AS and A level Politics Advance Information Support

2 March 2022

This update contains information and support for AS and A level Politics teachers and students on the summer 2022 Advance Information which was released on 7 February 2022.

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The summer 2022 AS and A level Politics Advance Information is available now to download from our qualification page. There are separate documents for AS and A level Politics.

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Updates to documents

Following further quality checks after the release of the advance information on 7 February we have updated the A level Politics advance information document. For Paper 3A and 3B some of the specification points had been shortened (1.2, 3.1, 3.2, 4.6, 5.4 for 9PL03A on page 6, 1.1, 5.4 for 9PL03B on page 7). To avoid confusion, we have reinstated the full titles from the specification to make it clear that students need to revise all of the relevant content from these sections of the specification. The new version is named as 'Version 2'. Please check that you have downloaded the latest version.

Advance Information Guidance

The following guidance document explains the key principles and rationale for Advance Information.

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Student Guide to AS and A level Politics Advance Information

The following video is to support Edexcel AS and A level Politics students to explain more about how they can use the Advance Information document to prepare for their summer 2022 exams. It may also be of use for teachers who have queries on how to use Advance Information to prepare students for their exams.

Advance Information FAQs

Why does your Advance Information look different to other exam
boards?

  • Advance Information is not identical between different exam boards
    because we take different approaches to the way we set out our content in specifications and the way we assess this content in exams. We did work together to ensure for each qualification it is as comparable as possible.

What does it mean when it states that 'Questions will be drawn from one or more of the indicated areas of specification content'?

  • This means that questions won’t necessarily focus solely on a single bullet point identified in the advance information. Questions could draw on one or more of the indicated bullet points which is normal for A level Politics since questions can be broad and cover more than one area of the specification for a particular topic. Also a question may not be about everything in a single bullet point – it could be one aspect of it.

Both Socialism and Conservatism are listed in the Advance Information for A level Paper 1 Core Ideas. Will there be a question on each of these Core Ideas in the exam?

  • The specification for A level Paper 1 Core Ideas includes 3 ideas: Socialism, Conservatism and Liberalism.
  • We have always stated that in any exam series there could potentially be two questions on one Core Idea – this prevents teachers and/or students from only focusing on one or two Core Ideas in a normal exam series.
  • A key principle of the Core Ideas questions is that they will never cross ideas so eg there would not be a question targeting both Socialism and Conservatism.
  • The Advance Information for summer 2022 states that the major focus of the exam for Core Ideas will be Socialism and Conservatism. This means that students should focus their revision on Socialism and Conservatism for this section of the paper.
  • Students in the exam will still have a choice of two essays as normal and they have to interpret this information in relation to the Advance Information provided which lists two Core Ideas.
  • In specifying the topics that will be the major focus of the exam in the Advance Information document we are not permitted to state how this content will be specifically assessed. This is a rule across all subjects with Advance Information and in all cases, teachers and students are required to interpret the information as it is presented in relation to how it will be assessed in this summer’s exam.

Why has so little content been taken out of A level Paper 3?

  • The examiners had already written the summer 2022 question papers far in advance of the announcement to introduce Advance Information.
  • Paper 3 questions are broad and across the three sections of the question paper they tend to draw on most of the specification content – particularly when you factor in the choice of questions on the paper.
  • For this reason it was very difficult to identify areas of specification content that were not relevant or would not be included in the summer 2022 exams.
  • Paper 3 Advance Information therefore contains more specification content than Paper 1 and 2 due to the design of the question paper and how it relates to the content of the specification.

Couldn’t you have adapted your papers for summer 2022 to make the Advance Information more specific?

  • We appreciate that Advance Information is more useful in some qualifications than others depending on the nature of the subject and how it is assessed.
  • We had to follow the same general principles for Advance Information outlined by the DfE and Ofqual across all qualifications.
  • We were not permitted to change our style of questions or assessments in any way to accommodate students in summer 2022. So, for example, we could not remove the synoptic element from specific questions.
  • We appreciate the frustration felt, but these exam papers were written before the decision to introduce Advance Information.

Do students need to learn content not specified in the Advance Information?

  • For A level Politics Paper 2 Non-core Ideas there is no advance information specified – in this section all areas of the specified content for your chosen Non-core Idea must be learned and teachers should prepare their students as usual for the Non-core Ideas section of this paper.
  • For the rest of the specification we have provided Advance Information of the major focus of the content of the exams – teachers and students should use this information to help focus revision.
  • For the content not specified in these sections: Students may still find it useful to know this content as it could help their understanding of the topics being assessed. Politics essays can be broad and it may be possible for students to bring in content not specified in Advance Information into their response – if this is relevant they will be credited.
  • In general*, students will not be penalised if they answer a question using only the information specified in the advance information. Examiners will not expect them to bring in arguments from content not specified apart from in questions with synoptic requirements*.
  • Some specific questions require synoptic links to be made and these links are not specified in the advance information – students may be penalised via the mark scheme if they do not make any relevant synoptic links when answering these questions. For these questions there is a ‘cap’ in the mark scheme which will limit the student’s overall mark if they do not bring in any synoptic links.
  • The general guidance in the front of the Advance Information states that: ‘For specifications with synoptic assessments, topics not explicitly given in the advance notice may appear, eg where students are asked to bring together knowledge, skills and understanding from across the specification.’
  • In synoptic questions it may be possible for students to bring in synoptic links from information only provided in the Advance Information however we cannot guarantee this.
  • Please remember that Advance Information is not designed to narrow teaching and learning and teachers are expected to have taught students the whole specification. The purpose of Advance Information is to help students focus their revision by identifying the main focus of specification content that will feature in exams.

Does this mean that students can be asked questions on content which has not been specified in the Advance Information?

  • No – the Advance Information has specified the content that will be the major focus of this summer’s exam.
  • Specification content that has not been included in the Advance Information will not be the major focus of the exam.

Can students make synoptic links from any area within the specification or do the links need to be specific to the areas in the Advance Information.

  • Students can make reference to any area of the specification and they will receive credit if it is relevant to the question.

Why did you drop topics X/Y/Z from the exam?

  • We appreciate that some students and teachers may be unhappy that parts of topics they find interesting aren't included in the Advance Information.
  • The summer 2022 question papers were written far in advance of any decision to implement Advance Information.
  • Over the lifetime of the specification our examiners have a responsibility to assess the full range of specified content. They have to assess different topic areas each year to ensure exams aren't predictable.
  • Please remember that Advance Information provides notice of the major focus of the content of this summer's exam and it does not mean that content has been cut from the specification.

Why do you advise students to speak to their teachers for advice on how to interpret the Advance Information and how to prepare for aspects of the content not specified in the Advance Information?

  • We appreciate that this is the first time that teachers and students have ever had to use Advance Information and we’ve been receiving lots of questions from teachers since it was released on 7 February.
  • Whilst we do respond to questions directly from students and parents we believe that you as their teacher are the best person to advise them on how best to approach their revision and preparation for the summer exams.
  • We appreciate that you may need support in helping your students so if you have any questions or are unsure about aspects of the Advance Information please feel free to contact us by emailing teachinggovernmentandpolitics@pearson.com
  • However, please understand that beyond the published guidance we are not permitted to help you to interpret the content of the Advance Information in relation to possible questions on this summer’s papers.
  • We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your hard work and understanding and we know that this is a challenging period for you and your students.

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