Specifications that use this resource:

Summary of changes

We've outlined the main changes in assessment and subject content from our previous GCSE Sociology (4190) to the new GCSE Sociology specification (8192).

Changes to GCSE Sociology

What's new What's gone What's the same What's changed

Simple and straightforward layout of our papers. Eleven questions on each topic, with the same mark allocations in the same order for each topic.

Each topic begins with two muiltiple choice questions, then a range of low tariff questions, 2, 3 and 4 mark questions, leading to two twelve mark mini essays.

All questions are compulsory.

Mass media has been removed as a separate topic, although mass media is still a key term listed in the Appendix in the specification.

The broad content of the specification is essentially the same as the legacy specification.

There is no reference in the assessment objectives any more to selecting and interpreting.

There are now just four topics
  • Families
  • Education
  • Crime and deviance
  • Social stratification

Power has been removed as a separate topic but Power and authority and Power relationships are now sub-topics within the topic of Social Stratification

The weighting of the assessment objectives is the same – 40% AO1, 40% AO2 and 20% AO3.

Making elementary deductions from diagrams, charts, graphs and tables of statistics as well as numerical, written and other visual material has gone but students still need to demonstrate the ability to interpret data presented in a variety of forms.

Section 3.1 The Sociological Approach outlines the new content in terms of theories and key studies.

Students are expected to know about theories in the context of the four main topic areas:
  • Functionalism
  • Interaction
  • Marxism
  • Feminism

Students also need to know about the New Right, specifically in the context of social stratification.

Students need to know about the 25 key studies and may be asked specific questions about these studies.

Social inequality has been removed as a separate topic but this content now forms part of the new topic of Social stratification.


Students need to produce a conclusion to the mini-essays – this is specifically mentioned in the mark scheme.

Unit 1 Studying Society has become Section 3.1 The Sociological Approach and Section 3.7 Sociological Research Methods.

Theories and methods questions will be integrated into the four main topic areas. There is no freestanding Theory and methods section on the question papers.

For each topic area students are expected to demonstrate an understanding of relevant methods and methodological issues.


Grade descriptions are not provided in the specification anymore but grade descriptors are available on the Ofqual website.

Families (new content).

Section 3.3.4 Changing relationships within families.

How relationships within families have changed over time. Students should be able to identify, describe and explain how relationships within families have changed over time (preindustrial, industrial and contemporary modern).

The theory of the symmetrical family and the principle of stratified diffusion developed from the functionalist perspective of Young and Willmott.


Social stratification (new content)

Section 3.6.1 Functionalist theory of stratification. Section 3.6.5 Power and authority:
  • Different forms of power and authority.
  • Sociological perspectives on power and authority (functionalist, Marxist and feminist).
  • The work of Weber on power and authority.

Specifications that use this resource: