AQA Preparation For Working Life

Yes, the exam is ridiculous, but might as well get a good grade for it, eh?

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  • Created by: dani
  • Created on: 07-03-10 15:34

The Exam Paper

There are three sections to the exam - Section A, B and C.

They cover four subject areas:

  • Working Life
  • Leisure Time
  • Personal Well-being
  • Health & Diet

There are various key areas within the four subject areas, which will be covered later on.

For the written paper, you are allowed 1 hour 30 minutes.
The marks are out of 80, and you will receive a Short Course (1/2) GCSE.

Although some questions may seem to be personal opinion, this short revision guide should give you the basic answers they are looking for. It will go through each Key Area and tell you what to write (or choose, in the multiple choice questions.)

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The Exam Paper: The 3 Sections

Section A: Multiple Choice Questions
- Employees in a company are the ...
A. bosses.
B. workers.
C. representatives.
D. inspectors.

Section B: Short Written Answers (1 - 3 marks)
- Ali wants to use good body language at a job interview. Give three different ways how he can do this.

Section C: Longer Written Answers (2 - 12 marks)
In the third section, there will almost always be a hazard question where you must write out around 6 hazards found in a cartoon picture. This often holds the most marks.

The questions are also considerably longer, with three parts (a, b, c). There will also be a long-answer question at the end. (Worth around 9 marks)

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Preparation For Working Life: Key Areas

You will be tested on:

  • Personal, Intellectual, Emotional & Social Awareness
  • Economic & Environmental Factors
  • Self concept
  • Balanced diet & regular exercise
  • Intellectual stimulation
  • Rest and sleep
  • Recreation
  • Social interaction
  • Stress & Depression
  • Risks of smoking, alcohol and drugs
  • DR ABC


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PFWL: Key Areas (continued)

You will be tested on (cont'd):

  • Formal relationships
  • Informal roles
  • Family life
  • Impact of separation, divorce, bereavement
  • Life events
  • Diversity - racism, bullying, prejudice & discrimination
  • Types of work
  • Technology: ICT, CAD, CAM, E-mail, Internet, Robots
  • Location of businesses
  • Training
  • Unemployment
  • Where to go for a new job
  • The impact of industry
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Key Answers: Physical & Intellectual Awareness

The following cards provide key answers for the key areas that will be found in the exam.

Physical Awareness

  • Your state of health
  • How illnesses will affect your well-being
  • The importance of breakfast to ensure concentration for the morning's work
  • Building site workers often have breakfast before work starts.

Intellectual Awareness

  • Have you inherited your intelligence?
  • How has your intelligence been affected by your environment?
  • How your education has developed your intelligence allowing you to gain GCSEs, A levels, Degrees


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Key Answers: Emotional & Social Awareness

Emotional Awareness

  • How can happiness, grief or envy affect your personality?
  • Will these feelings affect your ability to work?
  • Someone who has lots of concerns with their personal life may find concentrating at work very difficult. To be caring and polite will also be difficult if you are under emotional stress.

Social Awareness

  • Social skills required in a formal situation especially in the work situation eg. interview
  • Social skills used when meeting friends in an informal situation
  • Informal situation with older work colleagues


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Key Answers: Economic & Environmental Factors

Economic Factors

  • A successful company will be able to train and offer good deals for employees
  • A company with limited profits will need commitment from employees for basic pay
  • The world market will influence profit by exchange rates etc.

Environmental Factors

  • Type of housing, transportation to work, location of business, air conditioning etc.
  • Location of work or business - in a village with green open spaces, fresh air or in a city with pollution for people and cars


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Key Answers: Self Concept, Diet & Exercise

Self Concept

  • What you understand about yourself - age, gender, culture, and life experiences
  • What you think of others
  • Those with high levels of self-belief go far in the career ladder as failing will never be an issue, while others will always feel someone is better.

