GCSE Sociology is available to external candidates. You do not need to have taken GCSE Sociology in order to study it at A-level.

Syllabuses open to External Candidates Edit

AQA GCSE Sociology Edit

AQA syllabus, past papers and materials - the specification number is 4190 and the title is AQA GCSE Sociology. The current syllabus is from June 2014 onwards. The specification explicitly states that the qualification is available to private candidates (p11). Candidates take two written exams which are each 1hr30 minutes (see specification p5).

AQA offer a Full Course GCSE and a Short Course. The 'Short Course' is just one paper from the two that full GCSE candidates take. The 'Short course' qualification is GCSE-standard but half the content, and is worth half a GCSE on your CV. The specification above covers both - p5 shows you how they compare.

AQA say:

"Sociology helps students develop a wide range of knowledge and understanding about society, and how sociologists study and understand its structures, processes and issues. Sociology is exciting, interesting and relevant to students' lives.

The GCSE Full Course (two unit) and Short Course (one unit) specification is fully examined, with no coursework. Students are encouraged to question evidence and issues and develop their critical and evaluation skills. There is a smooth progression from GCSE to A-level Sociology."

OCR GCSE Sociology Edit

Specification and materials from OCR - the specification code is J696 and the current specification is from 2012. It is assessed by exam only.

Although the specification doesn't explicitly state it is available to external candidates, there is no reason why it should not be, and OCR do not generally state this anyway.

CIE IGCSE Sociology Edit

Specification and materials from CIE - the specification number is 0495 and the current syllabus is from 2015 examinations. Exams are available in June and November each year. Candidates take two papers - paper 1 is 2 hours and paper 2 is 1hr 45 mins. The syllabus states it is available to private candidates.

WJEC GCSE Sociology Edit

WJEC is the Welsh exam board, but its exams can be taken all over the UK provided you can find a centre. It offers GCSE sociology.

WJEC GCSE Sociology specification and materials, on the WJEC site, including a Teachers' Guide and extra materials on the units.

WJEC GCSE Sociology Student Book by Griffiths, Tivey and McIntosh (2013)

Comments from Home EducatorsEdit

"My daughter did the AQA GCSE Sociology. We used NEC, which was rather an expensive way to do it. It was an easy exam to do from home though, in the sense that there's no coursework/controlled assessment. The books she used are:

  • Collins Sociology GCSE for AQA
  • Collins Sociology Revision
  • NEC Sociology course
  • GCSE Sociology Booster from WHSmiths (useful book of definitions to revise from).

She really enjoyed the course. We did it with NEC, but I think you could do it with the recommended text books. There  was a lot of information to get through, but the exam papers were quite approachable. It was a couple of years ago, but as far as I remember  there were questions in sections, and essays which weren't too long. She enjoyed it I think, and it was a good background for going on to A level Psychology for her."


Eddis Tutorial - CIE Sociology IGCSE . Home educator and tutor Samantha Eddis has a page of information on the CIE syllabus and resources, but which may also be relevant to other syllabuses.

BBC Bitesize Sociology page - two units, on Understanding Social Structures, and Understanding Social Processes.

Distance LearningEdit

Distance LearningEdit

Many home-educated students study Sociology GCSE successfully using just the textbook and free online resources, but some find a distance learning course suits their family better, or want to use a tutor occasionally for marking essays or past papers.

The big national distance learning companies offer psychology GCSE courses, but there are also some niche providers who specialise in home education. People generally report that the tutor support is what makes or breaks and online course; this means it's difficult to generalise about whether a particular large distance learning company is good overall, as it may have a brilliant tutor for one subject and a lacklustre one for another.

GCSE Social Science Courses Kat Sleep is a home-educator and experienced tutor offering on-line GCSE Psychology (Edexcel) and GCSE Sociology (AQA) courses. Some courses may also be available in person in Thatcham, Berkshire.

Vicki-Marie Piper Venn offers online tuition in psychology and sociology. We have not had any feedback from members of the HE Exams groups, but her site says: "I specialise in tutoring home educated students, who currently constitute around 45% of all my students. For home educated students looking to apply to university I am able to be your Academic Referee and supply a reference to UCAS at no extra cost, provided that you are having weekly lessons with me."