A Level Psychology Examiners' Reports - Key Messages

24 October 2022

This update summarises key messages from the examiners' reports on the 2022 UK A level papers.

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Key messages:

Practise exam timing to ensure that candidates don’t run out of time, for example for the final issues and debates questions. On Paper 3 it was evident that many candidates spent much longer on some questions than others with the same number of marks available.

Work on application of knowledge to the context in AO2 questions, including questions that ask candidates to apply their knowledge to their own practical investigations. Students need to be shown that simply mentioning the person named in the question isn’t enough to put their knowledge into context, for example “…there may be cultural differences and Lena’s behaviours may be normal for her culture…” didn’t meet this requirement on Paper 2 Question 1(b).

Build understanding of ‘taxonomy words’ and question types, for example the 8-mark question “Discuss how Jinal could use a correlational research method for her investigation” had four AO1 marks and four AO2 marks, but many students evaluated without receiving credit as there were no AO3 marks available. The command word ‘discuss’ in an Edexcel A level psychology 8 mark question always means 4 AO1 marks and 4 AO2 marks are available. A glossary of command words is given at the end of the specification and students could use this when considering how to answer practice questions.

Focus on evaluation in ‘evaluate’ questions, for example the 8-mark ‘Evaluate your chosen study’ question on Paper 1 in which many candidates wrote too much AO1 description and only gave a basic strength and limitation. The four AO3 marks will require more writing than the four AO1 marks.

Work on developing an argument in longer answers where AO3 marks are available.

Ensure candidates know to use an additional answer booklet when necessary rather than write outside the lines or in the answer space for a different question. They need to understand that their answer booklets are scanned and marked electronically, and examiners may well not be able to see parts of their answers that are not written in the right space.

We will be expanding on these points with exemplar responses in our exam feedback training which will be available later in 2022.

Follow the link below to find the full examiners' reports, with question-by-question feedback and examples of candidate responses under 'exam materials'. Recent exam materials marked with a padlock require an Edexcel Online login which centres' exams officers can provide to teachers.

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