Balanced Diet

  • Using the Balance of Good Health plate by eating a good variety of foods daily
  • Enough to keep brain and body working, but not overeating to cause obesity

Regular Exercise

  • 20-30 minutes of exercise 3-5 times a week to keep strength, stamina and suppleness with the body


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Key Answers: Intellectual Stimulation, Sleep & Rec

Intellectual Stimulation

  • 6 - 8 glasses of water daily and a breakfast will help the brain to work
  • Interesting and challenging work helps stimulate the brain and keeps employees happy
  • Boring, repetitive jobs make unhappy employees

Rest and Sleep

  • 6-8 hours of sleep increases concentraion and happiness
  • New babies, late nights, and computer games prevent employees being able to focus for 8 hours
  • Lunch hours and breaks help to break routines and improve concentration


  • Taking breaks, going for a walk at lunchtime to increase concentration


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Key Answers: Social Interaction & Stress

Social Interaction

  • Going out to celebrate together, birthdays, team exercises, charity events together help to mae colleagues care about each other and work betters as a team


  • Symptoms: not sleeping, not eating properly, agitated all the time, over-tired
  • Managing stress: set goals for the day and achieve them all; reduce work loads; time off with GPs advice; regular exercise, eating and sleep


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Key Answers: Depression, DR ABC


  • Caused by: poor working or living conditions, bereavement, divorced, over-tired, or financial worries
  • Results in: late to work due to over-sleeping, poor diet, no energy so lack of exercise, quick and uncontrollable tempers or silent employees who do not respond or communicated well.


  • Basic First Aid to cope with emergencies

Danger Response . Airway Breathing Circulation


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Key Answers: Substance Abuse & Relationships

Risks of smoking, alcohol and drugs

Substance abuse can cause:

  • Physical problems: infections, tiredness, cancers, heart diseases leading to sick leave
  • Intellectual problems: lack of concentration, inability to complete tasks leading to a loss of business
  • Emotional problems: always in need of the next fix, lack of interest in others, self-centered on the next fix. Not thinking about work.
  • Socail problems: quick and uncontrollable tempers, difficult to get on with

Formal relationships

  • The relationship between employees and employer.
  • Representing the company in the community


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Key Answers: Informal roles & Family life

Informal Roles

  • These are within families, friends, neighbours, and other social groups we belong to.

Family Life

  • The need for maternity and paternity
  • The need for parents to have time off for sick children, school holidays, school sports days etc.
  • Parents need to think about child care and flexi-time.
  • Parents need to work to finance their families


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Key Answers: Separation, Divorce, Bereavement & Li

Impact of separation, divorce, bereavement

  • Time off to support other family members
  • Ilness caused by these events - stress & depression
  • Lack of interest in work - work seems less important

Life Events

  • A new job - always stressful and challenging
  • A new house - stressful and tiring
  • Redundancy - depression and despair
  • Community help can be given from GPs, Job Centres and Citizen's Advice Bureaux


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Key Answers: Diversity

Diversity - Racism, Bullying, Prejudice & Discrimination

  • These issues are very difficult as people have deep-seated beliefs and attitudes which can deeply offend others
  • How should employers and employees work together to keep a cooperative, friendly working environment where people feel safe and valued?
  • Issues should be discussed, resolved and actions taken within the Law
  • The Campain for Racial Equality exists to ensure the rights of everyone are upheld


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Key Answers: Types of Work

Types of Work

  • Part-time jobs
  • Flexi-time: working your hours to suit you, working enough hours in the week to take Friday afternoon off
  • Freelance: employed while there is the work but employer does not pay taxes of National Insurance contributions - the employee has to.
  • Fixed-term contracts: time limit set on your employment
  • Self-employed: managing your own company
  • Free-market: within the European Union we can work in any country
  • Voluntary employment: working without pay
  • Job-share: often suits people with children


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Key Answers: Technology & Training

Technology: ICT, CAD, CAM, E-mail, Internet, Robots

  • When these fast, easy-to-use technologies are introduced into the work place their speed and efficiencies have helped to reduced costs
  • However, this also leads to a reduced number of employees needed
  • Possibly allows more people to work from home suiting them better
  • However, may mean longer hours


  • Further education: A levels
  • College courses could be full-time or part-time for vocational courses with day release
  • An apprenticeship where you can go to college one day a week eg. brick laying, car mechanics, electrician
  • An apprenticeship where all the training is done with the company eg. hairdressing


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Key Answers: Location of Businesses, New jobs

Location of businesses

Different companies are based in different parts of the UK due to resources and minerals. For example:

  • Coal mines were located where the deposits of coal were
  • Car-making factories are near the coast for delivery of parts by boat eg. Fords at Southampton
  • Government Depts eg. Car Taxation Dept. are in South Wals where house etc. is cheaper for employees

Where to go for a new job

  • Once you have signed on, you are entitled to Job Seeker's Allowance, access to Job Clubs and other Government initiatives
  • Redundancy can involve compensation if Employment Law allows


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Key Answers: Unemployment & Industry

Unemployment - why may this occur?

