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Aiming for A/A* in AQA A-Level Sociology

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This A/A* course, revised and updated for Autumn 2022 is aimed specifically on how to ensure your students achieve the highest marks in AQA A-Level Sociology. It will focus on exploring the characteristics of work produced by students at the highest levels and delve into a range of teaching materials and strategies designed to ensure that students achieve the top grades of A and A*.


  • Take away teaching ideas and approaches that challenge and develop A and A* students
  • Explore exemplar materials to identify characteristics of outstanding work
  • Explore thinking deeply, synoptic links and A)3 Analysis
  • Take away strategies and approaches to maximise students’ marks in the examination
  • Scrutinise and discuss exemplar A* and A grade answers
  • Insights into what success looks like in examinations
  • Find out more about to give the most effective feedback to A/A* calibre students
  • Take away methods to best prepare students for exam success


Thinking Deeply, Synoptic Links and AO3 Analysis To Access A/A*

10.00 – 10.40am
  • Strategies to embed thinking in TLA – examiners reward evidence of thinking
  • Teaching methods to encourage deep thinking and reflection among students – moving away from regurgitation of information
  • Strategies to develop students’ synoptic links, including signposting these to examiners
  • Making synoptic links – why are women more religious than men?
  • Make AO3 Evaluation stronger (and easier!) through making comparisons to similar or different sociological theories’


Morning Break

10.40 – 11.00am

Maximising exam performance: review where top marks are lost and how to avoid them

11.00 – 12.00pm
  • Ensuring you’re A/A* students know exactly what examiners are looking for, how to structure answers and the skills needed
  • Embed Assessment Objectives in TLA – Stay focused on the end-goal’
  • The 4 & 6 mark questions on Paper 1 and Paper 3
  • Excellent starters and plenaries
  • How to maximise marks in the two types of 10 marks exam questions
  • How to best approach and structure 20 & 30 mark exam questions to achieve top band
  • Teaching strategies to maximise marks in the exams’

Exemplar A and A* Grade Answers

12.00 – 1.00pm
  • Grade descriptors, activities, practical teaching strategies
  • Model answers for Paper 1 Education and Paper 3 Crime and Deviance
  • Candidate style answers and commentaries – what examiners look for
  • Peer marking and its role in improving skills – teaching students how an examiner recognises a top band answer



1.00 – 2.00pm

Effective Feedback for A/A* Students – Comments, not Marks

2.00 – 2.45pm
  • Feedback strategies to stretch able students to maximise their potential – asking questions as feedback, no mark just feedback, amending answers using mark schemes
  • Feedback suggestions…
  • Exploring ways to use feedback to support able students in improving their marks
  • What an examiner looks for in a top band essay using exemplars
  • Going beyond a template, getting students to understand what a top-grade essay looks like.
  • Effective feedback strategies, to encourage better evaluation and conclusion writing skills.


Afternoon Break

2.45 – 3.30pm
  • Preparing For Exam Success
  • Effective teaching strategies to support your high ability students in preparing for examinations
  • 3 steps to revision success
  • How to get high ability students to take ownership of their revision
  • Balancing exam technique and specification requirements whilst encouraging student engagement with sociology in the wider world and signposting to HE


London | Thursday 07 December 2023
London | Friday 15 March 2024

Please select your preferred date

London | Thursday 07 December 2023
London | Friday 15 March 2024

This course, tailored to suit, can be delivered in your school. Discuss this further with our CPD team on 01625 532974 or click below to make an enquiry.


Catherine Eariss is Head of Sociology at Wyke Sixth Form College, Hull. It is a very large, high performing department, consistently achieving strong value-added scores (ALPS 3 for the past 4 years). In 2000, the department gained status as a “Centre of Excellence” for Sociology, training and collaborating with teachers in the Doncaster area. Catherine also works as an examiner for AQA A Level Sociology, marking Paper 1 and Paper 3.


  • Teachers of AQA A level Sociology
  • Heads of Sociology
  • Heads of Social Science


  • A specially prepared folder of detailed notes, practical advice and guidance
  • Notes prepared by the educational experts leading the course
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance

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