I finished my AS Government&Politics a few weeks ago, i found it relatively easy, and hopefully i will have a high A. However, i acknowledge the fact that A2 Politics are going to be slightly harder and i would have to put more effort to score above 90%. Furthermore, as it is essay based subject, you can never be sure what mark you will score as the examiners are just humans and different examiners might interpret the level of the answer differently. For this reason, i started to learn for the A2 Politics January 2013 examination NOW. I know that there are many factors, including my own ability and motivation. Let's assume that i am an able and highly motivated student, is it really neccessary to start learning now? How hard is it to get an A* in Government&Politics ?
You don't need to score 90% for an A*. It's more like 65-70% (plus 360 UMS I think - can't remember exactly).
If you are highly motivated and able, it's not a difficult subject at all. However, if you don't naturally enjoy politics( or philosophy for the ideologies unit), you might find it extremely boring and find it hard to motivate yourself. Also, some routes are much worse than others in this regard, for instance 4B is airy fairy rubbish, but 4C is solid American political science. It's considered semi-soft(that's what she said) by top unis also, something like English might be taken more seriously if you are pursuing a liberal arts degree.
I wouldn't start actively learning unit content now unless you really want to. I would do what I can to find out which route(s) you're doing nextyear (they don't have to be the same for both units) and if it's the American, British or Global one, I'd start absorbing the news and trying to find out what's happening internationally. If you can dot hat effectively and consistently until your exam, you will get an A* quite easily especially if you're already doing well.
I've just completed the AQA american politics course, with the final GOV4A exam that I sat this morning. There are a couple of people in my year aiming for A*s with the rest of us aiming for As.
According to our teacher (whose also an examiner...), it is frustratingly difficult to acheive an A* in politics, particularly on the American course, mainly because the examiners are often quite closed about the sort of things that they are looking for (it took my teacher weeks of perstering for them to finally send through some idea on how to achieve the higher marks). But the best advice they gave us, was to continue looking through the mark schemes of previous years to gain some idea on how to attain the higher marks, practise writing different essays, also incorporate some synoptic content into your essays i.e. comparisions with the UK system, annd generally use a wide variety of examples (they don't have to be vastly up to date, just relevant).
I hope this is useful. I'll also add that the previous year 13 class to us achieved no A*s in politics at all, despite hosting some of the most intelligent girls in their year.