Take some deep breaths.
Here are a list of the most common concerns from students, and some advice, suggestions & words of reassurance.
"There's way too many names to remember!"
This is the most common worry for A Level Sociology students and it’s not hard to see why. You are asked to study a huge number of theorists. In your two years of study you are asked to learn more theorists than most three year university Sociology degrees! Firstly remember that everyone (besides those with a super photographic memory) is in the same boat. Secondly, there will never be a question that says ‘list 20 theorists’. The point of using theorists is to add weight to your writing.
Focus on their work, not just their name. There is no point knowing 100 theorists if you don’t know what they studied or said. Once you have an understanding of this, you’ll be more likely to remember them. This is the same for key terms!
"So what do I do?"
Discover: Find out what the meaning is behind the theorists and terms.
Prioritise: Focus on the theorists and terms you think are most important. Maybe have a couple of 'essentials' for each topic.
Rehearse: This is just a simple fact for the human brain. The more you revisit or use something, the more likely you'll remember it in the future.
For more help on revision, click here.
“2 hours is not enough time for me to answer all the questions!”
Unfortunately, there is only one real solution to this. And it’s probably not one you’re going to like.
Practice makes perfect.
One of the reasons you may be struggling is because many students rarely get a feel of the speed they need to be writing at. If you’re not entitled to extra time it’s 3 minutes for every two marks:
10 mark question = 15 minutes
20 mark question = 30 minutes
30 mark question = 40 minutes
Start timing yourself and get a feel for how long it those time periods are.
Also, analyse your work (or ask your teacher). It may be that you’re spending too much time on areas where you do not need to. For example, you may be spending too much time writing AO1, and you need to move on to AO2 and AO3.
"I just don't get some of theory & methods!"
Theory and methods is the most difficult unit. It’s hard. Really hard. So firstly, rather than being annoyed about the parts you don’t understand, commend yourself on the parts that you do! Secondly remember that most other students are finding it equally as difficult.
Try to focus on one topic at a time, and tackle it in a variety of ways. Have a look at the break down of the unit here. Read your textbook. Go over your notes. Talk to your teacher. Talk to your friends. The more ways it’s explained to you, the more chances that you’ll find an explanation that makes it click.
Check out the blog where there's more advice!
Got a sociological question or concern? You're probably not the only one, so get in touch and it may be added to the page!
All getting a bit much? A levels can be a very stressful time and sometimes you might need support. Speak to someone about how you're feeling. It could be a friend, family member, teacher or even your GP.