The Student Room Group

Comparison between old a-level exams and current a-level exams [trivial]

as you know in 2015, the DofE changed the specification for all a-levels and were reformed in 2017. I think back then you were able to take exams in January, but now everyone has to do it in the Summer.

Can anyone who use to do the old a-levels (pre-2017) please tell me what it was like for you when you did your a-levels and if you think it was easier back then that it was now. I've finished my a-levels in 2022 and I took psychology aqa, sociology ocr, and art ocr.

I know back then, psychology was much different as you could choose which spec you wanted to do, either Psychology A or Psychology B, but now all topics are compulsory and I think they merged some of them together into 3 papers instead of 4-5 papers. For sociology, we now also have 3 papers, which are about social inequalities, socialisation and debates in contemporary society. I know back in the day, they still use to do socialisation and some of the topics in debates, such as crime + deviance/ education. But I think back in the day there were only 2 sociology a level papers, and much less content.

Please can an alumni tell me what it was like for you, if you took my subjects or not, I'd like to know what it was like. I did manage to find some REALLY old past papers from waybackmachine which I'll post. I wonder if the 2015 reforms were the only major changes to the current a-levels which we know about, only because I saw that they also made changes in 2012 to the psychology aqa papers

https://web.archive.org/web/20130801195559/http://www.aqa.org.uk/exams-administration/exams-guidance/find-past-papers-and-mark-schemes
https://web.archive.org/web/20161022192506/http://www.ocr.org.uk:80/qualifications/as-a-level-gce-sociology-h181-h581#
(edited 1 year ago)
There have been lots of changes to A levels over the years - they used to be assessed wholly by exams at the end as they are now, then they went modular (around 2001) with half the course being examined in Year 12 and half in Year 13 - and (until 2013) there were January exams for some units - so you could (potentially) sit Paper 1 4 times, with your best attempt counting, before you finally claimed an overall grade.

In 2008 (first exams in 2010), at the same time as they introduced the A* grade, they moved from having 6 papers to 4 for subjects other than Maths, the Sciences and Music.

The school picked the spec, just as they pick the exam board so you didn't get to choose which one you did really - and while there aren't options within an exam board for Psychology any more, there are still for some other subjects.

The number of people achieving the top grades has increased over time, even though a higher percentage of 18 years take A levels than used to.

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