I always find it very helpful to ask the exam board for copies of a selection of my students exam scripts after the results have been received - it is very valuable to be able to see what they have actually written in the exam room, and to identify how the examiners are awarding marks. It is particularly useful for those students whose grade is lower (or higher!) than we predicted. I must say that AQA are generally pretty prompt in supplying the scripts, which our Examinations Officer requested for me on Thursday 10th when the results were available, and arrived in school this Thursday afternoon.
A quick initial look through the BUSS3 scripts really emphasises the importance of the 34-mark question. Those students who have done well on that question seem very likely to get an A or B grade, even if they have scored relatively average marks on the other 3 questions. And the key to doing well on question 4 seems to rest in spending time on planning the answer, using an approach like the ‘grid’ suggested at the Tutor2u revision conferences back in November, in order to ensure that the most relevant data and clues in the case study text are not only being picked out, but also related to each other and used to analyse the business’s choices or decisions from different functional perspectives.
I have a sense that, while of course it remains important to do well on all of the questions, it may be worth students skewing their time towards the final 34-mark one in order to allow time to do this planning and to fully develop the points they are making rather than be rushed into just mentioning each one and moving swiftly on to the next.
The grade boundaries for this paper also remain quite surprisingly low - just 46/80 was the boundary for an A grade (which earns 80 of the vital UMS points), 41 for a B, 36 for C, 31 for D and 27 for E. I think that this should be seen as an indication of how hard this paper can be - there is a huge amount of theory for students to learn in detail for BUSS3, and if they haven’t learnt it all, they are unlikely to be able to offer the range of analysis that the examiners want to see.
These last figures, and a huge range of statistical analysis of results by centre, subject and candidate, are available from e-aqa. This is a great service; you need a login code to access it, which your Examinations Office should be able to arrange for you, and is well worth spending some time getting to know.