Families & Households Exam Structure

What is expected of you in the exam and a brief outline of Families & Households syllabus. :)

  • Created by: Hannah
  • Created on: 06-05-09 15:00

One hour exam, five questions

  • a) Define... (2 marks)
  • b) Suggest TWO... (4 marks)
  • c) Suggest THREE... (6 marks)
  • d) Examine... (24 marks)
  • e) Assess... (24 marks)

You are advised to spend 25 minutes on each 24 mark question leaving you 10 minutes to answer the short-answer questions (doing them in less time than that is preferable!)

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Short answer questions

The 2, 4 and 6 mark questions can be answered in bullet points, not in continuous prose - just make sure you have a short sentence explaining your answer to get full marks.

For example:

Suggest two reasons for the decline in the birth rate. (4 marks)

  • Changing roles of women - women are more focused on their education and careers and are not focused on the family.
  • Decline in infant mortality - this means that parents are focusing more on a couple of children rather than having loads.
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Essay questions

There are two types of 24 mark question.
(d) is an examine question and (e) is an assess.

In the examine question you do not explicitly evaluate, but instead stick to the question. However you can weave in evaluation throughout the essay to get in the top band.

In the assess question you, well, assess. This means evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the argument given to you. You will also need to explicitly refer to the item given to you.


Also, remember studies. :)

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Example essay questions

To get past papers I recommend going on the AQA website and downloading them - these are some example questions I got from there.

Examine the ways in which social policies and laws may influence families and households. (24 marks)

Notice the "examine". Now list about 4 policies or laws that influence families and households as a quick plan. You'll need to go into depth about these and don't waste your time evaluating.

Because you're talking about policies, you don't really need studies and those who done them - but make sure for the exam you know lots of studies and policies to use.

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Example essay questions ctd.

Using material from Item 2B and elsewhere, assess the view that it no longer makes sense to talk about the 'patriarchal family'. (24 marks)

Remember to ASSESS - you could use two major theories to do this. Feminism and functionalism. Talk about how functionalism believes that the family is now "symmetrical" (remember your studies!) and evaluate with feminism who still believes there is a patriarchal family.

Try and make three points for each theory, using plenty of studies and don't forget to refer to the item explicitly (and relate it to your essay) so that the examiner has no excuse to overlook it.

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Example essay questions ctd.

For example,
...Item B states, "during the 19th century, married women were ncreasingly excluded from paid work, so the husband was often the sole breadwinner"; however according to Young and Willmott, the family is now more symmetrical as wives are increasingly focusing on their careers and there is an equal share of household tasks between them...

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Main subject areas

I thought I'd mention the main subject areas so that it is easier to revise certain topics for the exam which you think you're weak on.

  • What is the family?
  • Industrialisation
  • Demography
  • Theories of the family
  • Gender roles (DDOL)
  • Childhood
  • Family and Social Policy

As a task, try and think of as many studies and theorists as you can for each subject area - some may overlap into a few.

Maybe you should look back on those that you can't name any studies for.


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