Types of Questions

There are a variety of different questions that come up across your three A level exams. Knowing what's needed in each question will help you structure your answers.

4 & 6

Mark Questions

What are they?

 

These questions simply ask you to outline two (for four marks) or outline three (for six marks) things. These things are usually 'reasons' or 'factors'.

Where are they?

Paper 1: A four marker and a six marker as questions 1 & 2 both on education.

Paper 2: None of these!

Paper 3: A four marker and a six marker as questions 1 & 2 both on crime and deviance.

How do I answer them?

 

Quite simply you get one mark for a partially outlined factor/reason, and two marks for a clearly outlined factor/reason. 

These questions make up 1/8th of your total marks. All though that seems small, it could be the difference between you getting the grade you need or falling short!

10 Mark Questions

What are they?

 

These questions come in two variations: "Outline and explain two..." and "Using material from Item A, analyse two...". They require you to write two paragraphs, aim for about a page of A4 handwritten.

Where are they?

Paper 1: One "analyse" question on education and one "outline" question on theory & methods.

Paper 2: One of each for family and one of each for media (so four in total).

Paper 3: One "analyse" question on crime & deviance and one "outline" question on theory & methods.

How do I answer them?

All though the questions look similar, you have to answer them in completely different ways. "Outline" questions require strong and clearly described information, focusing on AO1. It may feel like you're stating the obvious with some parts of your answer, but you need to make it clear to the examiner that you know every aspect of what it is you've been asked to outline. Opinion is divided as to how little evaluation needs to be included in each paragraph. Some say none, however go with one or two (max) sentences to be safe if you have the time.

 

"Analyse" questions on the other hand require you to firstly use an item. Where ever possible you need to select two points from within the item and directly quote it. In terms of your writing, your AO1 needs to be condensed, unlike the lengthy descriptive AO1 in an "outline" question. This gives you more room for AO2 and AO3. Apply it to any examples or current events, before going on to the analysis and evaluation. This needs to be assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the focus of your paragraphs. The more specific the analysis and evaluation, the better. 

These questions make up 1/4 of your total marks, so they're definitely worth getting your head around!

20 Mark Questions

Methods in Context

What are they?

Methods in context questions ask you to combine your knowledge of a particular research methods and an educational topic.

Where are they?

There is only one of these questions and it's in Paper 1.

How do I answer them?

Aim for two sides of A4 handwritten. Include an introduction, conclusion and three main paragraphs on practical, ethical and theoretical aspects of the research. You should aim for a balance of both strengths and limitations of the research method and relate it as specifically as possible to what you are trying to investigate.

20 & 30 Mark Questions

What are they?

 

These questions are essay questions which require you to evaluate something. They always have an item, so you will have some basic AO1 to get you going.

Where are they?

Paper 1: One 30 mark question on education.

Paper 2: Two 20 mark questions, one on family and one on media.

Paper 3: One 30 mark question on crime & deviance and one 20 mark question on theory & methods.

How do I answer them?

You need to start with an engaging introduction, include your main body paragraphs, and end with a confident conclusion. These main body paragraphs need to start with some relevant AO1, possibly making reference to the item, followed by AO2 and AO3. Keep an eye on the blog posts for some more detailed advice on answers.

 

These questions make up half of your total marks, so they're essential to achieving the grade you want.