Diagnosis, Therapy, Test – Marking Feedback: Forensics

Below you will find all the marking codes used specifically in Forensics. In order to use this, locate the QR code on your work which will have a diagnosis code. That will tell you what the main issue was with your work, or the place that improvement would make the biggest difference to your grade. Scan the QR code and it will bring you to this page. Scroll down to find your code and it will give you a diagnosis, and then importantly a therapy. This is a task to complete on the bottom of your work in green pen which will help ‘treat’ the problem. Mrs Pepper can then test if the therapy has worked and give you a rough indication of how this would change your grade.

Essay Skills – Top Down Offender Profiling-  Bottom-Up Offender Profiling – Historical Explanation – Genetic Explanation – Neural Explanation – The Criminal Personality

Topic Issues

Offender Profiling

Diagnosis: Listing rather than describing

Both the top down and bottom up approaches to offender profiling have a lot of elements and stages contained within them. Top-Down has 6 stages, some of which are more detailed than others and Bottom-Up has a lot of disconnected elements with investigative psych and geographical. The issue of these types on content is it can quickly becoming a list of facts you hurry to get down rather than a description of how they would be used. this was an even bigger issue for those who tried to do both as in cutting down the content you went even more list like. This is important as it effects coherency and detail marks.

Therapy: Without thinking about word count try and put together a full and coherent description of each type of profiling, expand on ideas, explain what they are and how each connect. Think of it more as a story of what happens during the process of profiling than facts you need to get down on a page. Once you have this you can edit it down to a reasonable amount in the time you have.
Part Model Answer: “The top down approach to offender profiling was developed out of interviews with 36 sexually motivated offenders which allowed Douglas to develop a six stage process to profiling unknown suspects. It relies heavily on the intuition and skill of the profiler as he suggested that the first stage should be to gather data from the crime scenes about victims, weapons etc which allows the profiler to categorise the crime and later the offender”

Essay Skills


Diagnosis = Length/Word count

Either you entire essay is too long/too short or one part of it (AO1 or AO3)is too long or too short. This is a problem because:

  • If its too long it could waste time in an exam and you only have 20minutes as it is (likely to be incomplete)
  • If its to short it is likely to be incomplete and likely to lack real detail and thoroughness.
  • If one section is too long you are likely to not finish the other, typically this is overwriting AO1 which is only worth 6 marks and may make it seems focused on description.

Therapy: Make sure you know your word/line count for 5mins. Go through the section concerned or entire essay. Either flesh out to meet the word count, or cut back to meet the word count.


Diagnosis = Repetition

You have repeated ideas within either your AO1 or AO3. This is a problem because:

  • It wastes time in an exam and you only have 20minutes as it is (likely to be incomplete)
  • It gives the illusion that you have said more than you really have (likely to lack real detail)
  • Makes it difficult to follow you line of argument (loses focus and organisation)

Therapy: Go through the section concerned (AO1 or specific AO3 paragraph) with repetition and identify aspects you have mentioned multiple times. Delete all but one of these with green pen and move anything new associated into one cohesive statement.


Diagnosis = Needs Elaboration

You have an area of your essay where you have missed an opportunity to elaborate or take the arguments you present further. This means the points you have made are unlikely to be effective and in addition you may need to include/revise more points in order to reach your word count.

Therapy: Look at the section which needs elaborating. Highlight each claim/point you make in a different colour. If you end up highlighting lots of different ideas and none of these are then expanded upon or linked together this is the area which needs to be rewritten in green pen. For example: This theory has support from other cultures(1) who are non aggressive, this shows a link to nature vs nurture(1). Neither point is fully explained as to how or why it matters, and are not linked together.


Diagnosis = Order

The order of you points (normally AO3) are effecting your ability to create a coherent and focused piece of writing. Nothing you have written is incorrect it is just harder to read or make sense of. At worst this will effect your organisation marks but at best you will not have a line of argument.

Therapy: Take each paragraph of AO3 and sum the whole argument of that paragraph up in one sentence. Place this sentence onto a post-it note/scrap paper. Play around with the order, read the sentence out loud one after another. Does it make sense? Are you skipping about? Are you just however to however? Have you already dismissed that point earlier on? Go back to your essay and number the new paragraph order in green pen.


Diagnosis = AO3 as AO1

You have sections of your essay which are meant to be AO3 but the way in which they have been written they count as AO1.

Therapy: Take a look at the bookending of your paragraph. Does it suggest support/criticism or are you just describing a study or idea? Rewrite in green pen with a clear “in support…” type of statement at the start.


Diagnosis = Too Powerful Language (AO3)

You make very strong claims which show a lack of understanding of the finer elements of psychological studies.

Therapy: Take a look through your AO3. Look at for claims which suggest studies or theories are either perfect (not normally the problem) or complete flawed e.g. lack of, contradicts, insignificant, biased. Change the phrasing in green pen to something along the lines of “has issues with”.


Diagnosis = Irrelevant information

You have included irrelevant information. This means you have lost focus on the question at hand and also wasted time/word count in your exam not achieving marks.

  • It wastes time in an exam and you only have 20minutes as it is (likely to be incomplete)
  • It gives the illusion that you have said more than you really have (likely to lack real detail)
  • Makes it difficult to follow you line of argument (loses focus and organisation)

Therapy: Go through the section concerned and delete all or most of the irrelevant section with green pen. Make sure your essay still makes sense and add information back up to your word count.


