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Assessment Objectives

Assessment objectives are the areas that AQA will be marking you on. These are AO1, AO2 & AO3.  Here is a brief overview of what each one means.


Knowledge & understanding

This is where you show what you know. This could be your knowledge of anything from research methods to specific theorists. E.g. Writing about three explanations for increasing divorce rates.

Some students use too much AO1 in their essays, and this leads to them being unable to access the higher marks. When you’re writing your essays, AO1 can be a building block at the start of your paragraphs to allow your to bring in AO2 and AO3.

This application is often the most tricky to understand, and results have shown that it's the assessment objective that students lose most marks on! AO2 can be achieved by selecting the right knowledge to address the question E.g. Selecting two appropriate points for an outline and explain 10 mark question.


AO2 is also applying wider knowledge to what you are writing about. E.g. Applying your description of the feminist perspective on patriarchy in the media to the recent #MeToo movement.


Applying your knowledge


Analysis & evaluation

This is the most difficult assessment objective to master. You need to be able to present arguments, make judgements and draw conclusions. This is where you need to assess the strengths and weaknesses of theories and concepts.


E.g. However Wilkinson’s explanation of domestic violence fails to explain why statistics show that men are far more likely to be the perpetrators.

If you want to go and look at what AQA say about their assessment objectives, click here:


It’s also useful for telling you how many marks are given for each assessment objective in each paper.


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