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How to get an A* in Politics?

I'm currently in Year 12 studying politics, philosophy and psychology and I want to get an A* in politics (Edexcel B) but I'm struggling. I've been consistently getting As from pretty much the start of the year and my end of year mocks are going to be in May and these are used to determine our UCAS grades heavily at my school. I'm really struggling to push myself past the A grade boundaries on both my essays and source questions (haven't done ideologies questions yet) and while my teachers say I've nailed the structure and the content, my line of argument can sometimes be a bit inconsistent and my analysis is sometimes weak. The grade boundaries we use are from 2023 so an A* is 23/30 and currently I achieve anywhere between 20-21/30 in my essays. Because the grade boundaries are so small I'm really trying to push myself into the A* band in time for my mocks, so if there are any Y13 or Y12 politics students who achieve A*s in their essays I'd really appreciate any advice you have!

(Again this isn't about knowledge or structure mainly just analysis, coherence and what moves people from an A to an A*).
Original post by bibachu
I'm currently in Year 12 studying politics, philosophy and psychology and I want to get an A* in politics (Edexcel B) but I'm struggling. I've been consistently getting As from pretty much the start of the year and my end of year mocks are going to be in May and these are used to determine our UCAS grades heavily at my school. I'm really struggling to push myself past the A grade boundaries on both my essays and source questions (haven't done ideologies questions yet) and while my teachers say I've nailed the structure and the content, my line of argument can sometimes be a bit inconsistent and my analysis is sometimes weak. The grade boundaries we use are from 2023 so an A* is 23/30 and currently I achieve anywhere between 20-21/30 in my essays. Because the grade boundaries are so small I'm really trying to push myself into the A* band in time for my mocks, so if there are any Y13 or Y12 politics students who achieve A*s in their essays I'd really appreciate any advice you have!
(Again this isn't about knowledge or structure mainly just analysis, coherence and what moves people from an A to an A*).
currently in y13 doing politics aqa, my teachers literally have beaten the need for lots of relevant examples in sources/essays/9 markers to get A*s
Reply 2
Original post by erin11
currently in y13 doing politics aqa, my teachers literally have beaten the need for lots of relevant examples in sources/essays/9 markers to get A*s
I know we do different exam boards but do you do analysis as part of your AO2? If so, what’s your advice regarding that, since my examples are quite good already, I’m mainly just struggling with how to approach analysis.
Original post by bibachu
I know we do different exam boards but do you do analysis as part of your AO2? If so, what’s your advice regarding that, since my examples are quite good already, I’m mainly just struggling with how to approach analysis.
yes, we do analysis for AO2 - e.g., with sources pull out as many arguments as you can and talk about them with synoptic links to other parts of UK and even USA (if appropriate) and for essays try and make synoptic links too
Reply 4
Original post by bibachu
I'm currently in Year 12 studying politics, philosophy and psychology and I want to get an A* in politics (Edexcel B) but I'm struggling. I've been consistently getting As from pretty much the start of the year and my end of year mocks are going to be in May and these are used to determine our UCAS grades heavily at my school. I'm really struggling to push myself past the A grade boundaries on both my essays and source questions (haven't done ideologies questions yet) and while my teachers say I've nailed the structure and the content, my line of argument can sometimes be a bit inconsistent and my analysis is sometimes weak. The grade boundaries we use are from 2023 so an A* is 23/30 and currently I achieve anywhere between 20-21/30 in my essays. Because the grade boundaries are so small I'm really trying to push myself into the A* band in time for my mocks, so if there are any Y13 or Y12 politics students who achieve A*s in their essays I'd really appreciate any advice you have!
(Again this isn't about knowledge or structure mainly just analysis, coherence and what moves people from an A to an A*).
Hey, fellow year 12 politics edexcel student except i am struggling!!! please could you share any revision tips and resources such ass any essay plans you have etc i'd love to read them, i am currently on a B an need to improve!!! my e4ma1l is manaalshahid094t0utl00kd0tc0m
Reply 5
Ofc no problem!!

This is quite long but basically, I structure my essay and source questions using 5 paragraphs.

