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    So to those who have got an A* in RS or are aiming for an A* what's was your secret or what are you doing to try and get that A*?

    Look forward to your responses
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    Is this for GCSE or A level?
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    (Original post by carpe diem 123)
    Is this for GCSE or A level?
    A Level
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    I would love further information too I was just told to learn more names etc.
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    (Original post by Garrow1564)
    I would love further information too I was just told to learn more names etc.
    Are you in AS or A2 and what units are you doing?
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    I got an A* in A Level RS and the Key to success is the specification. They examiners cannot ask anything that is not mentioned on the spec and the questions come directly from it. If you learn the bullet points well there is no reason not to do great. Make sure you are clear about the distinction between AO1 and AO2, descriptive and evaluative essays.

    - Use contemporary examples, from the news for ethics based exams,
    - If your doing Philosophy or scripture based modules then make sure you know names and clearly understand the differing arguments
    -Key Words is most important, especially for AQA, use them and use them properly
    -Start all essays by linking it to the spec, and outlining the issues associated with the question and also how different people might interpret the question differently
    - if you can go to a uni library or a good public one and get different information to that all your class mates have! If an examiner is ready 100 scripts that all sound and read the same with the same content they will far more impressed when they pick yours up with different information and view points !
    - When you get in the exam, look at the questions and spend maybe 5 mins on a blank piece of paper planning you answers. This is a good thing to do as it allows you to see all the area's you need to cover and things you want to include in one space and not just floating in your head, this way you can construct a better essay!

    the most important thing is try and come across interested even if your not, sound passionate and write with an interest
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    (Original post by Jackkkkk)
    I got an A* in A Level RS and the Key to success is the specification. They examiners cannot ask anything that is not mentioned on the spec and the questions come directly from it. If you learn the bullet points well there is no reason not to do great. Make sure you are clear about the distinction between AO1 and AO2, descriptive and evaluative essays.

    - Use contemporary examples, from the news for ethics based exams,
    - If your doing Philosophy or scripture based modules then make sure you know names and clearly understand the differing arguments
    -Key Words is most important, especially for AQA, use them and use them properly
    -Start all essays by linking it to the spec, and outlining the issues associated with the question and also how different people might interpret the question differently
    - if you can go to a uni library or a good public one and get different information to that all your class mates have! If an examiner is ready 100 scripts that all sound and read the same with the same content they will far more impressed when they pick yours up with different information and view points !
    - When you get in the exam, look at the questions and spend maybe 5 mins on a blank piece of paper planning you answers. This is a good thing to do as it allows you to see all the area's you need to cover and things you want to include in one space and not just floating in your head, this way you can construct a better essay!

    the most important thing is try and come across interested even if your not, sound passionate and write with an interest
    Wow that's brilliant thanks. What were your AS and A2 marks if you don't mind me asking?

    Also when would your give your opinion on the question to get the A02 marks, would you give your view in the intro then argue your point for the rest of the essay or would you give a balanced essay then give your opinion in the conclusion? I've been doing the former for a while now but would like to get your opinion on this.
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    (Original post by Username_valid)
    Wow that's brilliant thanks. What were your AS and A2 marks if you don't mind me asking?

    Also when would your give your opinion on the question to get the A02 marks, would you give your view in the intro then argue your point for the rest of the essay or would you give a balanced essay then give your opinion in the conclusion? I've been doing the former for a while now but would like to get your opinion on this.
    AS: Ethics 81/100 + Philosophy 98/100
    A2: Ethics 86/100 + Johns Gospel 97/100

    Never use 'I' or say 'I Believe', or 'I fell' or 'I think', this will severely limit your grade. I gave a generalised intro, unpacking the question and outlining briefly the differing views for AO2 or the key concepts for AO1. Then gave a balanced essay and in the conclusion, you can hint your view based on an assessment of the evidence you have detailed within the main body of the essay. For example, 'perhaps the evidence points towards such and such view taking more prominence......' or 'When evaluating the given evidence, one would be more inclined to take the view that.....' etc or for AO1, opinion is not needed, so just summarise points and if there are gaps in information you can pull these up or briefly outline a few limitations to show depth of understanding but evaluation will not get you marks for AO1 as you know
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    (Original post by Jackkkkk)
    AS: Ethics 81/100 + Philosophy 98/100
    A2: Ethics 86/100 + Johns Gospel 97/100

    Never use 'I' or say 'I Believe', or 'I fell' or 'I think', this will severely limit your grade. I gave a generalised intro, unpacking the question and outlining briefly the differing views for AO2 or the key concepts for AO1. Then gave a balanced essay and in the conclusion, you can hint your view based on an assessment of the evidence you have detailed within the main body of the essay. For example, 'perhaps the evidence points towards such and such view taking more prominence......' or 'When evaluating the given evidence, one would be more inclined to take the view that.....' etc or for AO1, opinion is not needed, so just summarise points and if there are gaps in information you can pull these up or briefly outline a few limitations to show depth of understanding but evaluation will not get you marks for AO1 as you know
    Those are great marks, well done!

