Different question types

3 mark questions

3 mark questions are 100% AO1. So, you don’t need to evaluate or analyse the arguments. Just a short sentence or two – if accurate – is enough to get full marks and writing too much (especially if it is irrelevant) will actually lose you marks.

5 mark questions

5 mark questions are very similar to 3 mark questions except you will be asked to explain a slightly more detailed concept or argument.

Again, don’t write too much – just define any key terms in the question and then explain the idea or concept you are asked to explain. Don’t analyse or evaluate.

12 mark questions

12 mark questions are still 100% AO1 and so you don’t need to analyse or evaluate.

The topics you will be asked about will require you to write a bit more, but you still only have to explain an idea or argument – you don’t have to evaluate whether it is correct or not. As always, a good place to start your answer is by defining the key terms in the question.

25 mark questions

25 mark questions are the only questions that involve AO2, i.e. analysis and evaluation. A good 25 mark response will argue to a conclusion in a format like the following:

  • Introduction
    • Define key points
  • Explain which side you are arguing for (E.g. “In this essay I will argue for theory X”)
  • Argument for theory X
    • Possible response to this argument
      • Response to this response
  • Argument against theory X
    • Response to this argument
  • Conclusion: Theory X is correct because of the arguments above

For examples of answers that make the top grade boundary (21-25 marks) check out the example essays page.

AQA philosophy 25 mark question mark scheme