P1: Introduction stating my position and what points I will be making to support my argument
P2: First point mentioned in my introduction using the PEACE paragraph structure
P3: Second point mentioned in my introduction using the PEACE paragraph structure
P4: Third point mentioned in my introduction using the PEACE paragraph structure
P5: Conclusion summarising the points I have made and restating why I hold my position

The PEACE structure is a paragraph structure similar to PEEL but it stands for:

Point
Evidence
Analysis
Counterpoint
Evaluation

This strengthens your argument by giving a counterpoint that you can argue against using your own point. The evaluation is usually just a sentence to justify why the counterpoint is a weak (or valid) criticism and prove that your argument is stronger. With source questions, because there are points already made for you in the source, your evidence has to be relevant to the source.

These are some example essay and source questions that I’ve done and I’ve gotten an A in:

Evaluate the view that the media plays a limited role in determining electoral outcomes (30):

Introduction: The role of the media is not limited, it is significant and I will prove it by evaluating its role in (x), (y) and (z)
P1: 1979 election - Conservative media tactics (point, evidence and analysis) + the winter of discontent (counterpoint and evaluation)
P2: 2017 election - Theresa May’s US inspired “Personality Politics” (point, evidence and analysis) + the portrayal of Jeremy Corbyn in the media’s effect on the outcome (counterpoint and evaluation)
P3: 2019 election - Boris Johnson’s campaign using the media (point, evidence and analysis) + the effect Brexit had on the outcome (counterpoint and evaluation)
Conclusion: Summary of the points made and why despite (x), (y) and (z)’s counterpoints, the evidence given shows that the media’s role in determining election outcomes is far from limited

On this essay I received 21/30 which according to the 2023 grade boundaries would put me at an A. Depending on your school, your grade boundaries may change. The grade boundaries we use have 20/30 as the boundary for an A and 23/30 as the boundary for an A*.

This is an example of a source question I did and I didn’t get an exact mark on it because it wasn’t an official exam, but my teacher from another subject who also teaches politics said that he would have given me 19/20 on it (he’s a harsh marker though so bear that in mind).

Using the source, evaluate the view that the principal role of backbench MPs is now to hold the government to account (30):

Introduction: The principal role of backbench MPs is not to hold the government to account because it has not changed in recent years and representation still remains their most important function. This is due to (x), (y) and (z), which will support my argument and disprove the claim.
P1: Quote from the source about Theresa May's defeat on her Brexit deal (counterpoint) + quote from the source about Brexit being a one-off (point, evidence, analysis and evaluation)
P2: Quote from the source about MPs continuing to do constituency work (point, evidence and analysis) + quote from the source about MPs claiming to represent their constituents (counterpoint and evaluation)
P3: Quote from the source about MPs exerting their influence (counterpoint) + quote from the source about things MPs do to act on behalf of their constituents (point, evidence, analysis and evaluation)
Conclusion: Summary of the counterpoints made in the source and a further evaluations of why they are wrong and the points made in the source are correct using the supporting evidence from own knowledge

The best advice I can give you in terms of how to move from a B to an A is to expand your knowledge. I recently read a B grade student's essays with my teacher since she was struggling to move up to an A, and the biggest issue I found was that a lot of the knowledge given was recycled into different points or incredibly outdated. You must be keeping up with current affairs and have a good knowledge of current key political figures in the major parties, not just Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer, but members of the cabinet and what they're doing. For example, this week Jeremy Hunt (Chancellor of the Exchequer) put out new changes to how the taxing system will work and essentially, his aim is to get rid of National Insurance tax, but he has not amended the income tax brackets in line with inflation. What this means is that while people's employers are increasing their salaries because of the recession, they may start to fall into a different tax bracket and have to pay more, but end up with less because the cost of things is higher due to inflation. It's also good to keep up with members of the opposition, such as Diane Abbott experiencing racial abuse and the government's answer to that being to take a £10,000,000 donation from the same man who made racist comments towards her and refusing to give it back. These are good examples to use in essays and it shows the examiner that you are taking an interest in current politics. Most importantly, work on your structure. My teacher has drilled this PEACE structure into our heads since the start of the year and for that I am extremely grateful. Structure can make or break your essay, so make sure you find one that works best for you.