    Yeah I've been told to avoid saying 'I believe' because you're not writing an essay to express your beliefs but rather you need to give evidence for your points. What would be the problem in saying 'I think' then backing your point up?

    What I've been doing in my intro was defining the terms in the question, expressing the different views on the question then saying something like 'I would argue that...'. Then for the rest of the essay I would argue for this point but still considering the different views giving good points on the opposing view but then counter-arguing the opposing view. How does this sound?
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    (Original post by Username_valid)
    Those are great marks, well done!

    Yeah I've been told to avoid saying 'I believe' because you're not writing an essay to express your beliefs but rather you need to give evidence for your points. What would be the problem in saying 'I think' then backing your point up?

    What I've been doing in my intro was defining the terms in the question, expressing the different views on the question then saying something like 'I would argue that...'. Then for the rest of the essay I would argue for this point but still considering the different views giving good points on the opposing view but then counter-arguing the opposing view. How does this sound?
    Thank You Are you in AS or A2?

    Don't say I think! Never ever say I in any RS essays, ever. The Chief AQA examiner came to my school and explicitly said it will severely reduce your marks. The 'I' brings a sense of personal opinion and subjectivity to the essay and prevents you from aiming to give a good, equal, and objective evaluation or description of the points or issues raised by the question.

    Definitely continue to define the terms in your intro, that's great practice and will show the examiner you know exactly what your being asked of and what you need to write about. However, I would steer away from saying things like 'This essay will aim to......' etc, thats really GCSE style and It's just a bit of a sentence waster tbh. The essay should be answer the question, so there is no need to say that, describing key words/terms is fine. Im not sure if you have been taught to do that ^ of not but I really would advise against it, In all my A Level subjects I was advised against it!

    The issues with stating your viewpoint early on and continuing that theme throughout the whole essay has a few limitations. It gives the impression that you have come to a conclusion without evaluating the evidence (although you may have done in your head). It gives you more chance to slip up and develop a subjective essay or even worse a one sided essay. They examiners will be looking for more equally balanced essays, objective evaluation and then maybe a summery whereby you can make a point by saying one view point may be more 'credible' than the other because of what you previously stated. There is theoretically nothing wrong with the way you have done it, apart for saying 'I think' (maybe change this to 'The most compelling argument is ......due to.....), but its alot harder to pull off well as i find it hard to see how the essay will be well balanced and not with a continuing subjective or one sided view running throughout.
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    (Original post by Jackkkkk)
    Thank You Are you in AS or A2?

    Don't say I think! Never ever say I in any RS essays, ever. The Chief AQA examiner came to my school and explicitly said it will severely reduce your marks. The 'I' brings a sense of personal opinion and subjectivity to the essay and prevents you from aiming to give a good, equal, and objective evaluation or description of the points or issues raised by the question.

    Definitely continue to define the terms in your intro, that's great practice and will show the examiner you know exactly what your being asked of and what you need to write about. However, I would steer away from saying things like 'This essay will aim to......' etc, thats really GCSE style and It's just a bit of a sentence waster tbh. The essay should be answer the question, so there is no need to say that, describing key words/terms is fine. Im not sure if you have been taught to do that ^ of not but I really would advise against it, In all my A Level subjects I was advised against it!

    The issues with stating your viewpoint early on and continuing that theme throughout the whole essay has a few limitations. It gives the impression that you have come to a conclusion without evaluating the evidence (although you may have done in your head). It gives you more chance to slip up and develop a subjective essay or even worse a one sided essay. They examiners will be looking for more equally balanced essays, objective evaluation and then maybe a summery whereby you can make a point by saying one view point may be more 'credible' than the other because of what you previously stated. There is theoretically nothing wrong with the way you have done it, apart for saying 'I think' (maybe change this to 'The most compelling argument is ......due to.....), but its alot harder to pull off well as i find it hard to see how the essay will be well balanced and not with a continuing subjective or one sided view running throughout.
    I'm in A2.

    Thanks for the response. OK so 'I think' is a definite no, does the same apply for anything said in first person, is it best to avoid talking in first person completely?

