Up Learn – A Level Psychology (AQA) – Memory

How to Outline and Evaluate the Working Memory Model (16 Marker)

We recommend structuring a 16 marker with a stem scenario as follows: A knowledge paragraph with 6 key points. Four evaluation paragraphs, which should all follow the PEI structure, where one of the paragraphs should contain a counter-argument.


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Up Learn – A Level PsychologY (AQA)


Now that you’ve tried it yourself, we’re going to look at the model approach – guaranteed to secure full marks. 

In a 16-marker, 6 marks go towards AO1, and 10 marks go towards AO3.

This means that we need we need to provide a knowledge paragraph that makes 6 key points, then we need 4 evaluation paragraphs using our PEI structure, where one of the paragraphs should contain a counter-argument.

So our structure is: 

Knowledge paragraph (with definitions)

1st evaluation

2nd evaluation

3rd evaluation

4th evaluation

Let’s start with our knowledge paragraph:

Since 6 marks go towards AO1, here, we need to try and make 6 key points:

[pause audio for 6 triggers to allow full paragraph to appear]

And that’s our knowledge paragraph done.

The explanation that short-term memory is an active store, along with the correct naming and explanation of all the components and subcomponents, gives us six points in total.  

Now that we’ve gone through our knowledge, we can move onto our evaluation paragraphs.

Since we’re evaluating a model, most of our evaluation is going to focus on the research studies which either support, or provide counter-support against the model. 

And in the first evaluation paragraph, we’re going to discuss study support for the theory.

First, we state our point:

Nice and clear.  We’ve signalled to the examiner that we are discussing a strength of the model in this paragraph. 

Followed by the explanation

Notice that we haven’t included much detail about Gathercole and Baddeley’s experiment – it’s not what the question is asking about.  

We have, however, used key-terms such as “overloaded” which will help you get full marks. 

Finally, we need to link our evidence back to the main question and explain why it is important. 

Nice and clear.  We have explained why the results support the working memory model and which parts of the model they provide support for.  

Next, we move onto our second evaluation point. 

Like before, we begin by stating our point. 

This time, it’s clear we’re discussing a limitation of the model. 

We now need to explain why it is a limitation.  

Notice that we have included key terms and also briefly mentioned a strength of laboratory experiments, even though we are discussing them in the context of a limitation. 

We have also included an example to show what might be artificial about the laboratory experiments compared to everyday life.  

Finally, we need to explain the importance of our evidence, linking it back to the working memory model.   


Now we can move onto our third evaluation paragraph, where we start by stating our point. 

Notice that we are clear that we are back to talking about findings that support the model. 

Next, we state our evidence. 

Notice that we have not included a lot of detail here – that’s because it’s not necessary.  

Finally, we need to link this evidence back to the main question and explain why it’s important. 

Here, again, we’ve made it clear which parts of the model case studies provide support for.  

Now, we just have one more evaluation point. 

We start off, again, by stating our point. 

Here, we are using key words and are clear about which part of the model is being criticised.  

Next, we state our evidence. 

Notice that we have given an example to help explain why the central executive is considered unfalsifiable. 

Finally, we explain the importance of our evidence.

Notice that we have explained why this is a problem using knowledge from the ‘features of science’ section of the course.  

And that’s it!  

16 marks in the bag!