I hope revision is going well? This post is going to look at paper 1 of the AQA A level psychology exam being sat on Wednesday 7th June 2017. First things first – I never intended to release these predictions initially because this is the first year for the A level component and I had no past papers to base my assumptions on. However I’ve had literally non-stop emails for the last 2-3 weeks asking this question and its got to a point over the last few days where I’ve had over 40 emails alone asking this. I’ve not replied as I was unsure on whether I would release my thoughts or not. This email obviously answers this question now due to my weak “resistance to social influence”……get it? get it?. Sigh…tough crowd.
The biggest problem in creating these predictions firstly is there are no past papers for me to base the possible topics on or make eliminations on and it would mean comparing against the AS papers and specimen papers which are the closest comparison we have. The problem with this approach is obviously there are different levels of content between AS Paper 1 and A level Paper 1 and the specimen papers are not actual exam papers either. Also as psychopathology is in unit 1 at A level (however its at unit 2 for AS) I need to draw comparisons across AS papers too. I’m not even convinced a direct comparison can be made between these different sets of exam papers because even if a question for the AS version came up i.e. The multi-store memory model for example – does that really mean we can rule it out in the A level paper? What about the specimen paper? The problem is we don’t really know.
With this in mind I can’t emphasise enough the need to memorise everything going into the exam – you can’t wing it on these predictions alone but I will share with you my thoughts on what I would personally do if I was in your situation.
My gut would tell me there should be a difference however between what comes up at AS and the specimen papers – not always but on average you wouldn’t expect AQA to be lazy and simply repeat the same questions. For example if they ask a 12 marker question (or one of significant size) in the AS paper or specimen paper it would seem a bit lazy to risk repeating similar topics in this A level paper surely? I’m basing this assumption completely on guesswork however but what I would say is that I would give more focus to topics that haven’t made a significant appearance in any form. That doesn’t mean you don’t revise the other topics – you need to learn everything going into these exams but below I’ve created a detailed table on all the questions that have come up for paper 1 between AS over the last 2 years as well as the specimen papers. Psychopathology is studied in paper 1 during A level however at AS it is in paper 2 so to create a collection of these questions I’ve then relied on the AS paper 2 exam to see which questions have come up for this topic over the last 2 years as well as the specimen A level paper. This should give you a comprehensive overview on all the topics that have and haven’t come up and I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.
Personally anything that has a solid green bar going across is something that has no questions on it at all so maybe it’s worth prioritising that topic a little more.
Orange = Social influence, Blue = Memory, Yellow = Attachment, Light pink = psychopathology.
How do you use this table? I’ve sourced information on what has and hasn’t come up from 3 main sources; the AS papers and the specimen papers. For each topic I’ve written down when it has come up and what the mark allocation was. Anything that has had only small mark questions (think 1-6 mark questions) on it or hasn’t come up at all throughout any of these sources is a topic I would be particularly interested in prioritising. Let me give you an example:
Looking above under psychopathology we can see that a question on Beck’s negative triad hasn’t come up in the specimen paper or either AS papers in any form. This would make it particularly important for me in my revision. A question on biological therapies for OCD (drug therapies) also hasn’t made any appearance at all across the 3 sources so again this would be of particular interest too.
This is basically how I would focus my revision on – if a question has had a lot of focus on it in some form – take the behavioural approach to treating phobias; this came up in the specimen paper as a 16 marker, it also came up in the 2017 unit 2 exam at AS for psychopathology and a 4 marker also prior to that in 2016 then it is probably a little less likely. However again remember to revise it all as we’re basing this purely on speculation that AQA wouldn’t be lazy enough to simply repeat the specimen essay questions and you never know with those rascals!
This is just an idea of how I would begin to use this table but ultimately you have a breakdown of the mark allocations against the best sources we have available – I’ll let you decide what you think sticks out the most using this information now.
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I hope this helps – Let me know what you think or if this is useful at all below by commenting and be sure to follow me on Facebook and more importantly on my YouTube channel by clicking the button on the top right. It would be great to have you subscribe and just stay in touch.
Best of luck for your exams and let me know your thoughts.