Diagnosis = No/Limited AO3

You have either not evaluated or have largely missed evaluation. this puts a cap on your mark of 6 for AO1 and you will not be able to get any higher no matter how much detail is present.

Therapy: Add 2-3 fully elaborated paragraphs of AO3 in green pen


Diagnosis = Listing

Your AO1 or AO3 is really just a list of ideas and/or features. This means there is little focus on the question. It also gives the impression to the examiner that you do not know how to answer the question, but are instead throwing everything you know at it!

Therapy: This tends to happen when you do not understand the theory or point very well. Revise the theory or often the evidence/because element of you evaluation point, or talk it through with me/peer. Once you have the understanding identify with bullet points the ideas you want to include and then chunk them together into broader ideas until you get a more cohesive run through the theory or evaluation point. Rewrite section in green pen.


Diagnosis = Linking two or more ideas

You’re writing an essay which contains two or more theories/components for AO1 however when you start writing about the 2nd and/or 3rd idea you just begin discussion it without any link between what you have just been discussing and this new element. This can make essays feel disjointed and like two mini essays lumped togetherness. This will effect your CLARITY and COHERENCE. Definitely preventing you accessing level 4 responses.

Therapy: There will be 1 of two things you need to do. The most simple option is to top and tail in green pen. Go to the end of your first section and create a ‘so what can we conclude?’ sentence which draws that idea to a close while link to where the essay goes next. Then in the start of your next paragraph don’t just start ‘another ideas is’ instead lead into it from your conclusion above. If this doesn’t seem to work you may need to think about reordering you sections. Would it work better the opposite way around?


Diagnosis = Vague / Lack of Detail

Your essay has most of the right information in it but it lacks detail and so is vague.  This is usually due to a lack of research, a lack of terms or a lack of full explanation and is the result of not knowing the information in enough detail yet.  (Only normally a test conditions issue)

  • If it is vague it will not be above band 2 as it will likely to be incomplete, lack detail, be limited in terms of its AO1
  • If it is vague it will not be above band 2 as it will likely have discussion/application with has a limited effectiveness.

Therapy: This is about revision.  Go back through the essay and tighten it up with details.  Try not to just add information (as word count wise this will not work) instead try an amend phrasing to be more detailed.


Diagnosis = Application sacrifices AO1

You essay has focused too much on the application to the stem and in doing so you have forgotten to give enough detail in your description. This means it end up lacking detail.

Therapy: In 16 mark questions with a stem the mark breakdown is as follows:

  • AO1 – 6 (same as usual)
  • AO2 – 4 ( this is applying to the stem and replaces 1 AO3 paragraph)
  • AO3 – 6 (so shorter, either same points less details or 1 less point)

If you find this difficult to apply whilst ensuring you still have enough AO1 write your AO1 as you have planned in your essay and then at the end of the paragraph apply it to the stem (or vice versa).  for example “desensitisation occurs when individuals are repeatedly, over a long period of time, exposed to violent or aggressive imagery in the media.  This repeated expose reduces the impact of the violence on the individual at a biological level and makes it less likely they will trigger the sympathetic branch of the ANS and enter the fight and flight response.  This is suggested to mean they are more likely to engage in aggressive acts as they are no longer frightened by it (AO1).  In the case of Matt this has happened because he find the violent scenes amusing suggesting they no longer impact him in the same way.  whereas John is still frightened by them and find his heart racing and they make him feel sick (AO2)”


Diagnosis = Choice of Weak AO3

All of the points you have selected are technically correct (they have been selected from the textbook) but they are weak, tangential or not well explained. This means nothing is incorrect but its not strong. This will:

  • Effect your ability to make a focused piece of writing as the points fall flat to the examiner and do not come together to form a sense of arguing anything.
  • It will seem vague and and will likely means your discussion/application is of limited effectiveness.

Therapy: This is about going beyond the textbook as a holy grail of AO3. You need to read all the evaluation points (and possibly others in other books or online) and decide what you want to say about the question/approach/study or idea. Then once you know what you are trying to say overall BE SELECTIVE about what points you include, choose strong ideas which support your point of view.


Diagnosis = Line of Argument

The individual paragraphs are correct but as of yet builds no sense of flow or line of argument. This will effect you ability to get into band 4.

Therapy: Take each paragraph of AO3 and look at the beginning and end of the paragraph. Do they flow onto each other or does it become a list of strengths and weaknesses (albeit a detailed list). Try thinking about the “so what” or “link” in your paragraphs and instead of using each one individually to link back to the question focus on the in culmination. So after your second AO3 point what can you now conclude after points 1&2. Then after your third AO3 point what so your so what be?


Diagnosis = Waffle

You have attempted to include too much and as a result this paragraph or essay has become waffle.  It has no clear point to make or no clear link to the question, or possibly has gone off on a tangent This will:

  • Effect your ability to make a focused piece of writing as the points fall flat to the examiner and do not come together to form a sense of arguing anything.

Therapy: This means you need to rewrite this section. Break it down a bit to plan it before writing. What point are you trying to make, what evidence have you got of that, what does that mean, is there any counter argument you wanted to make.

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