    Yeah, I wouldn't say something like 'this essay will aim to' or 'in this essay I will'.

    I completely understand what you're saying about giving your opinion too early but I thought it'd be a good way of gaining A02 marks. I'm on OCR and for A01 and A02 it says:

    AO1: Select and demonstrate clearly relevant knowledge and understanding through the use of evidence, examples and correct
    language and terminology appropriate to the course of study.
    AO2: Sustain a critical line of argument and justify a point of view.

    A01 seems self-explanatory but I interpreted A02 to mean give your opinion and argue your point for the rest of the essay although I could be wrong. But if it's not the best method then I am willing to change the structure of my essay.

    Could you possibly have a look at this as well please if you don't mind http://www.ocr.org.uk/Images/135356-...thics-june.pdf

    Its the mark scheme for the June 2012 paper, have a look at question 1 and the mark scheme for A02 if you don't mind. The question is' How convincing are Butlers claims that people have an innate sense of right and wrong' (35 marks). How would you go about answering that in terms of gaining the A02 marks?
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    (Original post by Username_valid)
    I'm in A2.

    Thanks for the response. OK so 'I think' is a definite no, does the same apply for anything said in first person, is it best to avoid talking in first person completely?

    Yeah, I wouldn't say something like 'this essay will aim to' or 'in this essay I will'.

    I completely understand what you're saying about giving your opinion too early but I thought it'd be a good way of gaining A02 marks. I'm on OCR and for A01 and A02 it says:

    AO1: Select and demonstrate clearly relevant knowledge and understanding through the use of evidence, examples and correct
    language and terminology appropriate to the course of study.
    AO2: Sustain a critical line of argument and justify a point of view.

    A01 seems self-explanatory but I interpreted A02 to mean give your opinion and argue your point for the rest of the essay although I could be wrong. But if it's not the best method then I am willing to change the structure of my essay.

    Could you possibly have a look at this as well please if you don't mind http://www.ocr.org.uk/Images/135356-...thics-june.pdf

    Its the mark scheme for the June 2012 paper, have a look at question 1 and the mark scheme for A02 if you don't mind. The question is' How convincing are Butlers claims that people have an innate sense of right and wrong' (35 marks). How would you go about answering that in terms of gaining the A02 marks?
    Is RS something your planning on taking to degree level ? Or just one of your A Levels?

    I see what you mean also and I can totally understand why you would structure your essays in that way as it says 'Sustain a critical line of argument and justify a point of view.' I think your method does suit this style well in this case (i was on AQA). However, making a point or giving one side of an argument then evaluating it would work equally well to maintaining one line of argument and then using countering ideas to evaluate with. I don't see any real issues, having seen them state that for AO2, with your original method, just be careful not to make it too one sided and make sure you do evaluate to the full extent and not just evaluate your line of argument, but also evaluate the theories your using to counter your argument (as this could be quite easily forgotten).

    I think the mark scheme is quite broad and is saying your allowed to follow any line of argument, so long as you do counter it with theory. Once again I now don't see as many issues with your original structure as I would interpret that A02 statement the same as you. Ive not specifically studied Butler in great depth so wouldn't like to veer you off in the wrong direction, but the mark scheme shows that there are several arguments running through his Debate, and for top marks I would expect you to 'support' one in that case and use the other's to evaluate. Equally, you could give outlines of arguement A and evaluate in one paragraph, then argument B and evaluate etc etc and then summarise in the conclusion. So long as you don't neglect evaluation and you are careful to give a balanced argument, and give each theory/idea/point of view equal consideration in the essay, then structure it how you feel most comfortable.

    Yeah I really would stay as far away as possible from the first person in any sense.
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    (Original post by Jackkkkk)
    Is RS something your planning on taking to degree level ? Or just one of your A Levels?

    I see what you mean also and I can totally understand why you would structure your essays in that way as it says 'Sustain a critical line of argument and justify a point of view.' I think your method does suit this style well in this case (i was on AQA). However, making a point or giving one side of an argument then evaluating it would work equally well to maintaining one line of argument and then using countering ideas to evaluate with. I don't see any real issues, having seen them state that for AO2, with your original method, just be careful not to make it too one sided and make sure you do evaluate to the full extent and not just evaluate your line of argument, but also evaluate the theories your using to counter your argument (as this could be quite easily forgotten).

