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How hard is sociology at A-level?

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Why bother with a post grad course - waste of time? 17-10-2016
    • Thread Starter

    I know it's subjective but do you think I'll be okay? I did my A-S levels which didn't go very well. I was fine with geography and psychology but english lit and history were a nightmare. So I'm going to go back in September.

    I've always been good at English, I can write good essays but I can't seem to do it on the spot. I always have to have everything really prepared and practically memorised and know what kind of questions will pop up.

    I also have a really good memory, so I can remember millions of case studies and theories. That's why I was fine with psychology, there's only so many questions they can ask you because it's all what you know from the textbook, they're not interested in your opinion.

    Is sociology on the same level as psychology?

    I don't do psychology so I can't help there, but I've just finished my A2 exams for sociology.

    I don't think it's particularly hard, but it is VERY content heavy. It's quite straight forward & commen sense but there is a lot to learn.

    I think it's hugely beneficial that you're good at English, as the exams are pretty much entirely essay based. As for not being able to do it on the spot - I would recommend making essay plans that are quite broad for each topic, this way you have a plan that can be adapted to answer ambiguous exam questions.

    Sociology is very much about criticisms and evaluation - this is what I struggled with the most because it isn't really in the textbook, but it gives you the most marks (esp. At A2 level)

    Overall, I found sociology very interesting, but I hated the method of teaching (literally just memorising page and page in a textbook) and the style of exams. I felt as though I couldn't write as good essays as I'm able to because you have to learn essays for so many topics. (this is all in reference to AQA but I'm assuming the majority of exam boards are the same)

    To me personally, it was the subject I struggled with most and was the most stressful subject despite being the subject which I needed to get the lowest grade in.

    I hope this helps!

    I found A2 sociology the easiest out of my other subjets: maths and econ
    as you only need to learn the content (not necessary to understand it), and even the 'analysis and evaluation' can be memorised
    also they have really low grade boundaries so its pretty easy to get an A
    but it does take up a lot of time throughout the year as there's so much content needing to be learnt, but its definitely manageable.

    I'd say that sociology is somewhat easier than psych, as in the exams, if you suddenly blank on what to write, you can just make stuff up using your own commonsense knowledge and what you already know from having lived in society for 18 years

    That all depends on what exam board it is. OCR is very different to AQA. Etc. I did OCR.

    When it came to AS, you could say it was fairly easy as it was just really learning the basics. There wasn't a lot of depth to theories and the topics (age, gender etc.). But as I said, it really just the basics that are fairly easy to learn since they are mostly not in a lot of detail.

    A2 on the other hand is such a big jump from AS. It involves so much more information that has a lot of depth to it. You could say you're expanding what you learn in A2 but that's rarely ever the case due to the topics. Most of the AS stuff you do include is some sinoptic links here and there, and things like key words. Of course all the theories remain but you learn their views on completly different things. I did crime and deviance for unit 3 (G673) so I cannot say much about about any of the other topics. As usual, the unit splits into age, gender, ethnicity & class but it's split between theories (Marxism, functionalism etc) but this year you learn some new theories as well (interactionist, realism) and you basically have their views about each topic, so for me it was their views on crime and deviance in society based on age, class, gender or ethnicity, but not every topic will link with every theory.

    I would only recommend such a level if you are 100% sure that you are fine with remembering a lot of names, theories, etc as there's A LOT to learn. You do also have to remember that a level sociology is now going to be different so you'll have different sort of marks available for the questions and more questions (I believe) but you'll still be learning the most of the same topics as the old AS/A2 spec (there are different options that your college picks what topic you'll do in the eg second year so it's good to ask them about it)
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