AQA GCSE 9-1 Sociology Exam Practice Papers

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Exam Practice Papers AQA GCSE 9–1 Sociology

Exam Practice Papers Series editor: Simon Addison Authors: Kelly Banbury and John Harvey Exam practice for the new, more challenging AQA GCSE (9–1) Sociology specification.

Exam Practice Papers

Written by practising teachers and examiners, the pack provides six complete practice exam papers to help your students get to know the new question formats. Answers, indicative content and a range of sample responses will support your marking and allow you to assess progress with ease throughout the course. All the content is provided in PDF form on the CD-ROM for you to print or share with your classes.

ISBN 978-0-00-826476-5

AQA GCSE 9–1 Sociology Student Book 978-0-00-822014-3

6942 Sociology Practice Papers 8pt5mm.indd 1

AQA GCSE 9–1 Sociology Teacher Guide 978-0-00-822015-0

AQA GCSE Sociology Revision and Practice 978-0-00-822745-6

9 780008 264765

6 photocopiable practice papers and mark schemes

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How to use this resource This resource contains three complete sample papers and mark schemes for the AQA GCSE Sociology 9–1 specification. These papers and mark schemes can be used as assessments or teaching materials to aid delivery and assessment of the content of the specification. They have been written by experienced examiners and teachers.


In this section, you will find model answers for the different question types students will meet in their exams along with helpful hints and tips as annotations on the answers. (The questions are taken from the papers included in the pack.) Model answers reflect the approximate standards expected of a grade 4/5 or grade 8/9 candidate in the exam. Please note: grade boundaries used are estimates only, as boundaries can change annually following an examination series. Candidates/teachers should consult the AQA website for the latest 9–1 Sociology grade boundaries.

Model answers: 1-mark questions 0 1   Which term is commonly used by sociologists to describe the situation when immigrants abandon their own culture and adapt their behaviour to fit the norms and values of the dominant culture? A Asylum

B Underclass

C Assimilation

D Prejudice


The candidate has indicated the correct response.

[1 mark]

0 2   Which term is commonly used by sociologists to describe the attitudes and activities of the middle classes which give middle-class children an advantage in schools? A Social cohesion

B Cultural capital

C Cultural deprivation

D Meritocracy 0/1


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[1 mark]

This response is incorrect. The correct answer is cultural capital.

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Model answers: 3-mark questions 0 3   Describe what sociologists mean by a same sex family.

[3 marks]

A same sex family is one where two men live together.


his response scores only one mark; the candidate has not described what is T meant by a same sex family but has given an accurate example of two men living together. To score higher marks, the candidate might have referred to the fact that same sex partners could cohabit, be married or have a civil partnership and that they may have their own or adopted children.

0 4   Describe what sociologists mean by the glass ceiling.


[3 marks]

ociologists may use this term when discussing equality in the workplace. The glass ceiling S refers to an invisible barrier which some sociologists argue exists and keeps people in some social groups (such as women or ethnic minorities) in lower positions in organisations regardless of their qualifications and skills. People in these groups can see the positions but there is a barrier which means these positions are not obtainable for them. his is an excellent response where the candidate has shown a clear understanding T of when sociologists may use this term (when discussing equality in the workplace) before offering a precise description of what the glass ceiling is.


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Model answers: 2-mark questions Item A 0 5   From Item A, examine one limitation of using official statistics.

[2 marks]

30 29 28 27 26

1938 1941 1944 1947 1950 1953 1956 1959 1962 1965 1968 1971 1974 1977 1980 1983 1986 1989 1992 1995 1998 2001 2004 2017 2010 2013


Source: Office for National Statistics, 2014



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One limitation is that they are only quantitative so don’t give detail. his candidate has shown some awareness of a limitation of official statistics, but to T score the additional mark they needed to develop/explain this more, e.g. by saying that quantitative data only gives us numbers and does not give us any information or insight into things, which qualitative data gathered from interviews might do.

