AQA Issues and debates

I had an email from a teacher asking for advice about answering exam questions on issues/debates when the question says ‘include at least two topics you have studied in your answer’. I think the danger here is that students will get side-tracked by the ‘include at least two topics’. Basically you just write the essay. For example, if the essay was ‘Discuss reductionism in psychology. Refer to at least two topics you have studied in your answer. (16 marks)’ – then you write your essay describing reductionism and evaluating it (by giving strengths and weaknesses of reductionism). But you also need to include two examples along the way (as part of AO1 or AO3).

If you look at the mark scheme for sample paper 3 question 3 the final bullet says ‘use examples from topics to support arguments’. The mark scheme doesn’t mention what would happen if a student has not included examples but I think there may be a ceiling of 12 marks.
The key thing to watch out for is writing too much. Your answer, including two examples, should be no more than 500 words maximum. That’s 150-200 words AO1 and about 300 words AO3.
Postscript – I was sent a comment from AQA which emphasises what I have said above:
From a teaching perspective, the important thing to emphasise to students is that, although they must inform their answer with topic examples and link these to the debate, they must keep their answer focussed on the nature-nurture debate. The obvious pitfall of letting the answer turn into a straightforward ‘schizophrenia’ essay or ‘aggression’ essay is to be avoided.
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