Help with writing Psychology Essays? (AQA A2) Watch

az1992
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Okay, so i get praise on my History essays and have been able to use this to some degree of success in Law. However, nearly every Psychology Essay that I have sent to my teacher comes back with relatively low grades. Now i know my stuff for most of the topics and even if I didn't, i use a text book to make sure the content is perfect.

I am aware of AO1/2/3 but please, if anyone has any specific advise on the application of AO2/3 and how to structure a grade A psychology essay, i would be very grateful.

Please only reply if you are doing A2 AQA psychology starting 2009 to 2010 as Im aware the course has changed since last year.
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moomin_love
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If you want I can send you an example of an essay I wrote of AQA A2 psychology that my teacher graded as an A*? I don't know how to explain it... but she says to use loads of connectives like "however" and stuff to show the examiner that you are showing both sides of the argument.
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Lenguini
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(Original post by az1992)
Okay, so i get praise on my History essays and have been able to use this to some degree of success in Law. However, nearly every Psychology Essay that I have sent to my teacher comes back with relatively low grades. Now i know my stuff for most of the topics and even if I didn't, i use a text book to make sure the content is perfect.

I am aware of AO1/2/3 but please, if anyone has any specific advise on the application of AO2/3 and how to structure a grade A psychology essay, i would be very grateful.

Please only reply if you are doing A2 AQA psychology starting 2009 to 2010 as Im aware the course has changed since last year.
Unfortunately I worked on the old syllabus but if you could post an example essay I might be able to point out where you're going astray? The course might have changed but when I was looking through my friends work in the year below it didn't look that different to what I did, just the structure seemed to have changed.

A few things off the top of my head though would be how appropriate your criticisms and evaluations are and do you expand them. You can say "it has no ecological validity" but unless you explain why you probably won't get such a good mark.
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zohaib01
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(Original post by az1992)
Okay, so i get praise on my History essays and have been able to use this to some degree of success in Law. However, nearly every Psychology Essay that I have sent to my teacher comes back with relatively low grades. Now i know my stuff for most of the topics and even if I didn't, i use a text book to make sure the content is perfect.

I am aware of AO1/2/3 but please, if anyone has any specific advise on the application of AO2/3 and how to structure a grade A psychology essay, i would be very grateful.

Please only reply if you are doing A2 AQA psychology starting 2009 to 2010 as Im aware the course has changed since last year.
Hey im also doing this course once you get the hang of it it is quite simple to apply just remember:

AO1: Outline and explain - here explain the theory e.g. The Restoration theory of sleep

AO2: Evaluate the theory - here say what supports it and what goes against it e.g. Dolphins mircosleep which proves that sleep is needed for restoration however a study shows that a 17 year old boy who stayed awake for 11 days suffered no ill effects from sleep deprivation

AO3: Synoptic Links - here link your theory to other valid research and topics including research methods and the synoptic toolkit e.g. this study dosnt take into account individual differences and is nomothetic (can also uses free will, determinsim, etc) This theory can be used to explain increased sleep in babies as they are learning to work thier memory and need the extra time asleep.
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GodspeedGehenna
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(Original post by zohaib01)
AO2: Evaluate the theory - here say what supports it and what goes against it e.g. Dolphins mircosleep which proves that sleep is needed for restoration
I thought dolphins slept unilaterally.
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Lanx
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(Original post by az1992)
Okay, so i get praise on my History essays and have been able to use this to some degree of success in Law. However, nearly every Psychology Essay that I have sent to my teacher comes back with relatively low grades. Now i know my stuff for most of the topics and even if I didn't, i use a text book to make sure the content is perfect.

I am aware of AO1/2/3 but please, if anyone has any specific advise on the application of AO2/3 and how to structure a grade A psychology essay, i would be very grateful.

Please only reply if you are doing A2 AQA psychology starting 2009 to 2010 as Im aware the course has changed since last year.
The main thing is, don't waste time describing stuff like theories and research. Description accounts for less than a third of the marks. If you word the descrptions right you can turn them into evaluations anyways. For example start a paragraph with 'In order to further analyse [whatever you wrote about in the last paragraph, usually a theory], we should further examine [a contrasting theory/piece of evidence etc.]'. Then describe the second theory and always remember to link everything to each other and back to the question. With research, don't describe the procedures unless its relevant or you are evaluating it and always describe the implications and impact of the findings.

