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philosophy, theology and ethics

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THE COURSE

OCR A-Level Religious Studies (commonly referred to in schools as 'Philosophy and Ethics') is a dynamic course introducing students to some of the fundamental questions in theology and philosophy.  These include questions about the nature of God, what it means to be a human being, what is right and wrong and the relationship between mind and body.

 

This course trains students to think and argue more coherently and so is ideally suited to complement both other humanities courses (History, Literature, Psychology) and the sciences (in 2011, 20% of Oxford Maths graduates had an A-Level in Religious Studies).

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COURSE DELIVERY

Lessons involve a mixture of didactic teaching, independent work and group discussion. Homework is set weekly and is normally a combination of reading, essay writing and online activities.

The more that you engage in the online discussions the more that you will be developing mastery of the material (AO1) and developing your ability to sustain and justify an argument in response to others (AO2).

ASSESSMENT

Students are tested throughout the year with short vocabulary tests at the end of each topic, weekly essays, half termly assessments, and two full mock examinations (in December and March).

At the end of the course, students are assessed with three 2 hour exams and must answer three questions from a choice of four, worth 40 marks each (AO1 40%, A02 60%).

EXPLORE

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Specification

You can be tested on anything in the specification. Though the textbook has been approved by the examination board, it does not necessarily hit every point on the spec thoroughly. It is therefore your responsibility to familiarise yourself with the specification. For each topic, I have included the key questions you should be able to answer as described in the spec, and a tree diagram breaking down that unit, but you'll want to download it to see more detail.

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Resources

I have uploaded all of my lesson powerpoints and essay plans. In addition, I have added short academic extracts, accompanied with questions, which will help you move beyond the textbook, absolutely essential for those 'A' grades. Use the Cornell note template, downloadable from resources, to help you take notes.

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Multimedia

This is my curated selection of the best on the internet. There's an enormous amount of material online, animated video to explain core concepts (e.g. BBC Radio 4 'History of Ideas' series), discussions with philosophers and theologians (MeaningofLife.tv, Closer to Truth), and entire lessons (e.g. Wireless Philosophy and Crash Course).

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Quotes

While there is no expectation that you memorise long lists of quotes, you should refer extensively to the view of scholars. A note on quoting biblical scripture. When referring to the epistles or letters (e.g. Romans), these should be accredited to Paul. The authorship of the Gospels and Acts is less certain so instead of writing 'Luke writes', you should instead refer to 'The author of Luke's Gospel...' or simply 'Luke's Gospel states...'

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Notes

My class notes based on my own reading, organised into sections to help you structure your essays.

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Retrieval

The retrieval grids help support spaced retrieval practice. In addition, there is a link to a quiz made with Microsoft Forms. Each quiz involves twenty multiple-choice questions and is automatically graded. Keep completing them until you get 100%!

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