The Grey Coat Hospital

Church of England Comprehensive School for Girls

Social Sciences

'A' level Sociology

What is sociology?

Everybody lives in a Society and experiences daily life. Sociologists think this is worth studying. Society shapes our lives. Sociology is the study of the individuals, groups and institutions and their relations that make up human society. Examples of research carried out by Sociologists include:

  • The disabled as a political group.
  • Youth Culture and discrimination.
  • Do prisons work?
  • Gender Socialisation in the 90s.
  • Who benefits from the family?
  • Stereotyping and ethnic minorities.
  • Social class and school achievement.
  • Post Modernism and parenting.
  • Media coverage of sport and gender

Course information

What GCSEs do I need?

You don’t need to have studied Sociology at GCSE. All that is required is that you have 5 GCSEs at grade C or above including English language.

How is it taught?

There are a variety of strategies: mini-lectures, discussions, research, essays, videos, Internet sessions, classroom activities etc. You will also attend a Sociology conference and hear REAL Sociologists talk about their work.

Will I enjoy it?

YES if you are the sort of person who is interested in people /society, asks questions, doesn’t always take the world at face value and enjoys a good debate.

Why is it useful to me?

Sociology is a useful general qualification for all professions (including Law and Medicine) where a knowledge and understanding of people is required.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Yes. Be prepared to work hard you will have regular essays to do. You will need to read around the subject for 2 hours per week and read /research for essays for 2 hours per week, this is in addition to your classes. You will be given a textbook for this purpose by the Sociology department. It is an interesting course but don’t expect to sit back and be entertained YOU need to participate to fully benefit.

How to do really, really well in Sociology!

If you are serious about doing well in Sociology read on. It is actually very simple but this doesn’t mean easy.

  • Attend all lessons.
  • Do all Homework assignments set by the teacher.
  • Take your teacher’s advice on board about how to improve.
  • Read the textbook on a weekly basis.
  • Watch the news at least twice a week.
  • Try to use a variety of sources such as Sociology Review, Sociology dictionaries, studies, newspaper articles, and other Sociology textbooks when you are writing an essay.
  • Always do an essay plan.
  • Revise in plenty of time and plan your revision.
  • Get plenty of exam practice.
  • Make use of past papers
  • Join in with discussions and ASK QUESTIONS!
  • Have regular breaks when studying.

This is general advice that will really improve any student’s performance, some of it seems so obvious but it is surprising how some students neglect these basics and then wonder why they fail. The important point is YOU have to actually do these things. It is no good knowing them and not actually doing them. YOU know when you worked hard and when you wasted time. Be honest! There is no short cut or magic trick to it.

Specific subject advice is not reproduced here, as you will get plenty of this from your teacher and textbook.

Quotes from students & "Advice to those starting year 12!"

“Be organised - there is a lot of information given out over the course."
“Read the newspaper and watch the news - you need it for contemporary examples-which you must include in your essays."
“Always update your glossary of key concepts regularly so you can get used to them BEFORE the exams."
“Sociology opens your eyes to new ways of thinking."
“It shows you how society looks upon you and defines you."