This course has been designed to help maximise the performance of your students in the AQA A Level Music exam. It will address the key features from the feedback of the 2019 exams, will identify potential pitfalls and focus on best approaches for improving performance in key areas highlighted in the reports.

The course draws upon Rachel’s experience as a teacher and examiner in order to identify the key areas and focus on exactly what is required to excel in assessment.


  • Develop your understanding of strengths and areas for improvement in AQA A Level Music through feedback on 2019 exams
  • Deepen your understanding of assessment criteria and mark schemes by examining exemplar student work
  • Find out how to access the highest marks for each component – achieving A and A* grades
  • Take away strategies for developing students’ understanding of examination questions and subject content
  • Increase understanding of what is required of performing and composing coursework to enable all students to achieve their potential
COURSE DATE Online | Thursday 24 June 2021
  • All Teachers of AQA A Level Music
  • Heads of Music looking to change to AQA Exam Board
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 – 10.40am
The key messages from the 2019 examinations

  • Reflection on the 2019 exam sessions – what is it essential to be aware of?
  • Discussion of the challenges experienced by all delegates
  • Setting the appropriate standard from the start – how to motivate students to succeed

10.40 – 11.20am
Listening and Appraising Section A: Unfamiliar listening

  • AoS1 – what questions to expect and how to prepare for success
  • The 10 mark questions – how to write comprehensively and with command and authority
  • Strategies to aurally identify and use appropriate terminology when responding to listening questions
  • Developing listening skills necessary for exam questions, what to look out for and teaching strategies

11.20 – 11.40am: Discussion: coffee break 

11.40 – 12.40pm
Appraising – Section B: Set Work Analysis & Section C: The Extended Essay Questions

  • Key technical terms – common mistakes to avoid and teaching ideas to help students apply technical terms accurately
  • How to support students in discussing harmony, tonality, and texture
  • The 5 mark questions – writing succinctly, accurately and with authority
  • Scaffolding and planning essays to access the highest marks for this specification
  • Methods and techniques to help students with essay writing, particularly applying appropriate knowledge to the question
  • Deciphering essay questions and adapting knowledge to the question with examples to mark and discuss

12.40 – 1.40pm: Lunch and informal discussion 

1.40 – 2.40pm
Component 3: Composing

  • Composing to a brief; how to respond successfully to the different types of brief using the live 2019 briefs as a basis for discussion
  • Free Composition – balancing creativity, ambition and technical control
  • Methods and approaches to make real links between composition and analytical work
  • Fine tuning compositions – examiners’ top tips
  • Appraising and discussing some examples of outstanding compositions and some less outstanding examples

2.40 – 2.55pm: Discussion: afternoon tea 

2.55 – 3.15pm
Component 2: Performing

  • Interpreting the Assessment Criteria to access the highest marks
  • Ensuring your students perform with expressive control; essentially the musicality of the performance – dynamic contrast, phrasing, nuances – how to support your students with this
  • Overall performance; ideas of how to bring maturity, command and understanding of style into students’ performances
  • A performance plan of action – shaping and guiding over the two years to ensure success

3.15 – 3.45pm
Exam Techniques and Preparation Tactics

  • Making revision effective – a range of practical strategies that maximise efficiency
  • Knowledge is power – developing memory skills and retaining information
  • Instilling independence and developing the more able
  • Reflection

Rachel Tustain

Rachel is an experienced examiner and Leader of Music, with seventeen years teaching and leadership experience in a range of different schools. She is a Principal Examiner, Subject Adviser and has been involved with CPD for teachers for several years as well as involvement in writing the new music specifications.

View all courses led by Rachel Tustain >