Here’s a breakdown of a student’s answer for the question on Natural Law from the new spec exams 2016 (first years).
To what extent does natural law provide a helpful method of moral decision making? (30)
OCR marks given for student’s answer:
The structure of the answer is very clear and simple with an introduction, four main paragraphs and a conclusion.
Four paragraph themes:
- Links to Aristotle and telos
- Four tiers of Moral Law hierarchy
- Primary Precepts
- Synderesis and apparent and real goods
Each of these paragraphs follows the same structure: theme raised, briefly outlined, link to euthanasia (moral decision making), layered evaluation (helpful or not?). Each paragraph has roughly a 30/70 split between A01 and A02.
There are four reasons (in my view) this answer did well:
- Links to the question (green) – on a rough count the student uses the word ‘helpful’ 14 times
- Critical words (purple) – the student justifies the reasons for NL being ‘helpful’ or not using other critical phrasing such as ‘plausible,’ ‘unreliable’, ‘valid’, ‘flawed’.
- Controlled writing – the student does not go down tangents or off the question when linking to euthanasia. Euthanasia is sued as evaluation for NL and the theme of the paragraph.
- Other names (orange) – the student references Dine Pretty, Jonathon Glover and Helga Kulse
(Plus evidence of mature language (blue) and knowledge (burgundy)
I think the main reason this student lost marks was because there was:
- No scholarly names linking directly in support or criticism of NL. All the names the student uses are linked to euthanasia not NL (see Examiner’s Report 2016: What can we learn? for further comments on this)
Thank you to the student for letting me use her work 🙂
For support with writing an Application Essay see my Tips from a Tired Teacher: