I will be doing a number of last minute support Q/A and top tips livestreams. Here is the timetable of events:
6.00pm Philosophy https://youtu.be/5yyeihSJE9c
7.00pm Criminology Unit Four https://youtu.be/EDEeey9JEWs
6.00pm Ethics https://youtu.be/TZN2Wzxrhxo
6.00pm DCT https://youtu.be/UTyT1URYWfQ
We can learn a lot from previous exam feedback such as patterns, gaps and common mistakes. I could not recommend studying the examiner’s reports enough, as they are practically the mind of the examiner directly instructing students what to do and what to avoid. If you then go into your exams and make one of those mistakes (which have been highlighted previously) well that’s just silly and unprepared. So this blog summary, taken from previous blog posts, has all the relevant information for the 2022 exam in one place.
General comments (2017-2020):
- Evaluation throughout
- Focus directly on question not general topic
- Outlined line of argument at the beginning (often in introduction) and followed this throughout answer (AO2 driven). Those that added evaluation near end of each paragraph often did not score into higher brackets.
- Relevant material used
- Showed knowledge from other topics (synoptic links) suggesting an understanding of the holistic nature of the A level.
- Lack of focus on exact wording of the Q
- Long introductions, summaries better left until the end
- Most of essay spent on A01 with A02 added at the end – resulting in insufficient depth
- Write everything I know on that topic (pre prepared formulaic answers)
- Evaluate through juxtaposition of different views. In other words, putting one name against another name and thinking this is evaluation. You need to say which view is stronger/ more convincing etc.
- Lack of planning leading to long rambling answers- paragraphs are your friend!
- Few students showed signs of having undertaken research.
|Philosophy||Good points||Bad points|
|Critically discuss Aristotle’s understanding of reality. (2018 First Year only)||Very good accounts of Aristotle’s empiricism, explanation of four causes and prime mover (who draws things to him in a disinterested manner).|
Used Plato in an evaluative way in relation to Aristotle scored higher bands.
|Confusion between efficient and formal causes (note: this has been an issue throughout the legacy papers as well).|
Wrote all they knew about Plato and only compared with Aristotle in the final paragraph.
|To what extent does Hume successfully argue that observation does not prove the existence of God? (2018)||Variety of Hume’s criticisms, relating them to succinct summaries of the Teleo and Cosmo arguments. (Satisfactory answers wrote copious amounts of descriptions for Aquinas and Paley, leaving little room for Hume).|
Darwin and Tennent’s anthropic principle when used in relation to Hume.
Analysed Hume’s criticisms, weighing up how successful they are.
|Juxtaposing alternatives such as Big Bang without justify any reasoning as to why applying them. |
Accepting points without question such as Hume’s Epicurean thesis.
|Assess Boethius’ view that divine eternity does not limit human free will. (2019)||Explain in detail Boethius’ reasoning including simple and conditional necessity.|
Effective use of Aquinas’ lofty peak and comparisons to Swinburne’s everlasting ideas.
|Least popular and least well done- insufficient knowledge of key theory.|
Some compared to Anselm’s four dimmensionalist approach but didn’t understand how his views of eternity meant that all moments were in God equally and so God is with us in the moment of choice.
Linked divine eternity to the afterlife or concentrated too heavily on FW.
PoE was discussed but only credited when tied to Q.
Debate surrounding God’s other attributes: omnipotence, punish/ reward and omniscience.
|Critically compare the logical and evidential aspects of the problem of evil as challenges to belief. (2019)||Focus on the critically compare.|
Explored how Augustine’s privatio boni defeated the logical problem by removing ‘evil’ from the Inconsistent Triad (very clever!).
Explored how Hick’s vale of soul making accounted for the scale of evidential evil.
Compared the ‘a priori’ nature of logical with ‘a posteriori’ nature of evidential.
Discussion of God’s attributes and FW (synoptic links to Nature of God).
|Unprepared for this question.|
Inconsistent Triad not linked to Q.
Some students thought the theodicies where the evidential problem of evil.
|Analyse Aristotle’s four causes (2019).||More interesting responses used own examples to show four causes.|
Discussion around Aristotle’s empirical approach/ reliance on senses/ a posteriori knowledge vs Plato’s rational a priori approach. This was then evaluated by linking to whether Aristotle was successful in explaining the main parts of his argument: potentiality, PM, change and movement etc.
Fallacy of Composition used effectively against Aristotle, whether humans do have an innate purpose (Sartre) and evolution as a challenge to purpose.
|Confusing the four causes or not knowing and understanding the formal cause.|
Confusing the views of Aristotle and Aquinas’ three ways.
|“The world was created by chance, not by God’s design.” Discuss (2019)||Aquinas, Paley and Tennant used well, as well as Hume’s Epicurean Hypothesis as an alternative to chance.|
Dawkins’ blind watch maker was used to demonstrate chance and no foresight with Tennant’s aesthetic as a counter argument.
Big bang, red shift and evolution used well to support chance.
Kant was used well by some, as well as Douglas Adam’s conscious puddle and Mill on POE.
|Confusion over teleological and cosmological with some even drawing upon Ontological argument too.|
Over simplistic use of Paley’s watch
Overuse of Ockham’s razor which did not add to their argument.
Ethics:Continue reading “Exam 2022: Examiner Report Summaries (2017-2020)”
Last week, I joined other RS teachers (virtually) for a Q/A session with Ewan Brady (from OCR) who tried to shed some light on the final weeks ahead. Here is a summary of what was said:
- Use a ‘range’ of different types of evidence from various parts of the course. Be “consistent as possible” – apply the same across all students (including setting the same questions if a student misses original assessment).
- “Most recent evidence is most accurate” – Holistic view at end. A “greater weight to the more recent.”
- There is no minimum or maximum amount of evidence “not a specific number.” Provide enough for a “clear picture” but essentially it is based on what each individual teacher/ centre “class as sufficient.” There is no “hierarchy of evidence.”
Setting and marking assessments:
- Do not use 2020 grade boundaries as the exam was “set to a different standard”.
- No expectation that your grades should be capped. Not based on previous years (historical data).
- Be cautious of grading individual essays.
- If you have adapted your own questions following “Ofqual centre devised tasks” guidelines, whilst this is an “added complication” as you have to use your own mark schemes, apply the levels of response and remain fair and consistent to all your students.
- Final grading is based on an “overall impression [of] what you have actually seen in front of you.”
Key message repeated throughout is that it is “up to you how you organise it [and] what you include.” Grading should be based on “performance over range and time and professional judgement.”
Provided by the exam board: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHnkck3V0TA
I left the meeting feeling supported by OCR but I still have a few concerns:Continue reading “2021 Assessment Guidelines: What you need to know (from OCR)”
I created this video during lockdown for prospective students who could not join me this year on Open Day due to Covid:
Thank you to all my previous students who kindly sent in videos to support this project.
I edited this together using video through the Photos App on Windows 10. Another option is Canva a free website that lets you design professional presentations and much more!
For Transition Materials suitable for Year 11 students considering an A Level in Philosophy, Theology and Ethics click here.
Want to know more about studying Philosophy check out:
Here is what has been going on recently:
- Business Ethics
- St Augustine
- Death and Afterlife
- Natural and Revealed Knowledge of God
- DCT Essay Support
- Person of Jesus
- ResearchED Pedagogy Live Streams
- Transition Materials
- Cambridge University: My Story
- Online Teaching Strategies
Improve your Essay Technique:
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