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Model answers: 4-mark questions 0 6   Identify and explain one factor that may have contributed to an increase in the number of women delaying starting a family, as described in Item A. [4 marks]

ne factor that might have contributed is women’s career aspirations. As gender O roles have changed in the family and families have become more symmetrical, women now want to have successful careers before they have a family, so they put off having children until later in life. Years ago, women used to be housewives so were happy to have children younger, but now women have higher aspirations.


I n this response, the candidate has successfully identified career aspiration as a factor. The candidate then offers a good but underdeveloped explanation of why this factor has led to the delay in women starting families. To score the extra mark, the candidate needed to explain the term “symmetrical family” in more detail – perhaps referring to a reason why families have become more symmetrical, such as the idea of the “new man” or legislative changes that have given women more rights.

0 7   Identify and explain one limitation of using questionnaires to investigate changes in the birth rate in modern society.

[4 marks]

One limitation of questionnaires is that they have low response rates. People often can’t be bothered to fill them in. This will mean that research is not representative or valid.

2/4 In this response, the candidate has correctly identified a limitation of questionnaires.

However, they have said this limitation in two different ways – “low response rates” and “can’t be bothered to fill them in” – which both suggest the same limitation. The explanation that follows is very weak, but the use of the word “representative” suggests that the candidate has some grasp of what validity in research is. To score higher, the candidate needed to explain why low response rates lead to a lack of validity, and why validity is important in sociological research.


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Item B In Becker’s view, deviance is created by society. By this he means that social groups create deviance by making rules, applying these rules to particular people and labelling them as “outsiders”. A “deviant” is a person who has been labelled as such and “deviant behaviour” is behaviour that people label as such. According to Becker, some groups have more power to make rules and apply them to others. Source: Wilson, P et al (2017). AQA GCSE 9–1 Sociology Student Book 0 8   From Item B, identify and describe one group that Becker believed had more power to make rules and apply them to others, including what you know of his perspective on crime. [4 marks]

Becker believed that agents of social control, for example the police, had more power to make rules and apply them to others. Becker’s perspective on crime is known as the interactionist perspective; he said that agents like the police label social groups based on things like class, gender or ethnicity and treat them differently based on labels they give them. For example, if the police saw a group of white men fighting they might let them off with a warning, but if it were a group of black men they might arrest them and search them for drugs. Because the police treat social groups differently, this then leads some groups to become a self-fulfilling prophecy, e.g. black men may pursue deviant careers as that is what they think they are expected to do by society and they find support from others doing the same in their social group. This can then lead to deviant or criminal subcultures.

4/4 This is a very strong response. The candidate has correctly identified a group and has then

explained how this group may make and apply rules to others through the example of how they might treat instances of “fighting” between different ethnic groups. The candidate has shown a clear understanding of what labelling is and the concept of the “self-fulfilling prophecy”. 0 9   Identify and explain one reason why researchers might find it difficult to obtain a representative sample of gang members. [4 marks]

esearchers might find it very difficult to obtain representative samples of gang R members because people are not likely to come forward to participate if they are involved in illegal activities as they do not want to go to prison. This will mean that the researchers will not be able to establish a clear sampling frame and so will find it difficult to conduct valid research. Researchers will struggle to find lists of potential participants for their research as they will most likely be part of a criminal underworld and protect their anonymity to avoid detection by the police. Also, any organisations that work with gang members for any reason may also not be willing or able for reasons of privacy or data protection to share names of gang members.

4/4 This is a good response. The candidate has identified that gang members are not

likely to come forward voluntarily and so it is difficult to conduct valid research. The candidate scores full marks as they have also explained that people in gangs are likely to value privacy and that it will most likely not be possible to get the names of potential participants from third parties.


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Section A: Families Answer all questions in this section.

For questions with four responses only one answer per question is allowed. For each answer completely fill in the circle alongside the appropriate answer. Correct method

Wrong methods

If you want to change your answer you must cross out your original answer as shown: If you wish to return to an answer previously crossed out, ring the answer you now wish to select as shown: Which term is commonly used by sociologists to describe the number of live 0 1   births per 1,000 of the population per year? A Fertility rate B Death rate C Birth rate D Natural change

[1 mark]

0 2   Which term is commonly used by sociologists to describe a situation whereby someone has more than one marriage partner at a given time? A Patriarchy B Promiscuity C Monogamy D Bigamy


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[1 mark]

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0 3   Describe what sociologists mean by a matriarchal family.

