Category Archives: Exam Skills

How to answer the 12 Mark Analyse Question for Global Politics (Edexcel)

The 12 Mark Analyse is the second of the two 12 Mark questions on Paper 3. For this question there will be no choice and there will be one question that needs to be answered. Like the Examine Question, this question only assesses AO1 and AO2 and not AO2. This has an impact on how the question needs to be structured to ensure the best use of time in order to maximise the marks available.

What will be asked in the 12 Mark Analyse Question?

The 12 Mark Analyse question will ask you to care the view of Liberals and Realists on an issue in global politics. Examples of this might be:

Analyse the divisions between Realists and Liberals on Human Nature (12 Marks)

Analyse the divisions between realists and liberals on Power in global politics (12 Marks)

Analyse the divisions between realists and liberals on the role of IGOs (12 Marks)

In addition, the exam board could ask about the Anarchical States Theory and Society of States Theory. For example, a question might look like:

Analyse the explanations of global politics provided by anarchical society theory (12 Marks)

You must compare to one comparative theory

What should the structure of the 12 Mark Examine Question look like?

The requirement of the question to compare and contrast the theories is an important factor in how it should be structured. It is imperative that you do not simply write about one thing and then the other. If you do this, whilst you may score highly for AO1 it will be hard to comparatively analyse the things to a similar degree. Instead, therefore, you should look to select themes through which to address the question. You should aim to pick three themes through which the two theories can be directly compared and contrasted.

In addition, as there is no AO3 attached to this question, writing an introduction or a conclusion is entirely redundant.

A useful mnemonic that can be used (similar to the Examine Question) in each paragraph is S.E.E.M:

Signpost the point you are making that allows comparison of the two theories

Explain the first thing in relation to the question

Examples can be used to extend your explanation

Make comparison to the other theory

What is the synoptic requirement?

There is a synoptic requirement for this question and that is that ‘in your answer you must discuss any relevant core political ideas’. This means reference must be made to Socialism, Conservatism and/or Liberalism in your answer. This is undoubtedly a strange requirement and feel utterly superficious (the exam board had to include it to try to keep the global paper comparable to the US Paper. This requirement is not burdensome – you simply have to show the examiner that you have done it.

What will the question assess on?

The specification outlines the global issues that will be assessed as part of the global paper. They are:

This means that with preparation, students can cover much of the question planning for this question.

Exemplar Question – Analyse the Realist and Liberal views towards globalisation (12 Marks)

Liberals and Realists have different views on economic globalisation. Liberals are extremely optimistic about globalisation and its potential to create mutual interdependence between states. This will consequently force states to cooperate, creating greater opportunities of peace and security. For example, Bretton Woods organisations like the WTO regulate trade and create economic prosperity. Consequently, Liberals also believe economic globalisation contributes to the Dell Theory of Conflict Resolution. This states that states that countries that dependent on each other for trade are unlikely to go war. They would argue that the trading ties between the US and China stop the tension in the South China Sea developing into war. Conversely, realists are less optimistic about the ability of economic globalisation to create peace and prosperity. Realists believe that states are only concerned with the maximisation of their power relatively to their rivals. They believe that the world is most predictable with a Hobbesian Leviathan. Realists believe in a winner-takes-all belief in Politics which will see powerful countries and TNCs dominating. They are also less committed to free trade, advocating protectionism to protect the economic interests of their own state. For example, the realist policy of Trump’s 25% steel tariffs on China to ‘make America great again’ would be fair to a realist whilst they would recognise even the EU has over 11,000 tariffs on agricultural goods.

There are also differences on political globalisation. Liberals believe that states and Non-State actors will naturally cooperate over political issues to deal with collective dilemmas. This is in line with the classical liberal views on rationalism. As such, they believe IGOs provide a vital mechanism for dealing with collective issues. For example, Liberals would point to the UNFCC and its success in dealing with Climate Change through enabling treaties like the Paris Climate Agreement. In addition, Liberals believe that globalisation has helped create an international rules-based order that effectively regulates behaviour without the needs for conflict. For example, a liberal would point to the success of the UN in reducing nuclear arms through agreements such as the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Contrastingly, realists are convinced of the primacy of nation-states over any international bodies and believe that the continuation of the Westphalian System is beneficial. Realists do not believe that international law has much force and that powerful states can and will act outside of it if it is in their interests. For example, the decision of Britain to defy a ICJ ruling that they should return the Chagos Islands or the US assassination of Qassam Solemeini show the willingness of states to ignore international law when it is in its interests.

