Exam Tips

On this blog I have provided model answers to 24-mark exam questions that have previously come up or that could come up in future papers. These questions could also be split into two smaller questions or you could be given a quote to help you think about the question. Please note that these answers may not be 'perfect', but you can think of them as guidelines for when you're writing your own answers. Feel free to write in the comments sections if you have any comments or questions.

Top Tips For The Exam

  • Time yourself. You only have 30 minutes for each topic so make sure you stick to that limit.
  • Don't write too much for AO1! For each topic there will be 8 marks for AO1 (describing) and 16 marks for AO2 (evaluating), so you should write twice as much for AO2 as you should for AO1.
  • Structure your essay well. When writing my essays, I aim to get 2 marks for every paragraph, with each paragraph being roughly 60 words. This means there should be 4 paragraphs for AO1 and 8 paragraphs for AO2
  • Make it clear that you're writing an AO2 paragraph. Do this by starting the paragraph with 'One study that supported this is...' or 'A limitation of this approach is...'
  • Learn what you need. Many topics have several theories which you will need to learn. However, the question could give you the 24-mark question of 'outline and evaluate one theory of...', so you need to be able to describe one theory in detail. If the question is 'outline two or more theories of...', you must be prepared to also describe a second theory, and possible others.

Other Useful Resources

  • One good book is 'The Complete Companions: A2 Student Book for AQA A Psychology' by Mike Cardwell and Cara Flanagan. It has must of the information you need to put in your essays.
  • Another good book is 'Psychology A2 for AQA (A)' by Jean-Mark Lawton, Richard Gross and Geoff Rolls. It has a lot of good studies you can reference.
  • A third really helpful book is 'The Complete Companions: A2 Exam Companion for AQA A Psychology' by Mike Cardwell and Cara Flanagan  It it very useful when practising writing answers to exam questions and really helped me to write this blog.
  • The AQA website has all of the past papers and mark schemes for the course. I also recommend you read some of the examiner's reports: they can give you some good tips.
  • If you have older versions of the 'Complete Companions' books by Mike Cardwell and Cara Flanagan, you can find some of the updated pages here.


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