Scheme of assessment

Find past papers and mark schemes, and specimen papers for new courses, on our website at

This specification is designed to be taken over two years.

This is a linear qualification. In order to achieve the award, students must complete all assessments at the end of the course and in the same series.

A-level exams and certification for this specification are available for the first time in May/June 2019 and then every May/June for the life of the specification.

All materials are available in English only.

Our A-level exams in Politics include questions that allow students to demonstrate their ability to:

  • recall information
  • draw together information from different areas of the specification
  • apply their knowledge and understanding in practical and theoretical contexts.

Our A-level exams in politics include three broad question types.

9 mark questions require students to explain and analyse different political institutions, processes, concepts, theories and issues prescribed in the specification. Students are required to develop and substantiate at least three points in a structured, analytical answer, making use of appropriate political vocabulary and examples to substantiate their answer.

25 mark extract based questions require students to comprehend and interpret the argument(s) contained in political information, using their knowledge and understanding of the issue to analyse and evaluate the argument(s) put forward. The answer should be balanced, maintain a sustained line of reasoning and lead to a reasoned conclusion, communicated with relevance, clarity and coherence. The political information used in exams may take the form of political publications, government publications, newspaper extracts, manifestos, visual material and data.

25 mark essay questions require students to analyse and evaluate a given statement using their knowledge and understanding of the issue under discussion. The question may draw from different sections of the specification, requiring students to identify and substantiate parallels, connections, similarities and differences between aspects of politics studied. The answer should take the form of a structured and balanced argument, maintaining a sustained line of reasoning, communicated with relevance, clarity and coherence and leading to a reasoned conclusion. The 25 mark essay questions for comparative politics (component 2, section C), will require students to make explicit comparisons between UK and US government and politics.


Courses based on this specification must encourage students to:

  • develop knowledge and an informed understanding of contemporary political structures and issues in their historical context, both within the UK and globally
  • develop a critical awareness of the changing nature of politics and the relationships between political ideas, institutions and processes
  • develop knowledge and an informed understanding of the influences and interests which have an impact on decisions in government and politics
  • develop knowledge and an informed understanding of the rights and responsibilities of individuals and groups
  • develop the ability to critically analyse, interpret and evaluate political information to form arguments and make judgements
  • develop an interest in, and engagement with, contemporary politics.

Assessment objectives

Assessment objectives (AOs) are set by Ofqual and are the same across all A-level Politics specifications and all exam boards.

The exams will measure how students have achieved the following assessment objectives.

  • AO1: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of political institutions, processes, concepts, theories and issues.
  • AO2: Analyse aspects of politics and political information, including in relation to parallels, connections, similarities and differences.
  • AO3: Evaluate aspects of politics and political information, including to construct arguments, make substantiated judgements and draw conclusions.

Assessment objective weightings for A-level Politics

Assessment objectives (AOs) Component weightings (approx %) Overall weighting (approx %)
Paper 1 Paper 2 Paper 3
AO1 30-40 30-40 30-40 30-40
AO2 35-45 35-45 35-45 35-45
AO3 25-35 25-35 25-35 25-35
Overall weighting of components 33⅓ 33⅓ 33⅓ 100

Assessment weightings

The marks awarded on the papers will be scaled to meet the weighting of the components. Students’ final marks will be calculated by adding together the scaled marks for each component. Grade boundaries will be set using this total scaled mark. The scaling and total scaled marks are shown in the table below.

Component Maximum raw mark Scaling factor Maximum scaled mark
Paper 1 77 x1 77
Paper 2 77 x1 77
Paper 3 77 x1 77
Total scaled mark: 231