Finally, liberals and realists differ on merits of cultural globalisation. Liberals believe that the flow low of ideas is a benefit to global society. Liberals believe that cultural globalisation allow the spread of liberal values like gender equality and free speech. For example, cultural events like the World Cup in Qatar 2022 allowed for international condemnation of anti-LGBT policies to be heard. There is commonality here with the Rawlesian view of the veil of ignorance, with people not being willing to overlook rights abuses elsewhere just because their right are assured. In particular, they believe that it is likely to lead to the growth and strengthening of liberal democracies, which in turn will make the world a safer place. For example, the Arab Spring saw a wave of pro-democracy protests that quickly spread across North Africa and the Middle-East, toppling a number of dictators. Contrastingly, realists are sceptical of the benefits of cultural globalisation. They are concerned that cultural globalisation creates a monoculture that dampens national identity. For example, the Americanisation of culture may lead to the degradation of local cultural and be a form of cultural imperialism. The growth of right-wing populist movements with strong anti-immigration policies in Europe has been a reaction to fears over cultural globalisation.

What is AO2 and how do you achieve it? (Edexcel)

In A-Level Politics there are three Assessment Objectives:

AO1 – Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of political institutions, processes, concepts, theories and issues (35% of the A-Level).

AO2 – Analyse aspects of politics and political information, including in relation to parallels, connections, similarities and differences (35% of the A-Level).

AO3 – Evaluate aspects of politics and political information, including to construct arguments, make substantiated judgements and draw conclusions. (30% of the A-Level).

What is AO2?

AO2 refers to the ability to analyse information. This means examining the importance of things in relation to the specific question being asked. AO2 builds upon the foundation of AO1. AO2 is what students often find the hardest to do. AO2 also requires students to consider the similarities and differences within Politics. This refers to the ability to make arguments using points and counterpoints.

What is needed for different levels of AO2 according to the Mark Scheme?

Below is criteria for AO2 within the different levels for 30 Mark Essay questions:

Level 1 – Limited comparative analysis of political information with partial, logical chains of reasoning, referring to similarities and/or differences within political information, which make simplistic connections between ideas and concepts.

Level 2 – Some emerging comparative analysis of political information with some focused, logical chains of reasoning, referring to similarities and/or differences within political information, which make some relevant connections between ideas and concepts.

Level 3 – Mostly focused comparative analysis of political information with focused, logical chains of reasoning, drawing on similarities and/or differences within political information, which make mostly relevant connections between ideas and concepts.

Level 4 – Consistent comparative analysis of political information, with coherent, logical chains of reasoning, drawing on similarities and differences within political information, which make relevant connections between ideas and concepts.

Level 5 – Perceptive comparative analysis of political information, with sustained, logical chains of reasoning, drawing on similarities and differences within political information, which make cohesive and convincing connections between ideas and concepts.

What do these descriptors in reality?

The wording of the Mark Scheme is unnecessarily complicated. In reality what they mean is:

Level 1 – The analysis is very limited. The significance and links of different points is limited and simplistic and there is very little focus on the question being asked. There is limited evidence of AO1 being developed. There is no real sense of any argument being made. No real foundation is being made for a substantiated judgement.

Level 2 – Candidates are starting to show that they are analysing information. They are starting to recognise the significance and links between different point, but these might not be well developed. They are starting to show some focus on the question being asked. The AO1 they have deployed is starting to be developed. There is beginning to be a sense of an argument being made which is forming some basis for a substantiated conclusion.

Level 3 – Candidates are showing that they are normally analysing information. They are normally recognising the significance and links between different points, although this could be more consistent. They are normally showing focus on the question and are developing AO1 to drive an argument. There is normally a sense of argument being made and this is forming the basis for a more substantiated judgements.

Level 4 – Candidates are routinely analysing political information. They are routinely recognising the significance and links between different points. They show good focus on the question and develop AO1 well in order to answer the question. There is a clear sense of argument being made throughout and there is a clear basis for a substantiated judgement.

