What is Sociology?

Sociology is the study of the world around us.  It is a study of people and their cultures.  For example, we look at questions such as ‘what makes a criminal?’ or ‘why do some young people get into youth subcultures?’. 

What qualification do you get?

Sociology is an A-Level subject.  Your child will receive a linear qualification which means that they will not sit an exam at the end of the first year, rather they have to remember everything until the end of 2 years and will then be tested. All grades at A2 Level are equivalent to UCAS (University) points.

How is it examined?

Sociology is exam based. At the end of two years of study there is are three papers that are examined in June with the AQA exam board.

What do students study?

Exploring Socialisation, Culture and Identity: ethnicity, class, gender and age.

Topics in Sociology: Education, research methods and religion.

What this includes is looking at questions such as:

  • Is femininity and masculinity down to nature or nurture?
  • Are males becoming more feminine and females more masculine?
  • Does class still matter?
  • How does ethnicity affect life chances?
  • Why did/do some young people get into youth subcultures such as Teddy boys, mods, Skinheads, Punks., Goths, rave and Emo?
  • Why do some children fail at school?
  • How has educational policy changed?
  • Is religion really ‘the opiate of the masses’?

Crime and Deviance, Sociological theory:

  • Why do people do crime?
  • Do the police create criminals?
  • Why are women victims of males?
  • Are certain areas more likely to create criminal behaviour?
  • How does each of the sociological theories explain society?
  • Does society ‘function’ for all?

Expectations at A-Level

Sociology is classed as an academic A-Level.  Students have 5 hours a week of lessons; they are also expected to carry out an extra 2-3 hours of work on the subject outside lessons.  This can involve using study periods and work at home.  This is the expected time to be spent on each academic A-Level subject. 

Many students find the transition from GCSE to A-Level challenging due to the increased work load and the more difficult nature of the subject matter.   Therefore, we see it as important that parents and teachers support students with this change. Students should expect to be set at least one large essay question per week in order to monitor progression, where possible students should time their work (1 mark = 1 minute and a half time).

At AS level students generally have two Sociology teachers who teach different parts of modules.  Therefore, they are set work by each teacher regularly (mainly every week).  The work set by each teacher should take a minimum of an hour to complete.  Therefore, any extra time should be used to re-read through the module booklets or textbooks provided, complete the charts in the booklets and go over any notes made in class.  Teachers make sure the work is marked quickly and feedback given to students to help them progress.

Students are expected to arrive prepared for lessons.  This includes bringing relevant booklets, have paper, pens and a file to keep work in.  Students should keep a file for each subject they study and it is important that any notes and marked work is kept in here.  Students are also expected to keep their target sheet up to date.

If students are finding the workload in sixth form difficult, they are encouraged to talk to teachers and reorganise deadlines when relevant.  Many students benefit from support from teachers and parents/carers with organising their time efficiently.

Support from the Sociology Department

  • All students are given booklets of textbooks for the course, these books have in all the information students need for the course. It is the student’s responsibility to look after these and bring them back at the end of their study.
  • Most home works set are past exam questions.  Students are given guides to answering questions, sample answers and often the answers are discussed/planned in class before questions are set to complete at home
  • Home works are marked quickly.  Students generally receive work back the following lesson. Marks comment on what was done well and how to improve.  A mark is also given.  All students are given a copy of the marking criteria – this is on their target sheets.
  • All students have target sheets and are encouraged to record skill targets for specific questions on this sheet and refer to them in order to progress. 
  • Teachers are available at most lunch times, breaks and after school to offer any individual support.  Students are encouraged to take this up.
  • Revision sessions are run after school and during the holidays throughout the year, your child may be invited to these or if they are slightly behind these sessions will be mandatory.
  • Parents/careers will be contacted to inform them of any concerns with their child’s progress.  Postcards will be sent home at least termly to students working well.
  • Parents/carers are welcome to contact at us any time if you have any questions or concerns.

 How parents can help support their child

Students are also provided with sample answers and marking criteria, along with target sheets to record what they need to do to progress.

Tips to help you support your child with Sociology:

  • You can support your child by making sure that they are completing all work set as the course progresses.  We sometimes allow this in lessons, but the main expectation is for these to be done in their own time as revision. 
  • If your child is struggling with a homework question firstly ask them to refer to any sample answers they have which show them how to set out the answer to a question, how long the answer should be, and how many studies/examples to include.  All students have guides on how to answer each type of question and often questions will have been planned in class so ask them to refer to any notes they have made.  Secondly, refer to the booklet for information/studies/examples.  It would also be useful to encourage your child to look at their target sheet and address the target set the last time they answered a similar type of question.
  • Encourage your child to take responsibility for their own learning. Encourage them to perceive when they find work difficult, encourage them to seek assistance from friends and the teachers when needed, and help them celebrate success when they have achieved well.


With regards to revision, what is adequate revision often depends on the individual.  However, most students need to revise more than they did for GCSE exams due to the nature of A-Levels.  As a guide, revision should be a planned process leading up to exams.  It should include a couple of hours a week in at least the month leading up to the exam.  You can help your child by supporting them in keeping a calendar showing when they are going to revise which subjects.