This course focuses on methods by which student responses to the differing types of questions they will face in their Paper 3 examination can be improved. All types of exam questions will be considered in terms of their requirements, common mistakes that students make when answering them and strategies to improve the quality of answers produced. Special focus will be upon creating responses to essay and long-answer questions with the viewpoint taken that Paper 3 topics are generally taught in the second year, where students have more maturity and capability to produce high-level responses to these type of questions. [Skills learned when constructing answers in the classroom to Paper 3 type questions can then be applied to the production of better responses to Paper 1 & 2 essay and long-answer questions]

Questions based on the Issues & Debates topic will be used as exemplars, due to these being common to all teachers of the AQA specification

Focus will be upon knowledge and understanding, as a means of producing higher-level answers, with consideration additionally given to strategies that can be employed by students of differing levels of capability. In addition, opportunity will be given for teachers to scrutinize exam-type responses using marking descriptors and levels. The course is up to the minute and will respond to any changes in the 2021 examination series.


  • Gaining an insight into the different forms of exam questions and their requirements
  • Developing an understanding of the reasons why students can under-perform when answering exam questions
  • Taking away easily applicable strategies that will enable students to produce better quality answers to all forms of exam questions
  • Exploring means of producing higher-level responses to essay and long-answer questions
  • Learning how to use skills developed during the study of Paper 3 topics to Papers 1 & 2 topics
  • Gaining an insight into the marking of exam-type responses
LOCATION & DATE:  Online | Wednesday 17 March 2021
  • Heads of department for delivery of AQA A’ level Psychology
  • Teachers of AQA A’ level Psychology
IN-SCHOOL You can also book this as an In-School Course
  • A specially prepared folder of 50+ pages full of detailed notes, practical advice and guidance
  • Notes prepared by the educational experts leading the course
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance


10.00-10.15am Discussion about changes and challenges in response to impact of Covid

  • Changes to 2021 exam series and other impacts on preparing for paper 1 & 2 this year

10.15 –11.15 am: Dissecting the examination process

  • Requirements of the examination
  • Grade boundaries
  • What we can learn from previous student performances
  • Considerations for improvements

11.15 – 11.30am: Break

11.30 – 12.45pm: A consideration of question types

  • An examination of the different types of exam questions and their requirements
  • Common mistakes students make when answering questions and why they make them
  • Exploring strategies to improve student performance on all types of questions [and for students of different levels of capability]
  • Focus on Issues & debates questions

12.45 – 1.45pm: Dinnertime

1.45 – 2.45pm: Focus on essay and long-answer questions

  • The AO1/AO3 ratio: getting students to focus on evaluation
  • Components of effective answers. Do’s and don’ts
  • Elaboration; What is it? Strategies to employ for its creation
  • The effective use of comparison in essay and long-answer responses
  • The incorporation of issues, debates and approaches into essay and long-answer responses
  • Different ways of approaching ‘discuss’ questions for students of different levels of capability

2.45 – 3.00pm: Break

3.00 – 3.45pm:   Marking workshop

  • The use of marking descriptors and levels in the assessment of student answers
  • Making marking decisions when assessing student answers
  • An opportunity [with feedback] to assess student responses to exam-type questions
  • Conclusions to take away

3.45 / 4.00pm: Depart

Jean-Marc Lawton

Jean-Marc Lawton has taught Psychology for over 30 years and has a long history of producing high-attaining and well-motivated students. Jean-Marc has written many best-selling books on the subject and bases his own teaching around practically based learning experiences and the development of student responses to exam-type questions. Jean-Marc has also many years experience working as an examiner in senior positions for several exam boards and so is able to impart valuable guidance on how to [and how not to] write exam answers