Exams, Essays and Short Answer Questions

This page provides the following information:

  • An overview of the three exam papers for AQA A-level sociology (paper 1: education with theory, paper 2: topics, and paper 3: crime with theory)
  • Links to posts offering specific advice on how to answer each of these papers, including the 2017 and 2018 sociology exams.
  • Links to dozens of exemplar answers for the five different types of question you’ll find across the three sociology papers.

An Overview of the Three Sociology Exam Papers

There are three exam papers for AQA A-level sociology.  All papers are two hours long, all papers have a total of 6 questions (the format of some of these repeat across papers), and all papers are marked out of a total of 80.

  • Paper 1: Education with Theory and Methods – the education section has one 4 and one 6 mark ‘outline and explain question’, a 10 mark ‘item’ question and a 30 mark essay question. Then there is a 20 mark applying methods to education essay question, and a 10 mark (no item) theory or methods question.
  • Paper 2: Topics in Sociology (the main options are families and beliefs). You answer one section from part A and one from part B, so two sections in total. All sections have three questions: one 10 mark (with item) question, one 10 mark (no item) question and one 20 mark essay question.
  • Paper 3: Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods -the crime section has one 4 and one 6 mark ‘outline and explain question’, a 10 mark ‘item’ question and a 30 mark essay question. Then there is a and a 10 mark (no item) theory and/ or methods question, and finally a 20 mark theory and/ or methods essay question.

For more advice on each paper and examples of specific questions and answer, please scroll down! 

A Level Sociology Paper 1: Education with Theory and Methods

This section provides links to specific questions and model answers which either have, or could appear on this paper. Please scroll down for papers 2 and 3!

General advice for answering questions on paper 1

10 mark ‘applying material from the item analyse questions’

20 mark Methods in context questions 

30 mark education essay questions 

10 mark theory and/ or methods outline and explain (no item) 10 mark questions

Remember that this type of question also appears at the end of paper 3!

A Level Sociology Paper 2: Topics 

General advice on all questions 

Families and Households

Examples of possible 10 mark questions for AQA A-Level sociology: families and households topic

10 mark ‘outline and explain’ (no item) questions 

10 mark ‘applying material from the item analyse questions’

20 mark essay questions 

Beliefs in Society (aka Religion)

Outline and explain two ways in which religion might promote social change

Outline and explain two ways in which religious organisations have changed in response to globalisation

Outline and explain two reasons why some groups are more likely to join World Rejecting New Religious Movements than others (10)

Outline and explain two arguments against the view that sociology is a science (10)

Applying material from the item, analyse two reasons why younger people are generally less religious than older people

Applying material from the item, analyse two criticisms of the view that religion is merely a tool of oppression

Applying material from the item, analyse two reasons for gender differences in the membership of religious organisations.

Evaluate the view that extent of secularisation has been exaggerated (20)

Evaluate the view that religion no longer acts as a ‘shared universe of meaning’ for people today

Evaluate the view that religious beliefs and organisations are barriers to social change (20)

Media

Outline and explain two ways in which the new media may be creating a global popular culture. [10 marks]

Analyse two reasons why the media portray minority ethnic groups negatively. [10 marks]

Evaluate the pluralist view of the ownership and control of the media.

Evaluate the view that the media have a direct and immediate effect on their audiences [20 marks]

Applying material from Item B and your knowledge, evaluate the view that the media portray women in a stereotypical way [20 marks]

Global Development

Outline and explain two criticisms other theories of development might make of dependency theory (10)

Outline and explain two reasons why trade does not always promote development (10)

A Level Sociology Paper 3: Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods

General advice on answering all questions

4 and 6 mark ‘outline and explain questions’

10 mark ‘applying material from the item analyse questions’

30 mark crime and deviance essays 

AS level sociology resources 

There are two 90 minute papers at the end of the AS year, and three two hour papers at the end of the A Level Year. Remember that if you do the AS qualification, your grades don’t count towards the A level, you are reassessed in a slightly different format on all of the first year material, along with all of the second year material as part of the A level exams at the end of the two years of study. 

You might find my cheesy exam guide for the AS sociology exam useful….

Related Posts

Exam Papers for AS and A Level Sociologythis link just takes you to the AQA web site’s assessment page – you should definitely check out the exam papers, and practice them!

Assessment Objectives in AS and A Level Sociology – It’s useful to know how the marks are distributed in the exam – there are complex question by question breakdowns on the specification, but to simplify it – Knowledge and Understanding (of concepts, theories, research) is worth about 50% of the marks in the exam, the other 50% are for Application, Analysis and Evaluation. 

Revision Resources for Sale…. 

Mega Bundle Cover

I’ve bundled all of the above topics into six revision bundles, containing revision notes, mind maps, and exam question and answers, available for between £4.99 and £5.99 on Sellfy.

Best value is my A level sociology revision mega bundle – which contains the following:

  1. over 200 pages of revision notes
  2. 60 mind maps in pdf and png formats
  3. 50 short answer exam practice questions and exemplar answers
  4. Covers the entire A-level sociology syllabus, AQA focus.

Sociology Teaching Resources for Sale

You might also be interested in my latest (November 2019) teaching resource pack which contains everything teachers need to deliver 10 hour long ‘introduction to sociology’ lessons.

sociology teaching resources

Included in the bundle is a clearly structured 50 page gapped student work-pack, six PowerPoints* to structure the 10 lessons, 10 detailed lesson plans outlining a range of learning activities you can use with students, a massive list of relevant contemporary resources with links, and numerous lesson activities including introductions, plenaries and links to some Socrative quizzes.

These resources contain all the core sociology knowledge students need for a through introduction sociology, illustrated with numerous up to date contemporary case studies and statistics.

The resources have been designed for A-level sociology and cover the core themes on the AQA’s specification but are suitable for new 16-19 students studying any specification.

LINKS

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