Wishing you the best of luck and I hope this wasn't too long for you to read!!
Original post by IMABUFF
Hey, fellow year 12 politics edexcel student except i am struggling!!! please could you share any revision tips and resources such ass any essay plans you have etc i'd love to read them, i am currently on a B an need to improve!!! my e4ma1l is manaalshahid094t0utl00kd0tc0m
(edited 2 months ago)
Reply 6
Original post by erin11
yes, we do analysis for AO2 - e.g., with sources pull out as many arguments as you can and talk about them with synoptic links to other parts of UK and even USA (if appropriate) and for essays try and make synoptic links too
Thank you so much!!
Reply 7
Original post by bibachu
Ofc no problem!!
This is quite long but basically, I structure my essay and source questions using 5 paragraphs.
P1: Introduction stating my position and what points I will be making to support my argument
P2: First point mentioned in my introduction using the PEACE paragraph structure
P3: Second point mentioned in my introduction using the PEACE paragraph structure
P4: Third point mentioned in my introduction using the PEACE paragraph structure
P5: Conclusion summarising the points I have made and restating why I hold my position
The PEACE structure is a paragraph structure similar to PEEL but it stands for:
Point
Evidence
Analysis
Counterpoint
Evaluation
This strengthens your argument by giving a counterpoint that you can argue against using your own point. The evaluation is usually just a sentence to justify why the counterpoint is a weak (or valid) criticism and prove that your argument is stronger. With source questions, because there are points already made for you in the source, your evidence has to be relevant to the source.
These are some example essay and source questions that I’ve done and I’ve gotten an A in:
Evaluate the view that the media plays a limited role in determining electoral outcomes (30):
Introduction: The role of the media is not limited, it is significant and I will prove it by evaluating its role in (x), (y) and (z)
P1: 1979 election - Conservative media tactics (point, evidence and analysis) + the winter of discontent (counterpoint and evaluation)
P2: 2017 election - Theresa May’s US inspired “Personality Politics” (point, evidence and analysis) + the portrayal of Jeremy Corbyn in the media’s effect on the outcome (counterpoint and evaluation)
P3: 2019 election - Boris Johnson’s campaign using the media (point, evidence and analysis) + the effect Brexit had on the outcome (counterpoint and evaluation)
Conclusion: Summary of the points made and why despite (x), (y) and (z)’s counterpoints, the evidence given shows that the media’s role in determining election outcomes is far from limited
On this essay I received 21/30 which according to the 2023 grade boundaries would put me at an A. Depending on your school, your grade boundaries may change. The grade boundaries we use have 20/30 as the boundary for an A and 23/30 as the boundary for an A*.
This is an example of a source question I did and I didn’t get an exact mark on it because it wasn’t an official exam, but my teacher from another subject who also teaches politics said that he would have given me 19/20 on it (he’s a harsh marker though so bear that in mind).
Using the source, evaluate the view that the principal role of backbench MPs is now to hold the government to account (30):
Introduction: The principal role of backbench MPs is not to hold the government to account because it has not changed in recent years and representation still remains their most important function. This is due to (x), (y) and (z), which will support my argument and disprove the claim.
P1: Quote from the source about Theresa May's defeat on her Brexit deal (counterpoint) + quote from the source about Brexit being a one-off (point, evidence, analysis and evaluation)
P2: Quote from the source about MPs continuing to do constituency work (point, evidence and analysis) + quote from the source about MPs claiming to represent their constituents (counterpoint and evaluation)
P3: Quote from the source about MPs exerting their influence (counterpoint) + quote from the source about things MPs do to act on behalf of their constituents (point, evidence, analysis and evaluation)
Conclusion: Summary of the counterpoints made in the source and a further evaluations of why they are wrong and the points made in the source are correct using the supporting evidence from own knowledge
The best advice I can give you in terms of how to move from a B to an A is to expand your knowledge. I recently read a B grade student's essays with my teacher since she was struggling to move up to an A, and the biggest issue I found was that a lot of the knowledge given was recycled into different points or incredibly outdated. You must be keeping up with current affairs and have a good knowledge of current key political figures in the major parties, not just Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer, but members of the cabinet and what they're doing. For example, this week Jeremy Hunt (Chancellor of the Exchequer) put out new changes to how the taxing system will work and essentially, his aim is to get rid of National Insurance tax, but he has not amended the income tax brackets in line with inflation. What this means is that while people's employers are increasing their salaries because of the recession, they may start to fall into a different tax bracket and have to pay more, but end up with less because the cost of things is higher due to inflation. It's also good to keep up with members of the opposition, such as Diane Abbott experiencing racial abuse and the government's answer to that being to take a £10,000,000 donation from the same man who made racist comments towards her and refusing to give it back. These are good examples to use in essays and it shows the examiner that you are taking an interest in current politics. Most importantly, work on your structure. My teacher has drilled this PEACE structure into our heads since the start of the year and for that I am extremely grateful. Structure can make or break your essay, so make sure you find one that works best for you.
Wishing you the best of luck and I hope this wasn't too long for you to read!!
HELLO THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!! THIS HAS BEEN EXTREMELY HELPFUL

