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Modern Studies

About the exam

About the exam

Modern Studies consists of two papers, worth 90 marks in total:

  • In paper one you will be required to answer four essays worth 15 marks each. Therefore the maximum number of marks available for this paper is 60.
  • Paper two consists of 10 evaluating questions, each worth two marks, and a decision-making exercise worth 20 marks. Therefore the maximum number of marks available for this paper is 30.

This revision bite focuses on paper one, for more information about paper two check out the section on the the decision making exercise.

Paper one

On the front of your paper, the sections will be outlined. You will have to answer four essay questions:

  • One from Section A: UK Political Issues
  • One from Section B: UK Social Issues
  • One from Section C: International Issues
  • One other from Section A OR Section C

Ensure you know what sections you have covered in class. Circle these areas to ensure that you do not try to answer a section you have not studied.

Once you have opened your paper read through the questions in the relevant sections and circle the essays you are going to answer.

Remember you do not have to do them in order, however be sure that you clearly write what essay question you are answering on your paper.

Types of questions

Paper one questions are analytical in style. You will have to show Knowledge and Understanding (KU) of a particular issue. You will also have to analyse and evaluate the arguments.

Success in Paper 1

  • Always read the question very carefully - and only answer the question asked. Don’t try and fit essays you have memorised to the question!
  • Take care over the time. Four questions in 90 minutes is only 22.5 minutes per question.
  • Always ensure you take a watch into your exam and place it on the table. Timing in the essays is crucial.
  • You will never get over 15 marks for an essay so do not write more than what is required.
  • Develop your points within a structure.
  • Make sure you answer the four questions!

Example question from the 2009 paper:


To what extent does social class affect voting behaviour? (15 marks)


Here is the structure you would use to make each point in your essay:

Point: "Social class is a measure of a person’s status in society and evidence shows that people in the different social classes vote in different ways."

Explain: "More people voted conservative in social classes A/B in the 2005 UK elections than voted for any other party. The Conservative party has traditionally had more support from the wealthier social classes."

Example: "According to ICM [market research company] the Conservatives were supported by 32% of all A/B voters in the 2005 UK election"

Balance: "However not all voters in social classes A/B voted Conservative as in the UK General election of 2005 32% of A/B voters choose Labour and 24% choose the Liberal Democrats."

Always provide meaningful conclusions based on the evidence that you present.

Have a look at the Modern Studies Higher Test Paper 2008. Try some questions then use the Paper 1 marking scheme and the Paper 2 marking scheme to evaluate your essay content.

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