Level 5 – Candidates are not only routinely analysing political information, they are doing this to a high level, often making complex points. They are recognising the significance of key points and make links between them throughout the essay. They show excellent focus on the question and precisely develop AO1 to answer the question. There is a clear argument made throughout and these arguments are consistently cogent. An excellent basis of a substantiated judgement is laid.

What terminology can help signpost AO2 to the examiner?

The use of particular terminology can help to signpost the the examiner that you are doing AO2. Whilst the words themselves are not AO2, they do help to reinforce to the examiner that you are doing so.

Examples of AO2 signpost phrases within paragraphs might include:

  • This shows that
  • This indicates tat
  • This is important because
  • This is significant because
  • This highlight that
  • What this means is
  • This suggests that
  • This supports the idea that
  • This questions the idea that

Examples of AO2 that might highlight that you are considering similar or differing points include:

  • Similarly
  • Likewise
  • Correspondingly
  • Furthermore
  • Moreover
  • Additionally
  • Equally
  • Contrastingly
  • Alternatively
  • Conversely
  • However
  • Nonetheless

How is it decided where in the Level the mark should be placed?

Put simply, the marking in A-Level Politics is ‘best fit’. An examiner will look at the description of the Level above and the level below. If the mark is closer to the Level above than the level below, it will move up within the level. If it is closer to the level below than above, it will be placed further down in the level. If the distance is the same, it will stay in the middle.

What might the different levels look in reality?

In order to see what the different levels might look like in reality, the following question is going to be used:

Q. Evaluate the view that the Executive dominates Parliament in the UK political system (30 Marks)

Below is the first half of a single section of the essay written at each level:

Level 5 AO2

In normal circumstances the government can dominate the House of Commons. The primary cause of this is the First Past the Post voting system which is heavily disproportional and provides the winning party with a ‘winners bonus’. For example, in 2019 it took just 38,000 votes to elect a Conservative MP but 853k to elect a Green MP. This is significant as it means FPTP produces significant majorities, even with less than a significant proportion of the vote. For example, in 2019 the Conservative Party won 56.1% of seats from 43.6% of the vote and the average majority since 1945 is 58.5 seats. This parliamentary arithmetic is enhanced also by the power political parties have over their MPs. It is almost impossible to be elected without the support of a party and MPs rely on their party of their position. Consequently, few MPs are willing to rebel against their party and risk the withdrawal of the whip (as happened to 21 Conservative MPs in 2019) or deselection, as happened to Sam Tarry in 2022. Taken together, these things mean that the government is normally able to pass its agenda without much resistance. For example, both Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher only suffered four Commons defeats each in over a decade as Prime Minister. Alternatively, nonetheless, it is important to note that this dominance of the Commons is not always the case and sometimes there are minority governments that cannot force through their agenda. The best example of this was between the 2017 and 2019 elections when neither Theresa May nor Boris Johnson were able to push their agenda, including their policies on Brexit, through Parliament. During this period Theresa May had her Brexit deal rejected three times, including by a modern record defeat of 230 votes. This shows that when party dominance is challenged, governments can no longer dominating Parliament. This can also be illustrated by the fact that even under majority government there are sometimes significant backbench rebellions. For example, in 2021 there were 99 Conservative MPs who rebelled against Boris Johnson’s Plan-B COVID measures which were only able to be passed with the support of Labour. This indicates that Governments cannot always rely on their party to enforce their domination of Parliament. Ultimately, whilst there are periods where Governments are not dominant, these are rare and circumstantial. Instead, Lord Hailsham’s ‘elective dictatorship’ is normally in operation and the Executive can comfortably dominate the House of Commons.

Rationale: The candidate is clearly made an argument in this section. Not only is there a clear point (normally the government can dominate the commons) and a counter-point (this dominance is not always the case), but these points are very cogent. It is clear that they are routinely explaining the significant of the points they make and making clear links between them to answer the question. There is a very consistent focus on the question throughout and AO1 is precisely developed. Argument flows throughout the section and lays a very clear basis for a well substantiated judgement.