just wanted to request if you are comfortable with sharing any resources you use etc, i'd love to develop more insight on how i can improve as currrently all i use is the textbooks and prechewed politics as well as a few YT accounts. Another thing is I'd love to get my essay feedback from you i'm not sure whether you are in y12 or 13, i' currently a year 12 student and we have mocks after 3 weeks just on paper 1 so i'd love to hear more from you if you can!!!

ALSO I WILL TAKE IN ALL YOUR ADVICE IN MIND!!!
Reply 8
Original post by bibachu
Ofc no problem!!
This is quite long but basically, I structure my essay and source questions using 5 paragraphs.
P1: Introduction stating my position and what points I will be making to support my argument
P2: First point mentioned in my introduction using the PEACE paragraph structure
P3: Second point mentioned in my introduction using the PEACE paragraph structure
P4: Third point mentioned in my introduction using the PEACE paragraph structure
P5: Conclusion summarising the points I have made and restating why I hold my position
The PEACE structure is a paragraph structure similar to PEEL but it stands for:
Point
Evidence
Analysis
Counterpoint
Evaluation
This strengthens your argument by giving a counterpoint that you can argue against using your own point. The evaluation is usually just a sentence to justify why the counterpoint is a weak (or valid) criticism and prove that your argument is stronger. With source questions, because there are points already made for you in the source, your evidence has to be relevant to the source.
These are some example essay and source questions that I’ve done and I’ve gotten an A in:
Evaluate the view that the media plays a limited role in determining electoral outcomes (30):
Introduction: The role of the media is not limited, it is significant and I will prove it by evaluating its role in (x), (y) and (z)
P1: 1979 election - Conservative media tactics (point, evidence and analysis) + the winter of discontent (counterpoint and evaluation)
P2: 2017 election - Theresa May’s US inspired “Personality Politics” (point, evidence and analysis) + the portrayal of Jeremy Corbyn in the media’s effect on the outcome (counterpoint and evaluation)
P3: 2019 election - Boris Johnson’s campaign using the media (point, evidence and analysis) + the effect Brexit had on the outcome (counterpoint and evaluation)
Conclusion: Summary of the points made and why despite (x), (y) and (z)’s counterpoints, the evidence given shows that the media’s role in determining election outcomes is far from limited
On this essay I received 21/30 which according to the 2023 grade boundaries would put me at an A. Depending on your school, your grade boundaries may change. The grade boundaries we use have 20/30 as the boundary for an A and 23/30 as the boundary for an A*.
This is an example of a source question I did and I didn’t get an exact mark on it because it wasn’t an official exam, but my teacher from another subject who also teaches politics said that he would have given me 19/20 on it (he’s a harsh marker though so bear that in mind).
Using the source, evaluate the view that the principal role of backbench MPs is now to hold the government to account (30):
Introduction: The principal role of backbench MPs is not to hold the government to account because it has not changed in recent years and representation still remains their most important function. This is due to (x), (y) and (z), which will support my argument and disprove the claim.
P1: Quote from the source about Theresa May's defeat on her Brexit deal (counterpoint) + quote from the source about Brexit being a one-off (point, evidence, analysis and evaluation)
P2: Quote from the source about MPs continuing to do constituency work (point, evidence and analysis) + quote from the source about MPs claiming to represent their constituents (counterpoint and evaluation)
P3: Quote from the source about MPs exerting their influence (counterpoint) + quote from the source about things MPs do to act on behalf of their constituents (point, evidence, analysis and evaluation)
Conclusion: Summary of the counterpoints made in the source and a further evaluations of why they are wrong and the points made in the source are correct using the supporting evidence from own knowledge
The best advice I can give you in terms of how to move from a B to an A is to expand your knowledge. I recently read a B grade student's essays with my teacher since she was struggling to move up to an A, and the biggest issue I found was that a lot of the knowledge given was recycled into different points or incredibly outdated. You must be keeping up with current affairs and have a good knowledge of current key political figures in the major parties, not just Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer, but members of the cabinet and what they're doing. For example, this week Jeremy Hunt (Chancellor of the Exchequer) put out new changes to how the taxing system will work and essentially, his aim is to get rid of National Insurance tax, but he has not amended the income tax brackets in line with inflation. What this means is that while people's employers are increasing their salaries because of the recession, they may start to fall into a different tax bracket and have to pay more, but end up with less because the cost of things is higher due to inflation. It's also good to keep up with members of the opposition, such as Diane Abbott experiencing racial abuse and the government's answer to that being to take a £10,000,000 donation from the same man who made racist comments towards her and refusing to give it back. These are good examples to use in essays and it shows the examiner that you are taking an interest in current politics. Most importantly, work on your structure. My teacher has drilled this PEACE structure into our heads since the start of the year and for that I am extremely grateful. Structure can make or break your essay, so make sure you find one that works best for you.
Wishing you the best of luck and I hope this wasn't too long for you to read!!
ALSO HOW CAN YOU TALK ABOUT 1979 ELECTIONS, its something i got marked down for by using out of date examples even though you have 2 up to date ones
Original post by IMABUFF
ALSO HOW CAN YOU TALK ABOUT 1979 ELECTIONS, its something i got marked down for by using out of date examples even though you have 2 up to date ones
normally you need 1 election before 1997, 1997 election and 1 election after
Reply 10
Original post by IMABUFF
HELLO THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!! THIS HAS BEEN EXTREMELY HELPFUL
just wanted to request if you are comfortable with sharing any resources you use etc, i'd love to develop more insight on how i can improve as currrently all i use is the textbooks and prechewed politics as well as a few YT accounts. Another thing is I'd love to get my essay feedback from you i'm not sure whether you are in y12 or 13, i' currently a year 12 student and we have mocks after 3 weeks just on paper 1 so i'd love to hear more from you if you can!!!
ALSO I WILL TAKE IN ALL YOUR ADVICE IN MIND!!!
I am in Year 12 and I'd be more than happy to give you essay feedback! Feel free to message me on here since I don't feel giving out my 3ma1l, as it has personal info in it.

