AQA A-level sociology exam techniqueWatch
Like how many points do you do for each, do you have a paragraph structure etc.
My teacher hasn't taught us any of this so I'm kinda worried so any help would be greatly appreciated!!
These are the type of longer questions that AQA have said will come up on the exams:
Outline and explain two ...
Applying material from item A and analyse two ...
Applying material from item (c) and your knowledge of research methods, evaluate the strengths and limitations of using (method) to investigate (issue in education) ...
Applying material from item (a) and your knowledge, evaluate ...
Applying material from item B, use your knowledge and evaluate
Personally, with the 20 and 30-mark essays the number of paragraphs I use depends on the specific title of the question. I always find however that I write quite long paragraphs because it is so so important to evaluate as you go along. For these questions I'd recommend aiming to cover 2 sides of A4 for a 20-marker and 3 for a 30-marker as a minimum, and probably a good half-page more than that. It depends on how concisely you can write though, but remember you'll only have about half an hour for each 20-mark essay and 40 minutes for a 30-mark one. With these essays it is vital to have an introduction and a conclusion. The introduction decodes the question by defining any terms that could be confusing and showing that you have read the question properly. For example, say you get an essay asking you to "Evaluate the impact of government policies on the educational attainment of different social groups in the last 30 years or so." The two things they will be expecting students to get caught out on are the time period, and the phrase "social groups" which many candidates will wrongly interpret as social class, or economic class. So in your introduction you would say that "social groups" refered to ethnic groups, gender and social class, and you would acknowledge the time period somehow as well, maybe by naming a specific year or a specific notable policy which fell near the start of the specified period. This would show you had read the question properly. In the conclusion, you sum up what you have looked at and write a statement based on what you found as you evaluated the main body of your essay. To use the same hypothetical essay as an example, you might say in your conclusion that "In conclusion, the majority of policies in the last 30 years have aimed to promote marketisation, which while it has aimed to raise the quality of education of all pupils has in practice resulted in increased selectivity in schools. This has lead to white middle-class pupils (especially girls) attaining increasingly higher results than working-class pupils and ethnic minorities, despite the efforts of compensatory education policies introduced by New Labour that attempt to redress the balance." Of course you might totally disagree with what I just wrote there, but the point is that the conclusion is drawn logically from the content of your essay and it links back to the question.
All 20 and 30-mark essays require you to evaluate something. This means that it is vital you give equal consideration to different viewpoints, even if the question implies one is more important. For example suppose your essay is "Evaluate the view that conjugal roles are shared equally between couples and a symmetrical family is commonplace in contemporary society" (I made that one up so apologies if the wording sounds iffy). You would want to first write your evidence that couples are largely equal today in things like childcare, household tasks, paid work and control of money. (However, you are still evaluating and challenging this evidence as you go, for example if you cite a study that seems to show both husbands and wives spend equal time on childcare you could also criticise that study for being unrepresentative). But then you want to spend the second half of your essay presenting and evaluating the other side - the evidence that conjugal roles are not shared equally. In the conclusion you would say which side seemed more well-evidenced and compelling, so whether the statement in the essay title seems to be true or not.
Similarly, for methods in context questions you would want to spend equal time discussing the strengths and the limitations of the method.