[3 marks]

0 4   Identify and describe one example of how grandparents can help other members of the family.

[3 marks]

Paper 1 The Sociology of Families and Education: Practice Exam 3

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Answers Practice Exam 1 Section A: Families  1. AO1 = 1 mark, B Nuclear family  2. AO1 = 1 mark, D Divorce  3. AO1 = 3 marks Indicative content AO1: • A family in which a same sex couple live together, i.e. both partners are either male or female. • They may have been partnered, had a civil partnership or be married. • They could have children, their own or adopted.  4. AO1 = 3 marks Indicative content AO1: • Children’s parents could divorce, leading to a singleparent family. • A parent/partner might die, leading to a single-parent family. • A single parent may marry or remarry. • A child may move out of the home and move in with a new partner, leading to cohabitation.  5. AO3 = 2 marks 1 mark for providing evidence of an analysis of the item (by indicating a possible weakness), demonstrating a line of argument related either to methods or findings (AO3) plus: 1 mark for providing evidence of evaluation (reaching a judgement/reaching a conclusion) by indicating a reason why this element represents a possible weakness (AO3) Indicative content AO3: • They are created by someone else, so might not meet a sociologist’s true purpose. • Official statistics are created by a variety of sources, so the definitions used may be different from how sociologists would define the same terms. • Data doesn’t give true meaning; lack of qualitative information leads to meaning being unclear. • Official statistics are socially constructed; they should be treated as a topic for further study rather than a resource.  6. AO1 = 1 mark, AO2 = 3 marks “Context” here refers to ages at which women give birth. Indicative content AO1: • Education • Career no longer being solely content AO2: • Women are experiencing gains in the market place due to various changes in legislation, such as the Equal Pay Act and the Sex Discrimination Act. • Gender roles have changed in society and it is the norm now that women can progress as high as men and work in a variety of fields.  7. AO1 = 1 mark, AO2 = 3 marks “Context” here refers to changes in the birth rate. Indicative content AO1: • Hard to tell if the right person has completed it – or completed it accurately • Low response rate • Closed questions – no allowance for development

Indicative content AO2: • It is possible for people to pass questionnaires to others or become fatigued when completing questionnaires, so they might not answer them properly. • The researcher may see a low response rate, as around one in four couples will experience problems with fertility. Therefore this could still be seen as a sensitive subject. • Where research requires qualitative data, questionnaires may not be the best research method.  8. AO1 = 1 mark, AO2 = 3 marks “Context” here refers to the work of the Rapoports, with particular reference to family diversity. Indicative content AO1: • Secondary sources • Examples include (but are not limited to) diaries, letters, biographies and photos. Indicative content AO2: • They argue that families in modern Britain are undergoing a process of change. • There is no longer one dominant family type. Because of this, people will experience a great deal of change. • Families could be different based on ethnic differences. • The social class of a family will also dictate the resources that are available to that family. • Many individuals will experience different forms of family based on their life course and age.  9. AO1 = 1 mark, AO2 = 3 marks “Context” here refers to current social issues. Indicative content AO1: • The quality of parenting • Relationships between teenagers and adults • Care of elderly people Indicative content AO2: • Interviews allow for greater depth. Therefore, when asking about the impacts of something such as teenage motherhood, researchers can gain a deeper insight than a questionnaire would provide. 10. AO1 = 4 marks, AO2 = 4 marks, AO3 = 4 marks Indicative content AO1: • Feminism • Symmetrical family • Changing position of women in society Indicative content AO2: • The rise of feminism has had impacts on the structure of society – for example, there have been changes in law and changes in the attitudes and values that many hold. This has changed traditional roles that existed within the family and workplace. • Family structures have changed. Relationships between men and women are changing: with women gain further status within the workplace and society, this has had an impact on family structures, with women no longer being solely responsible for bringing up the children or doing household tasks. • Women’s position has changed dramatically in society. Laws and legislation have given women far more rights in terms of their bodies and job prospects. For example,


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