Basically, always ask yourself WHY? If you cannot justify why you are writing something, or what its relevance is then don't write it. And always contextulise everything, as Lenguini said, generic criticisms will be worse than useless as you will lose the marks for specificity. The difference between an A and a C is generally that an A-grade essay will be 2/3 of the length of the C-grade essay because the top-band marks are for conciseness and selectivity.
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moomin_love
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(Original post by Lanx)
The difference between an A and a C is generally that an A-grade essay will be 2/3 of the length of the C-grade essay because the top-band marks are for conciseness and selectivity.
The length has nothing to do with it... My last essay in my mock exam was 6 pages (typed) and I got full marks for it. It was the longest essay in the class as well, so you can be concise without shortening the essay length. It's how much you can write about and how much knowledge and analysis you can prove you know to the examiner... the length really doesn't matter. It can be as long or as short as you want, as long as you think you've covered everything you need/know.
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zohaib01
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(Original post by GodspeedGehenna)
I thought dolphins slept unilaterally.
yes i stand corrected they sleep one hemisphere at a time thanks for that!
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Lanx
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(Original post by moomin_love)
The length has nothing to do with it... My last essay in my mock exam was 6 pages (typed) and I got full marks for it. It was the longest essay in the class as well, so you can be concise without shortening the essay length. It's how much you can write about and how much knowledge and analysis you can prove you know to the examiner... the length really doesn't matter. It can be as long or as short as you want, as long as you think you've covered everything you need/know.
I assume that wasn't under exam conditions then?

Technically, of course you are right, there is no actual word limit/guideline etc. However, in an exam,those who can master their thoughts into the form with the most content in the least writing are more likely to score better, as much because they will be more likely not to run out of time or to go off on tangents that are irrelevant. Its a confidence thing mainly, if you know exactly what you are doing then you shouldn't need more than 5 paragraphs of 75-100 words each. Thats how I got 22/25 anyways and it was only because I forgot the examination of methodology that I didn't get higher.
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Antifazian
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I always try to think Point, Evidence & Evaluate, kinda like you how you would write english essays.

As somebody else said, don't waste time writing out long, detailed accounts of what a certain experimentor actually did, the main thing you need is their aim and their results, and then spend most of your time evaluating the evidence in relation to your essay title.

You will also get marks for talking briefly about the value of the evidence you use to back up your points, for example stating wether or not it's strong evidence, how relevant it is, if the methodology is effective or flawed, could there be other explanations for the results etc. but like I said, keep it brief as that won't be actually answering the question directly, but it will get you your A02 and show that you're actually questioning things rather than just accepting everything.
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Rosyred809
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the new aqa syllabus only has ao1 and ao2
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Blink.
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Clear and concise writing style, Point-Evidence-Conclusion for evaluations, AO2 Commentary, Synopticity and Issue & Debates (Social sensitivity, Ethics, Nature Vs Nurture etc) make for a sexual essay :yes:
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Orihime
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(Original post by Blink.)
Clear and concise writing style, Point-Evidence-Conclusion for evaluations, AO2 Commentary, Synopticity and Issue & Debates (Social sensitivity, Ethics, Nature Vs Nurture etc) make for a sexual essay :yes:

:sexface: ....
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taperjeangirl!
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My teacher keeps saying they want more focus on evaluation this time, like 60% evaluation and 40% knowledge or something.. if that helps

Does anybody know what the grade boundaries are?
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zanzapan
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The best tip I have is in your essay have 1/3 AO1 and then 2/3s AO2 AO3 and evaluation. include methodology, backup studies and things like reductionism, determinism, nature nurture debate, etc
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Aleexx04
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A01 = 9 marks. So spend 9 minutes describing whatever you're writing about.

A02 = 12 marks. So you need a lot of this.. like research and support and use words like HOWEVER and SUPPORT IS SHOWN BY.. Do you have the useful A02 phrases sheet? Because our teacher gave us that and it's really helpful!

A03 = 4 marks. So that doesn't need as much but it's just some evaluation of the study you've described. So like methodological and ethical issues.

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zanzapan
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(Original post by Aleexx04)
A01 = 9 marks. So spend 9 minutes describing whatever you're writing about.

A02 = 12 marks. So you need a lot of this.. like research and support and use words like HOWEVER and SUPPORT IS SHOWN BY.. Do you have the useful A02 phrases sheet? Because our teacher gave us that and it's really helpful!

A03 = 4 marks. So that doesn't need as much but it's just some evaluation of the study you've described. So like methodological and ethical issues.


That useful phrases sheet sounds good? maybe you could post some of the phrases on here? that would be fab and I would be very thankful!
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Antifazian
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(Original post by Aleexx04)
A01 = 9 marks. So spend 9 minutes describing whatever you're writing about.

A02 = 12 marks. So you need a lot of this.. like research and support and use words like HOWEVER and SUPPORT IS SHOWN BY.. Do you have the useful A02 phrases sheet? Because our teacher gave us that and it's really helpful!

A03 = 4 marks. So that doesn't need as much but it's just some evaluation of the study you've described. So like methodological and ethical issues.

Do you know if the A02 useful phrases sheet is available online at all?
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Aleexx04
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(Original post by zanzapan)
That useful phrases sheet sounds good? maybe you could post some of the phrases on here? that would be fab and I would be very thankful!

Umm I think our teacher got it online somewhere not sure.

But the ones on the sheet are...

However
Therefore
Support is shown by
The study of
On the other hand
In contrast
One advantage of this view is
A useful application of this
Not everyone reacts in the same way
There may be cultural variations

Stick those in throught the essay and the examiner will love you
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zanzapan
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Thank you!
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