Predications are a really tricky business especially since we have very few past exam questions to go on. My advice is to make sure you know all topic areas as well as you can but for some of you knowing what came up in previous years might really help. So here is a table of all the first year questions asked so far and the questions from last year’s full A level. The importance of knowing the first year questions is because, whilst the same topic might come up in both years, it is extremely doubtful that the exact working will be the same.
What we can see from this is that Plato, Aristotle, Soul, Onto, POE and RL: 20th Century were not asked last year in the A Level exams.
You could still get asked a question from any topic area, including areas already been asked above. The only thing we can be pretty certain of is that similar Q’s will not arise.
So last minute advice:
Check out BBC for moral evil examples and recent events/ stats with the volcano eruption (natural evil)
If you get a question on ‘Religious Language is meaningless’ do NOT talk about Falsification. The exam board has made it very clear that Flew never uses the word meaningless (only ‘vacuous’ yet in my book they pretty much imply the same thing) but still we follow the exam board!! I recommend Verification vs Language Games for a Q like this.
Any RE question mention WJ’s four even just in passing
Avoid numinous as an example, unless the question asks or if you have a specific case to draw upon, otherwise your answers will just be vague.
Make sure you read questions carefully: psychology vs physiology could cost you dearly!
If a comparison Q is asked e.g Plato vs Ari make sure you compare in every paragraph using language like: whereas, both, differing, similarly etc
Whatever is mentioned specifically in Q, that is the start of every paragraph. So if mentioned ‘a priori is better than a post’ structure with Onto throughout.
If Q on God’s attributes, focus on Q throughout, do not get side-lined on long rambling content.
Finally the more links to specific wording in the question and the more you argue, argue, argue, the better you will do! Get off the fence, raise discussion points, pass judgements and criticisms, defend arguments and evaluate everything. Control your content and need to regurgitate information, it is not how much you write/ remember it is what you do with it!
I will be thinking about you all tomorrow. First A Level exam for new spec – let’s make it a good one!!
I am starting to think that my students think I am Mystic Meg and have God on speed dial giving me inside tips. Because if I had a pound for every time I have been asked for my predictions over the years I could have paid for a luxury holiday to Barbados with a yacht…and cocktails.
The simple answer is – “I have no idea!” Why? Because this is the first time the full A Level has been sat. This means there are no previous questions to rule out and no lessons to be learnt. We are all going in blind!
Now don’t get excited! This does not mean that Cosmological, Problem of Evil and Soul, Mind and Body won’t be on this year but it certainly is quite unlikely. However examiners love curve balls so they might throw one in just to catch you off guard. So you might for example get a question specifically on John Hick’s POE for example.
It’s that time again! This is my tenth exam season and let me tell you it doesn’t get easier. Every year is a manic scrabble to get the A2 students ready with all their revision materials, last minute tips (and endless mock exams) and final words of wisdom (hopefully!) For the first years it is now a mad rush to finish the spec in time for the first exam. So here are my last minute tips for Philosophy…
Evaluation panic you can always use:
God of Gaps: Having a gap in knowledge and filling it with God. This could even be used more creatively with Plato and Aristotle e.g. what sustains the four causes (potential to actual) = Prime Mover. Prime Mover is used to fill a gap in knowledge
Leap of Logic: Drawing conclusions with limited or no logic/ evidence
Reductio ad Absurdum: reducing logical statements to illogical conclusions (e.g. design in world = God designer)
Burden of Proof: whoever is making the claim must back up with proof. So does Plato provide enough proof for WOF – yes/ no discuss in answer
Ockham’s razor: go with the simplest solution E.g. St Theresa had a vision or was it just caused by malaria? What is the simplest solution?
You must use critical words throughout your answer to emphasize your evaluation (see to help: Adding the ‘critical’ to your critical analysis: Developing A02). If you don’t use critical words you are only stating perspectives not evaluating them. And you cannot ‘name dump’ e.g. “Stephen Fry questions how can God exist when he allows children to die of cancer. This is a convincing argument.” This is not evaluation! You must use the special word of ‘because’.
I recommend that my students do not use ‘I think’ as it does not read academically. Instead channel your views/arguments but use other language such as ‘one might argue’
Don’t forget you get a lot of marks for evaluation (15 marks first year and 24 marks second year). Have you put 15 different evaluative points in your essay using critical words with ‘because’? Have you defended against the criticism and then weighed up whether the original criticism or defence is stronger?