In this Mark with Me I go through two application essays, emphasizing how to structure, argue and answer the question set:
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First of all I was very uninspired by yesterday’s Philosophy questions (my feeling was a bit ‘meh’). I think they were deceivingly difficult i.e ‘Analyse Aristotle’s four causes’ appears easy but you would really have to work on developing and formulating strong evaluation with so few words to work with in the question. What is also noticeable is that Teleological and POE both came up in the first year’s exam as well. What this means is that there is no correlation between first year and second year questions. I think the exam board are going out of their way to make the questions as unpredictable as possible and thus repeating a lot of the same areas (Bonhoeffer in DCT has come up three times already -there has only been four exams!). But that is now old news…let’s look ahead towards ethics.
Here are the previous questions from the first and second year’s exams:
All that we can learn from looking at these is how the questions are worded. The obvious gaps in the second year are: Sex ethics, SE and Euthanasia and Util and Business. However the way that the examiners are throwing in a few curve balls, you need to go into that exam ready for anything.
So I think potential question areas could be:
Students often find Ethics a bit easier to get their heads around than Philosophy, maybe because it links more with everyday life or because there is just less of it. Either way when it comes to the exam you need to be sharp with your structure, keep your application answers under control and suppress your need to write like a GCSE student (especially when it comes to euthanasia …your body is God’s temple snore!!)
So this blog is structured to support with: the style of ethics questions, structure of essays, tips per topic, application discussion themes, final tips and top three mistakes.
Ethics questions roughly follow four styles:
- Specific topic – application open (Natural Law is useful when dealing with moral decisions)
- Specific topic with specific application (Kantian ethics is helpful when dealing with issues surrounding business ethics)
- Specific topic alone (There are no strengths with the Natural Law theory)
- Application (The religious concept of sanctity of life is outdated)
- Natural Law and Situation Ethics go together with Euthanasia
- Kantian Ethics and Utilitarianism go together with Business
- All four go with Sex Ethics (2nd year)
This means if the question is worded like Q1 (above) you need to know which ethical issues to link to the topic in the question. For example Kant is only applied to business not euthanasia.
If the question implies that a certain topic is the ‘ best approach’ you might want to compare it with the other topic from that section. So “Utilitarianism is the best approach to business ethics” you might wish to compare to Kant (see: “Utilitarianism is more useful than Kantian Ethics when dealing with ethical dilemmas” Discuss: Student’s Work to help.)
Structure of essays: