Predictions for A2 Ethics

I am not a gambling sort 714583-exam-1401318461-908-640x480of person but I would bet money that you will be asked two application questions. But what about the other two questions? Well, as with my previous predications, all I have to go on is the patterns, links to the specifications and gut instinct (call it my ‘intuition’ if you like).

Meta Ethics: even though this came up last year I still think there is a possibility of it re- appearing (as it makes more appearances than not in the exams). At the end of the day it is not a popular topic therefore it often rears its head repeatedly. If so, my predications are either: Ethical Naturalism specifically or a question worded with Non Cognitive e.g ‘A non cognitive approach is the only way to understand ethical language’ (as emotivism not asked since 2011 and prescriptivism since 2012).

VE: I do not think virtue will come up as a specific question this year but it is worth revising as you might be able to use it in an application answer. If a question on virtue does come up, the only areas never to be asked a question on are specific areas e.g. ‘Evaluate the agent centred approach of Virtue Ethics’ or ‘Critically assess the main principles of virtue ethics’ or ‘The concepts of eudaimonia are flawed.’ However as a specific question came up last year on Golden Mean, I do not see it happening twice but don’t forget this is the last exam to have VE on it (removed from new spec) so might have one last appearance!

Conscience: Very likely! There are a lot of gaps when it comes to conscience questions. There has never been a question on (going back as far as 2007 anyway): Conscience as God given or conscience as instilled by society, parents and authority figures or views of Augustine, Aquinas, Newman, Freud, Fromm or Piaget. Gosh that is a lot of potential questions! My sneaking suspicion is going to be an open question that warrants a number of these areas in one go e.g. ‘Critically assess the view that conscience is instilled by society, parents and authority figures’ or ‘ Believing that conscience is God given is flawed.’

Freewill and Determinism: Possibility but it is unlikely you will get a conscience and FW together on the same paper (but it did happen in 2014 and neither have been on since then). If this topic does come up I think it will be a hard determinism question angled at Theological Approaches such as ‘Theological determinism is more convincing than religious ideas of Freewill.’ You might also get a question on Darrow, Honderich, Hume or Locke (I doubt it though, these seem very specific and just too mean!) Genetic determinism has also not been on in the past.

Sex and Relationships: Contraception is the only area never to be specifically asked. All ethical theories have been mentioned in some way. My conclusion a general question on contraction e.g. “To what extent are ethical theories helpful when considering the issues surrounding contraception.”

Environment and Business: This is a popular area for questions and does come up in the exam quite often. Pretty much everything has been covered in environment other than a question specifically worded on ‘environment, resources and species’ but I doubt this will come up this year. My money is on Globalization which has never been asked and Utilitarianism is the only ethical approach not specified. So I would not be surprised with a ‘Utilitarianism is the best approach to business and globalization.’

So my predications based on previous gaps are (my money is on the parts in bold):

  1. Conscience (aimed at Freud, Fromm and Piaget or God given)
  2. Contraception
  3. FW (theological determinism or genetics)
  4. Utilitarianism and Globalisation.
  5. Meta ethics (ethical naturalism or non cog)

(Note: If the exam board are nice you will get a question on conscience and FW if not it will be one of these areas with Meta)

Check out: Consulting the Crystal Ball: Predicting your A2 Ethics Questions to help understand what different questions are looking for. Also “What would Aquinas say about the Environment? Who knows!” Tackling the Application Essays and “Sssshhh we can’t talk about Sex!” Pointers to discuss in A2 Application Questions for application question support.

Please feel free to add your own comments and predications 🙂

If you would like a Revision Pack that contains quizzes, glossaries and past exam questions to help structure your revision, click on the image below:

rev pack  rev ethic

Any students sitting the A2 exams(Philosophy or Ethics) I could not recommend these workbooks enough! Fantastic revision tool to test your knowledge and to prepare you for your exam.

OCR A2 Religious Studies Unit G581 Workbook: Philosophy of Religion

OCR A2 Religious Studies Unit G582 Workbook: Religious Ethics

New Spec Reflections: What’s the Verdict?

I have never hidden the fact that I am loyal to OCR, teaching nearly a thousand students over eight years. But entering my ninth year with a looming new spec, I spent many weeks weighing up the pros and cons of remaining with OCR. My decision: Better the devil you know! (See: Out with the Old and in with the New: OCR Spec Changes) Was this the right decision though?

