Staff and pupils at Ardrossan Academy were delighted with the Intermediate 2 essay questions. They had worked on two of the Section C five topics - social class and gender - and the questions were broad enough to accommodate much of the knowledge they had accumulated over the year. They had to analyse the links between social class and life chances in the UK, and the links between gender roles and equality in the UK.
Oona Browne, principal teacher of social science and history, said Intermediate 2 pupils had found it difficult to "locate the appropriate knowledge" in previous years, when questions focused on more specific issues and could "confuse" candidates.
Pupils looked at several different cultures over the year, which at one stage involved taking in BBC programme Tribe, and this paid off in Section B, on socialisation, where this learning was relevant to three of the six questions.
At Higher, there were guidelines on structuring answers to essay questions, which should have ensured candidates took the right approach. Questions at this level also steered clear of the specific, with one essentially inviting candidates to put down all they had learnt about social mobility in the UK.
Overall, at both levels, there had been noticeable improvements since the papers were restructured two years ago, with language clearer and questions more open-ended.