Level 4 AO2

The government can often dominate the House of Commons. One of the reasons for this is the First Past the Post voting system which is heavily disproportional and provides the winning party with a ‘winners bonus’. For example, in 2019 it took just 38,000 votes to elect a Conservative MP but 853k to elect a Green MP. FPTP can even produce significant majorities without a significant proportion of the vote. For example, in 2019 the Conservative Party won 56.1% of seats from 43.6% of the vote. The power of being the largest party is also enhanced by the power political parties have over their MPs. MPs cannot usually get elected without the support of a party and MPs rely on their party of their position. Consequently, few MPs are willing to rebel against their party and risk the withdrawal of the whip, as happened to 21 Conservative MPs in 2019. These things mean that the government is normally able to pass its agenda without much resistance. For example, both Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher only suffered four Commons defeats each in over a decade as Prime Minister. Alternatively, it is important to note that this sometimes Governments do not have their own way and cannot force through their agenda. This is the case with minority governments. The best example of this was between the 2017 and 2019 elections when neither Theresa May nor Boris Johnson were able to push their agenda, including their policies on Brexit, through Parliament. During this period Theresa May had her Brexit deal rejected three times. is can also be illustrated by the fact that even under majority government there are sometimes significant backbench rebellions. For example, in 2021 there were 99 Conservative MPs who rebelled against Boris Johnson’s Plan-B COVID measures. These instances show that governments cannot always rely on their parties in order to dominate Parliament. Ultimately, whilst there are periods when governments do not dominate Parliament, these are rare. Normally, Governments can use the size of their majority to comfortably control the House of Commons.

Rationale: The candidate is making an argument throughout this section. There is a clear point (governments usually dominate the House of Commons) and a counter-point (there are circumstances in which they do not). These points are usually well made and, normally, they are considering the significance of each point they make. Sometimes, they are clearly making links between them focused on the question. The question is well focused on and AO1 is developed very well. There is argument through the question laying the basis for a substantiated judgement.

Level 3 AO2

The government can often dominate the House of Commons. One of the reasons for this is the First Past the Post voting system which creates majority governments. For example, the Conservatives won the 2019 General Election with a majority over 80 seats. Such big majorities bring enormous power as they can win most votes in Parliament. This is the case because in Parliament when their is a vote it is simple the side with the most votes that wins. That means that the government are not likely to lose a vote in the House of Commons if they have a big majority. This is particularly the case because political parties are also able to control their MPs by using the whip. Almost all MPs belong to a political party and MPs are therefore unlikely to rebel against their party leaders. If they do, they may not be allowed to be a member of their party anymore. This means that government are able to pass laws in Parliament without much much problem. On the other hand, government do not have their own way and do not get what they want. This happens when there is a minority government as happened for Theresa May. During this period, she was not able to get her laws passed including the law she wanted to make Brexit happen. This was one of the reasons that she was eventually replaced as Prime Minister by Boris Johnson. In addition, governments often face rebellions by their own MPs. For example, a number of Conservative MPs voted against Boris Johnson’s COVID Plan B measures. This shows that governments cannot always get their own way. Ultimately, whilst there are times when governments do not dominant parliament, they usually do. This is because of the size of their majority and the fact they can keep all their MPs onside.

Rationale: The candidate is making an argument throughout this section. There is a point made (governments usually dominate the House of Commons) and a counter-point (this is not always the case. These points are sometimes well made and there is some consideration of the significance of different points, but this is not always well developed. There is also some commentary on issues that start to lose focus on the question. However, at other points AO1 is well chosen to develop the argument made. There is enough argument n the section to create a clear judgement.

Level 2 AO2

The government are in charge of the House of Commons. They are always the biggest party and this is why they are the government in the first place. For example, the Conservatives form the government currently because they won the last General Election. General Elections happen every five years and then a new government will be in charge. If a government wins the election they are able to win votes in the House of Commons and push through the ideas that they want – this is because in Parliament you just have to have the most votes to win. Governments are also helped because of the whip. The government is able to keep their MPs onside and making them vote the way they want to. They do this using a paper with three lines on it that they give to MPs to tell them how to vote. As a result of this they are able to pass laws easily and rarely lose laws to the opposition. However, its important to note that this does not always happen. Sometimes government are not very powerful and can’t get what they want. The best example of this in recent years is Theresa May. As Prime Minister she wasn’t able to get Brexit through because she wasn’t powerful enough. Ultimately, governments do dominate the House of Commons because of how powerful they are.

Rationale: The candidate is starting to make an argument in this section, however, this is clearly unbalanced. There is an attempted point and counter-point, but they are not considered in the same depth. The significance of different points is not particularly well considered and there are few links between the different points being made. Lots of the commentary is not focusing on the question being asked. There is some knowledge developed, but this is limits in scope. Whilst there are elements of argument, this is far from consistent. There is an attempt at a judgement, but this cannot be substantiated from the previous commentary.

Level 1 AO1

The party that wins the most seats in a General Election becomes the government and is in charge of the House of Commons. The House of Commons is different from the House of Lords because the MPs that sit in are different from the MPs that sit in the Lords because they are elected and the Lords are not. The MPs vote by walking into rooms and the Government have the most MPs so they can make more of their MPs walk into the right room that the opposition. This means MPs can pass whatever laws they want. Sometimes governments are not in control, that was the case with David Cameron who was not able to get his Brexit Deal passed and had to call a referendum because of UKIP. He lost this referendum which shows a weak he is. Overall, governments are very powerful.

Rationale: There is very little analysis in this section. There is little building on the knowledge displayed to answer the question. The sense of argument is very limited and there is not attempt to make a balanced approach to the question. This means that there is no significant judgement being made of any sort.

What is AO1 and how do you achieve it? (Edexcel)

In A-Level Politics there are three Assessment Objectives:

AO1 – Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of political institutions, processes, concepts, theories and issues (35% of the A-Level).

AO2 – Analyse aspects of politics and political information, including in relation to parallels, connections, similarities and differences (35% of the A-Level).

AO3 – Evaluate aspects of politics and political information, including to construct arguments, make substantiated judgements and draw conclusions. (30% of the A-Level).

Why is AO1 so foundational?

AO1 is the foundation for everything else in A-Level Politics. Without good use of knowledge, effective AO2 is not going to be possible and, consequently, AO3 through substantiated judgements will be limited.

What is needed for different levels of AO1 according to the Mark Scheme?

Below is criteria for AO1 within the different levels for 30 Mark Essay questions:

Level 1 – Demonstrates superficial knowledge and understanding of political institutions, processes, concepts, theories and issues, with limited underpinning of analysis and evaluation.

Level 2 – Demonstrates some accurate knowledge and understanding of political institutions, processes, concepts, theories and issues, some of which are selected appropriately in order to underpin analysis and evaluation.

Level 3 – Demonstrates mostly accurate knowledge and understanding of political institutions, processes, concepts, theories and issues, many of which are selected appropriately in order to underpin analysis and evaluation.

Level 4 – Demonstrates accurate knowledge and understanding of political institutions, processes, concepts, theories and issues, which are carefully selected in order to underpin analysis and evaluation.

Level 5 – Demonstrates thorough and in-depth knowledge and understanding of political institutions, processes, concepts, theories and issues, which are effectively selected in order to underpin analysis and evaluation.

What do these descriptors in reality?

The wording of the Mark Scheme is unnecessarily complicated. In reality what they mean is:

Level 1 – The knowledge shown is very limited and the understanding shown of the concepts related to the question is very limited. There is likely to be some significant misunderstanding of concepts and mistaken facts. Any accurate knowledge shown is not really being used to answer the question.

Level 2 – Candidates are starting to show some accurate knowledge. The knowledge used, however, is likely to be limited. In addition, there may also be some inaccuracy. The candidate is starting to show some understanding of the concepts related to the question, but there may still be some aspects of misunderstanding. The candidate is starting to use their knowledge to build an argument to answer the question.

Level 3 – Most of the knowledge that candidates are showing is accurate. There may be some specific knowledge used. Whilst there may be inaccuracies, overall, it is clear the candidate deploys good knowledge to answer the question. In addition, the candidate clearly understands the topic and any misunderstandings are relatively minor. The candidate is now using their knowledge to support arguments more clearly related to the question.

Level 4 – The candidate is routinely showing accurate knowledge. This will also be beginning to be more consistently specific than at Level 3. The candidate is showing they clearly understand the topic and is not showing any significant misunderstanding. The candidate is now selecting knowledge that clearly helps to support the argument they are making.