Interestingly I started writing this post about five weeks ago, with the first round of new spec exams dauntingly close but still two topics to cover in class. So I waited. Not because I didn’t have the time (because whoever has any of that!) but because I wanted to see the exam questions. Were OCR going to let me down at the last hurdle, setting ridiculously hard questions and be the straw that finally breaks the camel’s back of a grueling year? Or were they going to be fair and manageable to those students who had put in the work and revision? At that stage I just had no clue – my crystal ball of predictions was on the blink and I just prayed for the best outcome.

So writing now, the day after the first Philosophy exam, I am relieved by the exam questions which seem fair. Questions 1 & 2 were worded short and simple (not the usefully long winded wording of OCR – as seen in Q3), also 1 and 2 were left pretty open with no one philosopher specified. This means, in my opinion, that anything relevant to the question will be awarded marks. So I am content with the questions so far but is this blissful ignorance as we approach the second round: new spec ethics? We will see in a week!

So my overall reflections of the year…

Continue reading “New Spec Reflections: What’s the Verdict?”

Predictions for A2 Philosophy

Predicting questions on an exam roulette-wheelpaper is a risky business because it is about as predictable as a roulette wheel. So what I have written below is not a science and it will not be enough to just learn these areas. If you do you will be caught out. All I can do I emphasize the gaps that have appeared over the years.

RE: One of the most popular topics for exam questions. Everything in the specification has been covered over the years but…Voices. Therefore a previous question/ area may re-appear or a question specifically on voices such as ‘Voices are the most effective way of God revealing Himself directly to a believer’. (Note: A question on ‘corporate’ has not been on since 2012 and ‘William James’ since 2013)

Miracles: Pretty sure this will come up in some way:

  1. Critically assess the different definitions of miracles
  2. Evaluate the concept of miracles
  3. Critically assess the criticisms of miracles made by Hume
    (or some close variation of these such as a question combining 2 and 3 e.g. Evaluate the concept of miracles and the criticisms presented by Hume)

Continue reading “Predictions for A2 Philosophy”

Top Five Best Selling Resources

Thank you for your on-going support for both the blog and the store through feedback and comments. Due to popular demand I am currently putting together a revision pack for the legacy AS papers (for any A2’s re-sitting AS papers. The philosophy pack can now be found at: and ethics at: and I plan on doing a Christian Thought DCT revision pack for May half term (if time allows). Two further blogs featuring student’s work are also in the pipeline.

If there is anything else I could help with just leave a comment or contact me via the Homepage 🙂

Here are the top five current most popular resources:

  1. Philosophy Revision Pack: R.S New Specrev pack1
  2. Ethics Revision Pack: R.S New Spec

  3. Essay Writing Technique Booklet

  4. Augustine Lesson Pack: R.S New Spec

  5. Business Ethics Lesson Pack: R.S New Specbusiness1

For access to all my power points, lesson packs, revision packs for AS and A2 and more please go to:

Top Recommendations: Text Books and Revision Guides

Must Buy:

Get those Grades:

I used these text books to inform my power points. I also found them a huge comfort when ensuring that my lessons remained relevant to the new spec expectations.

Further Recommendations:

Continue reading “Top Recommendations: Text Books and Revision Guides”

Updated SOW: Let’s be realistic!

I have to laugh when looking back at my original SOW and the idealistic naivety at which I entered this teaching year (see Taking the Plunge: Organising a New SOW if you too want a laugh!) I never considered that I would still be teaching ethics at this point but little had I realised that the extra discussion questions here and there, the couple of new topics and the different exam structure would take it’s toll.

So what’s the reality? Well I have once again timetabled the Christian Thought elements to a week a piece. Why …because if I’m being honest I have no idea how long each will take. Some might take two lessons, some might take two weeks. Now for many of you this might be of little comfort (those fearing that you might not cover the spec in time) but here’s what I have realised: students are still coming to lessons through the three weeks that their exams are being held. Whilst the idea of students still learning Christian Thought alongside doing their Philosophy exam is not ideal, it is a comfort still knowing that there is a little extra time that can be used if needed.

In colleges where students are only taking one AS exam – for the subject they do not wish to continue for the two years (as is the case in my college) then:

  • Only the students continuing with R.S will miss a lesson (when doing an exam in another subject) and can be caught up later.
  • Students who are sitting the R.S exam will not miss any lessons

This gives a bit of extra time between exams to revise, catch up and finish those last few bits.

In colleges where students are doing 3 to 4 AS exams (and therefore have quite disrupted teaching weeks) the saving grace is the half term holiday which is just before the Christian Thought exam. So many students who are entered for that exam can be set any final reading that has not been completed during lessons.

This is my updated Scheme of Work which shows what I have covered thus far and how I will cover the rest of the units up to the exams.

Continue reading “Updated SOW: Let’s be realistic!”