This course will provide feedback on the lessons to be learned from the first year of assessment in AQA A-level Politics. The course will provide a platform to discuss what qualities outstanding candidates demonstrated, as well as mistakes and common errors that cost candidates marks.

Led by a former chief examiner and current senior marker and Politics teacher responsible for excellent results, teachers will take away examples of student work which demonstrates what students needed to do to achieve Grades A and A*, along with approaches for ensuring that your students are able to do the same.

The course will reflect on what the performance of candidates in 2019 means for teaching and learning in the year ahead, including how to deal with the most challenging areas from the 2019 examination.


  • Take away examples of A and A* answers on the new question papers
  • Gain a clear understanding of the AQA mark schemes and how to get your students to reach the top bands
  • Develop your understanding of what it takes to achieve A*/A grades
  • Learn about the strengths and weaknesses of candidates’ responses in 2019, especially to the new areas of the specification
  • Develop a detailed understanding of the different demands of questions across all three papers

  • Heads of Humanities
  • Heads of Government & Politics
  • Teachers of AQA A Level Politics
  • Heads of Department
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
  • Two course restaurant lunch
  • Refreshments throughout the day
  • Guaranteed high quality venues


10.00 – 10.50am
Overview of key messages from 2019

  • What skills did the most successful candidates demonstrate?
  • How did candidates cope with the course content?
  • What common errors cost candidates?
  • How did student performance change with the new exams and what can we learn for our teaching?

 10.50 – 11.10am

11.10 – 12.00pm
Tackling Paper 1 effectively

  • How did successful candidates approach the different question types?
  • Approaches for improving understanding on the importance of minor parties in the current political climate
  • What excellent answers on pressure groups look like in the new examination
  • Dealing with the 9 mark questions: methods for encouraging analysis and evaluation rather than description
  • Excellent evaluation and correct use of provenance in the 25-mark extract question
  • Examine examples of A and A* responses to the 25 mark essay questions

12.00 – 1.00pm
Improving performance on Paper 2

  • Providing excellent up-to-date, accurate and convincing evidence and importantly
  • Techniques to teach how to display a relevant balance between the US and UK in Section C answers
  • Question 4 – the most challenging question in 2019 and how we can improve performance for 2020
  • How should candidates approach the comparative theory question?
  • The comparative essay question: what were examiners looking for in A and A* answers

1.00 – 2.00pm

2.00 –  3.00pm

Achieving outstanding performance in Paper 3

  • How did successful candidates approach the new challenge of Paper 3?
  • Analysing A and A* answers on the compulsory content
  • How were Key Thinkers used effectively?
  • Techniques which raise performance on the optional Political Ideologies

3.00 – 3.45pm
Improving Exam Technique

  • How does the performance of students in 2019 affect our teaching of:
    • the course content?
    • the key skills?
    • examination technique?

3.45 / 4.00pm
Questions and depart

Nick Axon

Nick Axon has taught A-level Politics since 2005. He was Head of Politics, then Head of History & Politics, at Cheadle Hulme School between 2009 and 2016, when he was appointed Head of Sixth Form. He was a Principal Examiner between 2012 and 2019, has contributed to Politics Review and has developed resources for AQA since the development of the new specification.