Sociology at AS and A2

How well do students perform in Sociology?

Extremely well – much higher than national averages; the department ranked within the top 20 nationally for the past 3 years. For the past 7 years, more than 95% of A-Level students have passed (A*-E).

In 2016, 38% of students achieved an A* (6% nationally) , 53% achieved A*-A (19% nationally) and 84% achieved A*-B (46% nationally). Furthermore, 94% of students achieved their target grade with 81% exceeding it. We are very proud of these results as we believe they demonstrate the hard work of our teachers in helping students to realise their potential.

Maria Mysior – A* Josie Bennett – A* Ben Jones – A*
Chloe Whitehouse – A* Louis Fryer – A* Chloe Harrison – A*
Hollie Compton – A* Scarlet Crooke – A* Johnny Sutton – A*
Abbie Barrett – A* Kieran Salisbury – A*

A Level Entry Requirements

•You do not need to have studied GCSE Sociology in order to do AS Sociology, but we do expect you to have achieved a grade C or above in English Literature or History due to the essay based nature of this subject
• You do need 6 GCSEs at grade C or above including English Language
• You do need to be interested in current affairs and the world around you.
• You do need to be willing to take part in group discussions, presentations and debates.
• You do need to maintain a good level of attendance
• You do need to complete homework to the deadlines set and to an acceptable standard

How will I be examined? How will I be prepared for this?

Sociology is 100% exam based. All students will be entered into the full 2 year A-Level course – the majority of students will not sit AS exams at the end of year 12. Only those judged to underachieving will be entered into AS exams in order to inform judgements about the student’s ability to complete the full A-Level. However, you may opt to complete an AS exam if you wish to do so – all necessary content will have been covered within standard A-Level lessons. At the end of the full A-Level in year 13 you will sit 3 exams in the summer. We currently use the AQA exam board.

In preparation for your exams, the vast majority of homework will be centred around developing your exam skills. This means that you will be expected to complete essays at least every 2 weeks, often more frequently, as well as shorter questions and glossary tests alongside these. These will be marked to exam board specifications and will provide you with information on what you did well, what could have been better, and an action point that you will complete in order to improve the work. You will be expected to redo any work which is deemed to be below the standards expected.

A-Level Exams

Paper 1: Education + Theory and Methods

2 hour exam

33% of A-Level grade

• What is the role of education?
• Why do some groups of students do better than others?
• How can teachers and subcultures change pupils’ self concepts?
• How have educational policies changed the shape of the education system?
• How can sociological research methods be applied to the study of education? For example, questionnaires, interviews, observations.
• Different theoretical perspectives in Sociology
• The concept of modernity and post-modernity
• The nature of science and the extent to which Sociology can be regarded as scientific
• The role of values and objectivity in Sociological research
• The relationship between Sociology and social policy

Paper 2: Families and Households + Beliefs in Society

2 hour exam

33% of A-Level grade

• How is the family is affected by government policies?
• Changing patterns of marriage, cohabitation, divorce and the range of family structures.
• The changing roles of men and women within the family.
• What it means to be a child and how this has changed over time.
• Demographic changes.
• The advantages and disadvantages of a range of research methods
• Different theories of ideology, science and religion
• The relationship between religious beliefs and social change and stability.
• Religious organisations, including cults, sects, denominations, churches and New Age movements, and their relationship to religious and spiritual belief and practice.
• The relationship between different social groups and religious/spiritual organisations and movements, beliefs and practices.
• The significance of religion and religiosity in the modern world, including the nature and extent of secularisation in a global context.

Paper 3: Crime and Deviance + Theory and Methods

2 hour exam

33% of A-Level grade

This paper tests the same Theory and Methods content as A-Level paper 1. In addition to this, the Crime and Deviance element includes:

• Different theories on the causes of crime.
• The social distribution of crime and deviance by age, ethnicity, gender, locality and social class, including recent patterns and trends in crime.
• Globalisation and crime in contemporary society.
• Crime control, prevention and punishment.

What do the students think of sociology?

Sociology allows you to take a wider standpoint on life. It allows you to not only ask the big questions, but helps you to get one step closer to answering them – Grace, Y13

Sociology is a very interesting subject. The teachers are very supportive. Sociology is one of my favourite subjects as it opens my mind to how society really is – Sarah, Y13

Sociology is a great subject that helps us understanding more about the world we live in – Louis, Y13

I find Sociology to be very practical and eye opening which leaves you picking apart many aspects of our society today. You’ll look more closely at how you view seemingly trivial things such as gender and how it actually heavily impacts people – Josie, Y13

Sociology is a great subject. The content is always so interesting and it always helps that teachers are so supportive and are always there to help – Taylor, Y13

What can I do with Sociology?

There is often a misconception that sociology leads onto careers in social care. Whilst sociology does have certain elements which are relevant to this, it is by no means the only route you can take with a qualification in sociology. Remember that sociology is a subject built around research and theoretical debate which uses evaluative skills. For this reason, sociology links well to careers areas such as:

Police & prison service
Journalism
Education
Health and social work
Human resources and administration
Social research (there is currently a shortage of graduates to fill these posts)

In fact, according to a recent report by the Campaign for Social Science, graduates of social sciences are more likely to be employed than other graduates. The report provides hard evidence to debunk the myth that sociology and other social science degree subjects don’t offer good career prospects.

Drawing on data from over 60,000 graduates surveyed by the Higher Education Statistics Authority, the report reveals:

Higher proportions of social science graduates are in employment than STEM or arts-humanities graduates, 3.5 years after graduating.
Higher proportions of social scientists are ‘managers, directors and senior officials’ than any other subject group, at the same point in time.
Greater proportions of social science graduates too are employed in ‘professional, scientific and technical’ or ‘financial’ activities.

You can find the full report here, and the BBC news report here.

What can I do to prepare for the course?

In preparation for the course, please read through the information which can be found in the Sociology student handbook. At the back of this, you will find a series of books that you may wish to look at in preparation for your studies.