section A might be different, and you will need to repeat this level of performance in section B in order to A* this paper!
According to the AQA’s 2017 A-level grade boundaries you need an average of about 60 raw marks out of a total of 80 get an A* in paper 2. 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 just sneak into the top mark bands for each of the questions. If you did this in section A, you would get:
- Q04 – 8/10
- Q05 – 8/10
- Q06 – 17/20
= Total marks of 66/80, if you repeat this performance for the same question styles in section B, COMFORTABLY into the A* category!
The remainder of this post explains how to get top band marks in each of the 3 style of questions on paper 3, 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 7192/2, families and households option)
Question 04: the 10 mark, no item, question: outline two ways/ reasons/ criticisms, no item
The example below, from the 2017 paper 2 achieved 8/10.
- Outline and explain two ways in which changing gender roles within the family may have affected children’s experience of childhood (10)
Q05: 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 7192/2.
- Applying material from Item C, analyse two ways in which migration patterns have affected household structures in the United Kingdom (10)
Question 06: the 20 mark ‘evaluate’ something using the item 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 2016 specimen material which achieved 17/20 – so just into the top band!
- Evaluate the view that the growth of family diversity has led to a decline in the nuclear family (20)
- The AQA’s 2016 A level specimen paper and commentaries.
- 2017: A-level SOCIOLOGY: Feedback on the Examinations Student responses and commentaries: Paper 2 7192/2