New mock papers for A level Politics

24 November 2022

This update provides information and FAQs about our new A level Politics mock papers.

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New mock papers for A level Politics

We have created a new set of mock papers for Edexcel A level Politics which can be found below. We hope teachers will find these papers useful in helping to prepare students for this summer's exams.

A level Politics Mock Papers

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The mark schemes for the mock papers will be made available shortly.

Why have you created these mock papers?

We recently undertook a review of our question papers, comparing them to the original sample assessment materials accredited by Ofqual. As a result of this review, and taking into account recent teacher feedback, we will ensure that questions in future exam series more accurately reflect the level of demand of questions in the accredited sample assessment materials. The new set of mock papers for A level Politics has been created to exemplify further this recalibration of the level of demand.

Have you created an additional set of mock papers for AS Politics?

No. We have only created mock papers for A level Politics since this was the main focus of teacher feedback in recent exam series. We will, however, ensure that the same principles outlined above are carried over to future AS assessments, ensuring they are in line with the demands of the accredited sample assessment materials.

Do these A level Politics mock papers replace the official sample assessment materials?

No. The official sample assessment materials below were accredited by Ofqual at the beginning of the course and they remain the official reference for the standard and approach of our A level Politics assessment.

A level Politics Sample Assessment Materials

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In addition to the sample assessment materials above, we also created A level specimen papers which were made available to teachers to help prepare students before the first live exam series in Summer 19. These specimen papers are currently being reviewed to ensure they are in line with the sample assessment materials and any changes will be indicated in the documents once they are updated. We expect the changes to be minor and intend to have these updated by January 2023. You can find the current specimen papers below.

A level Politics Specimen Papers

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Why are the new mock papers on secure download? Can I give them to students at any time?

We know that many teachers want to give students a secure mock paper which they have not seen before to help prepare them for the experience of a live exam. These new mock papers are therefore on secure download and teachers require an Edexcel online account to access them. We ask teachers not to make them freely available on social media or school websites. However, these papers are not live exam materials and they are in the public domain, so teachers can give them to students for the purpose of revision or exam practice. We just ask that you try to limit wider student access so they remain viable as mocks in future years.

What are the grade boundaries for these mock papers?

There are no grade boundaries for these mock papers, or for the sample assessment materials or specimen papers above. Grade boundaries only officially exist for live exam papers. Teachers may use grade boundaries from past exam series as a guide to grading mocks but care should be taken when using boundaries from recent exam series due to covid-related issues affecting percentage outcomes and entry sizes.

How were teachers involved in the creation of the new mock papers and how will they be involved going forward?

We are very grateful to teachers who provided feedback on the recent Summer 2022 exam series. Having met with a large number of teachers to discuss the issues, we appointed two teachers to carry out an in-depth scrutiny of the mock papers and we will adopt a similar approach going forward with live papers in addition to our normal review and scrutiny procedures. We have also asked a small group of teachers to comment on the mock papers before publication to ensure they are fit for purpose.

Will you be creating exemplar responses for these mock papers?

Teachers will be able to use these new assessments as formal mocks this academic year. We plan to work with a number of schools to collect a range of exemplars which will then be used to create a pack of exemplar responses. We also intend to run a network event in Spring 2023 using these mock paper exemplar responses.

Will Politics be offered in the Pearson mocks marking service?

We are pleased to announce that we will be including A level Politics in our new mocks moderation service from January 2023. Our new moderation service allows you to provide your students with their mock results whilst supporting your, or your team’s, marking skills. By sending in a sample of your exam papers, our moderators can supply commentaries and reports to help you understand the mark scheme and provide reassurance that your marking is aligned with the Edexcel standard for A-Level Politics. You'll need to submit a sample of around 15% of your own marked papers, which will be reviewed by our team of expert moderators. Your school will then receive script commentaries and the moderation report.

Please note, this new service is available for you to use with your mocks from the Spring term. The mocks moderation service will use the new mock papers released this term. Advance booking will be available as soon as the mock papers are released.

The cost of using the mocks moderation service is £18 per student’s script but we are offering a special 30% discount for A level Politics teachers who use the service until May 2023. To claim the discount you must use the code: POLMK30

Will you always use the question stem ‘Evaluate the view that’ in 30 mark essays?

We recently updated the original sample assessment materials to reflect practice in the live series. Any 30-mark essay question stems which used 'Evaluate the extent to which...' have been amended to 'Evaluate the view that...'. This is to help clarify for students the need to reach a judgement on the view stated in the essay question. The new mock papers also use this question stem.

Have you taken a different approach to sources in Paper 1 and Paper 2 mocks?

No. The approach to source assessment in the new mock papers reflects the same approach taken in previous live exam series. Questions will always focus on one source which contains contrasting views about an issue. Sometimes these views will be separated out (as in the Paper 1 mock) and sometimes these views will be more integrated (as in the Paper 2 mock). Students should be prepared for either approach in the live exam, irrespective of the paper.

How should students approach ‘more open’ questions such as ‘Evaluate the view that election outcomes are influenced more by the media than by any other factors’?

Examiners have set this type of question in the past and these have worked well. This particular question requires students to evaluate the importance of the media in influencing election outcomes compared to other factors. Teachers should note the use of the plural ‘factors’ means students are required to discuss at least two additional factors. Students must also ensure the stated factor in the question (ie the media) is given due consideration, both in terms of their explanation and in reaching a judgment on the view presented in the question. Examiners would expect to see approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of the essay on the stated factor, with the rest given to a consideration of other factors. Students may discuss more than two additional factors if they wish.

Will examiners still set questions which ask students to compare two or more different stated factors in a question?

In contrast to the more open-ended question above, examiners may set a question which asks students to directly compare different factors. E.g., Evaluate the view that election outcomes are influenced more by factor X than factor Y. If this type of question is used, examiners will ensure that the stated factors form a clear debate for the issue highlighted in the question.

Will there be questions which target more than one area of the specification content for a particular unit?

Examiners reserve the right to ask questions which draw on more than one area of the specified content for a particular unit. Where questions draw on comparisons/connections between different areas of the unit content, examiners will ensure these connections are reasonable and fair, and not contrived.

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