Warning: Philosophy Exam Approaching!!

The questions you will not be asked tomorrow are:

May 2017 First Year Paper:

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May 2018 First Year Paper:

IMG_4525

This means that:

  • Soul, Mind, Body
  • Cosmo
  • PoE
  • RE
  • Aristotle
  • Onto

Have all been asked. All that is missing is:

  • Plato
  • Teleo

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:

  1. Check out BBC for moral evil examples and recent events/ stats with the volcano eruption (natural evil)
  2. 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.
  3. Any RE question mention WJ’s four even just in passing
  4. 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.
  5. Make sure you read questions carefully: psychology vs physiology could cost you dearly!
  6. 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
  7. 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.
  8. If Q on God’s attributes, focus on Q throughout, do not get side-lined on long rambling content.

Make sure you read: Panic “My Exam is Tomorrow!” Must Read for Philosophy (1st and 2nd Year) and Predictions for Philosophy (First and Second Year). Don’t forget last minute support with Revision Podcasts on YouTube: Revision Podcasts

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!

Good Luck

I will be thinking about you all tomorrow. First A Level exam for new spec – let’s make it a good one!!

 

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Predictions for Philosophy (First and Second Year)

untitled.pngI 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!

First Year:

It is slightly easier this year as we have one round of questions and the examiner’s feedback  (see: Examiner’s Report 2017: What can we learn?).

Last year’s question paper:

philosophy

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.

However I am thinking:

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Panic “My Exam is Tomorrow!” Must Read for Philosophy (1st and 2nd Year)

32468058_10156606003370809_779382825869639680_nIt’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?

Evaluation:

  • You must use critical words throughout your answer to emphasize your evaluation (see to help: “But how can I tell the difference between description and evaluation?”). 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?

General:

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Religious Language-Twentieth Century Perspectives: A2 Philosophy

 

Preview of Lesson Plans:

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” Marcus Aurelius
Agree/ Disagree

  1. What does it mean to say something is true or false?
  2. How can we prove something is true/ false?

Go through the table worksheet answering whether the statements are true/ false or have empirical evidence to support. Discuss answers

Ppt: Slides 1-7 covering the Logical Positivists, Ayer’s Verification and how this goes against the meaningfulness of religious language.

Students write an introduction for:

“Only Cognitive language is meaningful. Discuss”

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Religious Language- Apophatic and Cataphatic Ways: A2 Philosophy

Preview of Lesson Plans:

Via Negativa:

Students pick three things in room and describe it by 10 things it is not

Write on board:
E.g:

  • Not heavy
  • Not on the floor
  • Not universally known
  • Not moving
  • Not mental
  • Not black or purple
  • Not hot
  • Not absent from me (Aimee/ teacher)

= dream catcher (I have a dream catcher tattoo on my ankle)

Students share one thing with partner – guess – share with class

Write a short paragraph:

  1. I think it was (clear/ unclear) to describe items by what they are not because…

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First Year Exam Paper Breakdown: Philosophy Soul Question

Here’s a breakdown of a student’s answer for the question on the Soul, Mind, Body unit from the new spec exams 2016 (first years).

‘There is no such thing as a soul’ Discuss (30)

OCR marks given for student’s answer:
A01 9/15
A02 8/15

I used this answer as part of my lesson on essay writing for this unit. I gave the students 3 highlighters: critical words (purple) , use of ‘no/ such thing’ (blue) and every time a new name is used (green). What was clear very quickly is that this student used multiple critical words, wide selection of scholarly names and linked points back to the question.

Continue reading “First Year Exam Paper Breakdown: Philosophy Soul Question”