Level 5 – The candidate is demonstrating thorough knowledge throughout the majority of their essay. Not only is knowledge consistent, it is also regularly showing excellent levels of specificity. The candidate has a very thorough understanding of the concepts related to the question. The candidate is effectively selecting knowledge that helps to drive their argument.

How is it decided where in the Level the mark should be placed?

Put simply, the marking in A-Level Politics is ‘best fit’. An examiner will look at the description of the Level above and the level below. If the mark is closer to the Level above than the level below, it will move up within the level. If it is closer to the level below than above, it will be placed further down in the level. If the distance is the same, it will stay in the middle.

What might the different levels look in reality?

In order to see what the different levels might look like in reality, the following question is going to be used:

Q. Evaluate the view that Parliament is effective at scrutinising the Executive in the UK (30 Marks)

Below is the first half of a single section of the essay written at each level. It is making a point, that would then need to be countered before the candidate comes to a judgement on the issue they have just discussed.

Level 5 AO1

Legislating is one of the most important roles of Parliament and is therefore an important part of scrutinising the executive. However, under Standing Order 14 the parliamentary agenda is normally controlled by the executive which limits the ability of opposition parties to effectively do so. In terms of bills, the vast majority of those introduced are Government Bills, with 76.9% of bills from 2015-2021 being tabled by the executive. The means that bills being considered are usually those favoured by the government, meaning the interests of not all constituents are fully represented. In addition, this dominance over the Commons agenda is reinforced by Lord Hailsham’s notion of the ‘elective dictatorship’ – that because of the FPTP voting system and its ‘winner’s bonus’ most governments have a clear majority and can govern as they please without having to worry about undergoing effective scrutiny. For example, Tony Blair had a majority of 179 and did not lose a single Commons vote in his first 8 years as PM, whilst the average government majority since 1945 has been 57.4 seats. his means that the Executive is normally capable of pushing through its agenda because it consistently has the parliamentary arithmetic on its side and preventing even divisive legislation like the Police, Crime and Sentencing Act is very difficult. The elective dictatorship is further cemented by the fact that MPs are very heavily whipped and MPs are normally subject to a three-line whip on Government Bills. MPs are unlikely to rebel because they are beholden to their party for winning and retaining their seat and rely on the patronage of party leaders for career advancement. This might help explain why since the 2019 General Election there are 321 MPs who have never once voted against their own party. The combination of large government majorities and heavy whipping of backbenchers means that often legislative scrutiny in the House of Commons is deeply ineffective.

Rationale: The candidate has selected a theme they will investigate. They have shown thorough knowledge throughout the section. Not only is the knowledge thorough, it has excellent specificity (e.g. name of standing order, percentage of Government Bills, facts about Blair, average majority since 1945). The candidate clearly understands the impact of the control that Government has over legislation. The facts that are being used to make an argument that the Government dominate the legislative process and are linking together two concepts they discuss (government control and size of government majorities). They also using excellent political terminology like ‘elective dictatorship’. (Also note there is a synoptic link to Paper 1 in this section, as is required to reach Level 5 in the Mark Scheme).

Level 4 AO1

Legislating is one of the most important roles of Parliament and is therefore an important area of executive scrutiny. The Government controls the legislative agenda and the vast majority of bills introduced are done so by the Executive. For example, it is the Government that introduce the annual budget into the House of Commons. This means that the bills being considered are normally in the interest of the government and not necessarily in the interests of all constituents. The House of Commons also dominate the Commons agenda because they are numerically superior to other parties in the House Commons, largely because of the winner’s bonus received through through the FPTP voting system. This enables the government to pass legislation without particularly effective scrutiny. For example, Tony Blair only lost 4 House of Commons votes in 10 years, helped by his majorities of 179 and 166. This means that Executive is normally capable of pushing through its agenda in the House of Commons and passing even controversial legislation like the Police, Crime and Sentencing Act (2022). Further to this, MPs are clearly controlled by their party whips and therefore rarely rebel against them. Some MPs almost never vote against their own party, for example Nigel Adams (Conservative) who has not rebelled since 2019. The combination of large majorities and the control of their own party by government mean that often legislative scrutiny in the House of Commons is ineffective.

