I know many people feel the new AQA specification is overloaded – so I decided to conduct a rough comparison of the old and new specification by comparing the number of spreads in the old and new Complete Companion. 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 3 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 121-129 (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.
AS/Year 1 compulsory topics
- Social influence old specification=8, new specification=9
- Memory. old=10, new=9
- Attachment. old=12, new=10
- Psychopathology. old=11, new=8
- Y1 research methods. old=10, new=12
- Stress. old=9
Year 2 options
- Y2 research methods. old=10, new=12
- Relationships. old=7, new=10
- Eating. old=8, new=10
- Aggression. old=7, new=10
- Gender. old=8, new=8
- Cognition. old=7, new=7
- Schizophrenia. old=5, new=9
- Addiction. old=7, new=12
- Forensic. new=13
- Stress. new=13
- Issues and debates. new=7
- Approaches. new=8
- Biopsychology. new=11