AQA Essay Structure Tips and Tricks

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Okay so some people were wondering how to structure an essay, so I'm gonna use one of my A accredited essays on gender differences as an example and hopefully help out a little..

Firstly - people worry over how many sociologists you need to include, we were told that you do not need to 'over populate' your essay (i liked that term). You DO NOT get credit for just chucking in a name here and there. The marks come from how much you apply the sociologist to the question. For example, this is the paragraph I wrote on Roger Slee (1998) : 

Roger Slee (1998) argues that this sort of behaviour (laddish subcultures mentioned in previous paragraph btw guys) is why boys are less attractive to schools because of ''behaviour issues, and they are four times more likely to be excluded than girls'' This is when a case of self-fullfilling proficy occurs, creating a cycle within the system. The change here? Attitudes towards boys being accademic is decreasing and education becoming feminised - yet again advantaging girls explaining the gender gap.

Now, my teacher ticked the quote, the bit about feminisation and the bit about explaining the gender gap. Note that she did not tick his name or the date - this is just extra information that shows the examiner you learnt a name. big deal? you learnt some dudes name. Its how you apply his theory to the question is what gets you the points. She (my teacher) noted that it was ''a tricky one! but you made it relevant, well done!'' proving my point. 

Second point when writing an essay is how much AO1 and AO2 you include. So for those of you reading and thinking 'er what even is she on about?' here...

AO1 - Knowledge and Understanding.  The stuff you write here shows that you know and understand sociologial theories, concepts and methods. Also shows you know the most important sociological studies. 

AO2 - Interpretation and Application. This is higher level stuff that gets you higher grades. Its selecting relevant material to answer the question and quoting appropriate material from the item. Also, using relevant examples from current situations and your own knowledge such as something you saw in the news. Mainly though its linking ideas together. Key phrase to use to get AO2 points is THIS MEANS THAT.....

Dont be fooled by thinking your WHOLE essay needs to be AO2, it doesnt. Strong AO1 is just as important as it means you show your knowledge and that you learnt stuff in your lessons! 

Setting out your essay...

In your head, you need to have a rough plan of how you're going to go about writing your



thank you!!


thank you!!!! haha especially for that tip --> 4/5 main points

my teacher says when you structuring your paragraph remember PEEL

point explain evidence(example) Link to question, and critic. 

and if you want to have a good conclusion my teacher says this will empress the examiner if you write however, its not just Gender that contributes to difference in education achievement but also ethnicity, social class, internal external. all off these factors contribute, so you cannot just generalize using one factor<-- something like that.  if you can improve that please reply back thanks.

Leanne Collins

see i would say to start with AO1 is easier as its like a quick fire round, showing your knowledge, then you can start to delve deeper into your key ideas which gains you AO2 points. The PEEL thing we use PEC (point evidence conclusion) but sometimes can be a bit vague so yeah yours seems better!

yeah basically what ive written about conslusions there! if you can bring in and link to other factors it just shows a greater understanding and that you know everthing is impacted by the other, for instance - material and cultural deprivation usually are linked strongly so if you write an essay on one, the other could be used quickly in a conclusion! (:

thank you so much for commenting!


thank you! this really has helped me! 


Thanks Leanne, this is so good! :) 

Gareth Collins (Ex-Team-GR)

Another strong guide. 


This is amazing, Leanne. Loved the witty comments haha! Its just so simple, why cant every revision material be like this haha!


this was so helpful thank you very much **

Ditsy Ninjaa

Thanks Leane! :D


amazing thanks so much!


Thank you! 


omg ! yassss ! you just saved my life ! amazing work !

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