  • Redundancy caused by the fall in the company's profits
  • Ill-health
  • Injury
  • Lack of demand for your skill
  • Job shortage

The Impact of Industry

  • Positive effects: wealth to the compan , locality, and nation. Dependency on supplier companies (i.e car manufacturers need companies to supply parts), value of exports and cost of imports
  • Negative effects: air and water pollution, waste recycling necessary of unpleasant buildings surrounded by industrial waste


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Answering Questions - Personal Opinion

Sometimes, it may seem that the questions (especially in Section A) are personal opinion or impossible to answer. Here is an example:

Which of the following is an expected life event?
A. Redundancy
B. Starting work
C. Bereavement
D. Divorce

In this question, you would think that all of them are expect life events.
So which one does AQA want you to answer?
You may suspect it's B - this is afterall a paper on Preparation For Working Life.

But the actual answer is Bereavement. Redundancy isn't really thought to be expected when you start a job, and some people never actually start work. Divorce can be avoided by not marrying. It seems obvious that, although we can't avoid it, we will become bereaved at some time in our life.

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Answering Questions - Easy Questions

We all like easy questions, though some may be so easy you think there is something you're missing. But honestly - some questions in the paper will be incredibly easy, and some will just be common sense.


Girl 1 - "I've passed my Preparation for Working Life examination. It's great."
Girl 2 - "Me too - let's celebrate!"

The emotion the girls are showing is...
A. envy.
B. kindness.
C. happiness.
D. sympathy.

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Things You Need To Know

There are various codes and terms that you need to know and understand their definitions:

  • CAD (Computer Aided Design)
  • PAYE (Pay As You Earn)
  • P45 (from your employer when you stop working for them. It's a record of your pay and the tax that's been deducted from it)
  • P60 (summary of your pay and the tax that's been deducted from it in the tax year)
  • Debit & Credit cards
  • Contracts & Types of work (i.e part-time, full-time, self-employed etc.)
  • Wages: Gross pay (before deductions) and Net pay (after deductions)
  • Process of getting a job: Job advert --> Send for application form --> Complete application form --> Interview --> Acceptance letter --> Start work
  • Interview techniques and preparation
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Answering Questions - Tax & Money questions

There will most likely be at least one question that involves some simple maths.

Example -

Janice's net pay is £941 per month. She pays £87 National Insurance and £318 Income Tax.
What is Janice's gross pay each month?

As you can see, you need to know about net pay, insurance and income tax.

How to work it out:

(Net pay - wage after deductions
Gross pay - wage before deduction)

You are trying to work out how much she earns before paying out £87 and £318

Therefore, add £87 and £318 to her net pay, and you have her gross pay (£1346).

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AQA Past Papers

Past papers:

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Julian Speirs

An excellent resource that promotes much thought

Josh Gay

- Thanks.


I have my exam tomorrow and this is just what I needed to get my revision on track. Thanks. As you said, the exam is pointless but I might as well try :p


Thanks so much, very helpful as very few resources actually available for this!


Thank You! ;D


Thankyou so much! I have a mock for this tomorrow and this really helped:)

Georgia Sowden



This is good tingaling! Thanks for helping me cheat on my test... joking :P


Thank you so much, this was so useful (:

tanaya patel

very helpful thank youu!! :D


thank you very helpful for my exam on monday thank you once again.



Kate Joel

Thanks couldn't find anywhere that would help me for this subject! Let's hope the exam goes well tomorrow even if it is pointless, I might as well try! :) thankyouu!

Kate Joel

Thanks couldn't find anywhere that would help me for this subject! Let's hope the exam goes well tomorrow even if it is pointless, I might as well try! :) thankyouu!


This is a really helpful resource, but I just want to add that on the expected life event question according to the mark scheme/question paper of June 2009 they would want you to say 'Starting Work' not 'Bereavement'.


What the highest grade that you can get in this exam.




This is soo useful thankyou so much!

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