AQA specification – too much?

Complete Companions covers

I know many people feel the new AQA specification is overloaded – so I decided to conduct a rough comparison of the old and new specifications by comparing the number of spreads in the old and new Complete Companions. Each spread roughly equals one essay topic. What I found is in the table below.

The option topics are indeed longer (more spreads) but it is important to remember that the content should be 33% less because students now need 16 marks’ worth and not 24 marks’ worth.

In the old exam, students sat four exams each with three topics (research methods was examined twice, once in AS and once in A2).

In the new exam, A Level students sit three exams with 11 topics but research methods is a double topic. Therefore they still do 12 topics.

By my calculations, students did about 114 topics in the old specification and now do between 121 and 129 (depending on the options chosen). However, because of the reduced marks for the A Level topics, I think the content of the two specifications is roughly similar.

Old spec New spec
AS/Year 1 compulsory topics
Social influence 8 9
Memory 10 9
Attachment 12 10
Psychopathology 11 8
Year 1 research methods 10 12
Stress 9 13
Year 2 options
Year 2 research methods 10 12
Relationships 7 10
Eating 8 10
Aggression 7 10
Gender 8 8
Cognition 7 7
Schizophrenia 5 9
Addiction 7 12
Forensic 13
Issues and debates   7
Approaches   8
Biopsychology   11


Cara Flanagan photoThis post originally appeared on Cara Flanagan’s blog and is reproduced here with her kind permission.