Mock exam feedback: Marking new spec

I have finally battled my way through marking 50 mock exam answers for new spec Philosophy. Here is how I approached setting their first timed exam, the marking process and  feedback given:

Setting their first mock paper:

  • The questions were designed from the specification wording
  • 4 questions were set (even though in the actual exam they will only have three)
  • Each student answered one question ( even though in the exam they will answer two)
  • The students were given 40 minutes

Prior to starting:

  • Each student could complete a planning booklet (see Essay Plans: Supporting New Spec Revision) which they were allowed to keep in front of them during the mock exam (the questions in the plans/ exam were of course different)
  • After seeing the questions each student was given five minutes: one minute to talk to the person next to them, four minutes was to plan their structure.

Note: it was made clear to the students that in the actual exam their will be no discussion, limited planning time and no notes. However because this was their first timed essay, in exam conditions with questions they has not planned and prepared, I wanted to make the task more manageable.

Before collection:

  • Once students had completed their essay they highlighted a specific key word in their answer: for Q1  convincing, Q2 category error, Q3 sufficient and Q4 outweighs.
  • I also asked the students to vote showing which question they answered: Q4 won by a mile.

Marking process:

  • I marked out of 30, awarding 15 to Ao1 and 15 to Ao2. Whilst this is not exactly how the A2 will be marked in the exam, it is a stepping stone towards A2 marking. My logic is that at this point most students would not have done well if awarding 60% to Ao2 as they have not developed sufficient evaluative techniques. So this seemed challenging yet fair.
  • I marked the essay according to the mark scheme boundaries indicating: good/ satisfactory criteria ect.


  • A* = 27
  • A = 24
  • B =21
  • C =18
  • D =15
  • E =12

I found marking their first full essay with: marks, grades and mark scheme surprisingly challenging. At first it felt like playing with numbers. I would automatically award based on the old spec then have to work out how it related to the new scoring system. Needless to say it is going to be a long road before I am use to the new marks.

Feedback given:


To view all available teacher and student materials click on: R.S Resources. This digital goods store will allow you to quickly and safely download all materials (for a small charge). These include PowerPoints, lesson packs (with all worksheets and activities) key knowledge test packs (with answers), essay writing skills pack, revision packs and much more. I am always uploading new materials (as and when I cover them with my students) so it is worth checking regularly. These are all the materials I use with my own students, so they are tried and tested and available for you to download, keep and adapt over the years.

Revision bubbles/ advice and sample questions with guidance found in:

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