Rationale: The candidate has selected a theme they will investigate. They have shown good knowledge throughout the section and there are no mistakes or misunderstandings. The knowledge shows some good specificity (e.g. Blair’s defeats, loyal MP) but does not have the same consistent specificity as the Level 5 response. The candidate has clear understanding of the topic and there is no real sense of misunderstanding. They are still using good political terminology, but it is not as precise as that in Level 5.

Level 3 AO1

Legislating is one of the ways Parliament may scrutinise the executive. Legislation has to pass through the House of Commons and House of Lords to become a law and goes through three readings in each House. Following this, it goes to the Monarch for Royal Assent which is always given. The government are in charge of which bills pass through the House of Commons and this gives them a significant amount of power. Due to the voting system for General Elections, they almost always have a majority government and can pass legislation very easily. For example, after 2019 Boris Johnson was able to use his majority to pass his Brexit Deal which can be compared to Theresa May who failed to get her bill passed a number of times. This means that the Executive can normally pass whatever legislation it wants. Further to this, MPs are controlled by their party and MPs rarely vote against them. There are very few MPs who are willing to vote against them in the Parliament. Some MPs do, like Ben Spencer rebelling against the Government’s COVID Passes in 2021, but this is rare. This means that the Government normally get their way and Parliament cannot really stop the Government passing the laws that they want to pass.

Rationale: The candidate has selected a theme they will investigate. They have shown mostly accurate knowledge and understanding, however there are areas that could be clearer. For example, the Level 4 response recognises that the Executive indirectly dominates legislation, but the Level 3 response implies the government directly control this process. The candidate still shows good knowledge, some quite specific, but this is far less often than in the Level 4 answer. The specificity of knowledge is not the same as in Level 4. The answer is not as clearly focused on the question. For example, there is a part on the legislative process which is correct, but does not really add much more to the focus of the question.

Level 2 AO1

One of the ways that the executive might be scrutinised is by Parliament looking at their laws and deciding whether they like them or not. Legislation has to be voted for by both the House of Commons and the Lords before becoming law. They also have to be voted on by the Monarch, even though in modern days they always do. When Parliament pass an Act, it will be the government who have the most say. This is because they are the party with the most MPs. At the moment the party with the most MPs is the Conservatives and the party with the second most is Labour. This means that the Conservatives have more say over laws that Labour do. This is why Boris was able to pass Brexit in 2019. This shows how powerful the government are at passing laws. In addition, MPs don’t get to just do what they want in Parliament and instead have to do what the government tells them to do. If they don’t they are called a rebel and can be in trouble. This for example is what happened to Boris when Theresa May was Prime Minister. As MPs don’t want to rebel and upset the Prime Minister, they just vote the way PMs want and there therefore isn’t very much scrutiny.

Rationale: The candidate has selected a theme they will investigate but it is quite unsophisticated. The candidate shows some knowledge about legislation, but it is not really driving the question anymore. There is also some inaccuracy (like the Monarch having to vote for it). At other points, they show knowledge that is accurate, but is not really driving at the question. The candidate doesn’t show the depth to grapple with the wider points about why the government are in control as is happening in the higher levels. The knowledge shown has some inaccuracy, but is quite unsophisticated.

Level 1 AO1

Legislation means making laws which is something Parliament does, although sometimes the House of Lords stops it happening. There are things called readings which is where MPs try to make their bill become law. The King gets a say in this too but he normally says yes if Parliament wants to pass a law. Parliament is the government and so they can’t scrutinise laws because they are the ones who want it to pass anyway. This is the same as PM Questions, where the PM has to answer questions from MPs. However, he doesn’t really answer them properly and its sometimes called Richard and Judy Politics. This means that laws can pass easily as no-one is willing to question the PM properly about them. This is really bad as people need good laws to make their lives better and Parliament is not very good at making them.

Rationale: The candidate has selected a loose theme but they are never really getting to grips with it. Knowledge shown is scatter-gun if it is accurate, but there is also lots or irrelevant knowledge and a few silly mistakes thrown in. The candidate doesn’t really understand the legislative process as is shown by their reference to PMQs. The candidate doesn’t really get to grips with what the question requires and is therefore stuck very much in Level 1.