In terms of resources I mainly use textbooks, lectures, websites and social media helps me stay informed on current events (not a fan of the news).
The textbook I use is Pearson Edexcel A Level UK Government and Politics Sixth Edition and you can find it on Hodder Education.
https://www.hoddereducation.com/subjects/government-politics/products/16-18/pearson-edexcel-a-level-uk-government-and-politics

I use Massolit for lectures occasionally, but I don't use this often - it helps a lot if you're struggling on certain topics as well!
https://massolit.io/

Some good websites to use are StudySmarter and Seneca, as I've found they have a lot of politics information and it explains things quite clearly. I don't pay for any membership on either (although I'll start soon for Seneca, but not for Politics), so don't feel as if you need to.
https://www.studysmarter.co.uk/
https://senecalearning.com/en-GB/

With social media, it is important to note that you should never trust unverified or unreliable sources. Word of mouth is not the best approach to finding information. I find it helps to follow the actual news channels on apps like Instagram and TikTok or to engage with their content. The news channels I gain the most information from are usually ITV and BBC but there are loads of others out there, I just prefer these ones as they tend to be quite neutral. Also, don't be influenced by the comments because sometimes their political views may make you hold beliefs about certain parties (e.g. Reform UK propaganda when in actuality they are the Brexit Party rebranded after they succeeded with their main goal).
Reply 11
Original post by IMABUFF
ALSO HOW CAN YOU TALK ABOUT 1979 ELECTIONS, its something i got marked down for by using out of date examples even though you have 2 up to date ones
Like erin11 said, its generally fine to have one pre-1997 example as long as you have recent examples. In this question, because I was arguing that it was significant and not limited, it helped to prove that it has always been significant by using an outdated example. The wording of the question is very important and words like 'limited', 'significant' and 'now' all can be used to suggest or infer change. In the source question example I gave, because it said 'now' I made sure to emphasise that it has not changed in recent years. If I were to use an example from Thatcher's government between 1979-1990, that would have lost me marks, because the question is suggesting that their has been a recent change, not a past one. Generally anything that says 'recent' or 'now' is asking for information from the last decade. If you see that in an exam, I strongly recommend not going back any further than 2010, as my teacher told us that there have been too many political events in the last 10-15 years for us to just ignore them and use something from before we were even born.

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