    I think the mark scheme is quite broad and is saying your allowed to follow any line of argument, so long as you do counter it with theory. Once again I now don't see as many issues with your original structure as I would interpret that A02 statement the same as you. Ive not specifically studied Butler in great depth so wouldn't like to veer you off in the wrong direction, but the mark scheme shows that there are several arguments running through his Debate, and for top marks I would expect you to 'support' one in that case and use the other's to evaluate. Equally, you could give outlines of arguement A and evaluate in one paragraph, then argument B and evaluate etc etc and then summarise in the conclusion. So long as you don't neglect evaluation and you are careful to give a balanced argument, and give each theory/idea/point of view equal consideration in the essay, then structure it how you feel most comfortable.

    Yeah I really would stay as far away as possible from the first person in any sense.
    I've applied for Physics at university (I'm doing RS, Maths and Physics). Are you at University?

    I guess the most important thing is to evaluate both sides of the argument with whatever way you're structuring it. If I was to state which side I would argue early on, how would I do this avoiding the first person? Would you say 'I would argue' or would you avoid this and say something along the lines of 'the most compelling argument in my opinion is...' or simply 'the most compelling argument is...' ?

    Also, how would you make your essay stand out in order to get that A*? Would you name-drop a lot more, mentioning more philosophers/ethicists? Would you include quotes? Would you write more including more points?

    (sorry about all the questions)
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    (Original post by Username_valid)
    I've applied for Physics at university (I'm doing RS, Maths and Physics). Are you at University?

    I guess the most important thing is to evaluate both sides of the argument with whatever way you're structuring it. If I was to state which side I would argue early on, how would I do this avoiding the first person? Would you say 'I would argue' or would you avoid this and say something along the lines of 'the most compelling argument in my opinion is...' or simply 'the most compelling argument is...' ?

    Also, how would you make your essay stand out in order to get that A*? Would you name-drop a lot more, mentioning more philosophers/ethicists? Would you include quotes? Would you write more including more points?

    (sorry about all the questions)
    Ah thats a good mix of subjects, the Philosophy must be quite interesting to contrast with Physics. Im on a gap year and will be doing Psychological and Behavioural Sciences at Uni in October

    I would try to refrain from stating what your opinion is explicitly, so 'The most compelling argument is' would be great, or 'The most accepted view point on this mater is.....due to the large collection of supporting evidence such as...' or something along those lines.

    The best way to get a higher grade I really think is to get information your class mates won't have or use. So any Philosophers, Ethicists, Theologians or Scientists view's that are not taught by your teachers or in the book. You can use them to your advantage as it will make your essays stand out. Name dropping more Scholars is fine, so long as its relevant and doesn't just look like a list of people, so make sure their view is needed. Also for ethics, real world examples, and not just generic ones. Apart from this, if you learn the spec inside out you will get a really good mark!
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    (Original post by Jackkkkk)
    Ah thats a good mix of subjects, the Philosophy must be quite interesting to contrast with Physics. Im on a gap year and will be doing Psychological and Behavioural Sciences at Uni in October

    I would try to refrain from stating what your opinion is explicitly, so 'The most compelling argument is' would be great, or 'The most accepted view point on this mater is.....due to the large collection of supporting evidence such as...' or something along those lines.

    The best way to get a higher grade I really think is to get information your class mates won't have or use. So any Philosophers, Ethicists, Theologians or Scientists view's that are not taught by your teachers or in the book. You can use them to your advantage as it will make your essays stand out. Name dropping more Scholars is fine, so long as its relevant and doesn't just look like a list of people, so make sure their view is needed. Also for ethics, real world examples, and not just generic ones. Apart from this, if you learn the spec inside out you will get a really good mark!
    Thanks. We didn't have the option of doing Philosophy, I'm doing Ethics and Islam. But Religious Studies is quite different from the other two subjects, I guess I wanted to do an essay based subject to contrast with the other two where maybe the way you write is not as important. I have thoroughly enjoyed RS though tbf.

    That sounds great, have you firmed a uni yet?

    Does the same examiner mark all the papers from that centre? Thank you very much for all your help and feedback, it has been really useful and I appreciate it. Thank you
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    (Original post by Username_valid)
    Thanks. We didn't have the option of doing Philosophy, I'm doing Ethics and Islam. But Religious Studies is quite different from the other two subjects, I guess I wanted to do an essay based subject to contrast with the other two where maybe the way you write is not as important. I have thoroughly enjoyed RS though tbf.

    That sounds great, have you firmed a uni yet?

    Does the same examiner mark all the papers from that centre? Thank you very much for all your help and feedback, it has been really useful and I appreciate it. Thank you
    Oh okay fair enough We had to do Johns Gospel instead of Philosophy at A2 also...Yeah RS is so interesting, and im sure it will be really helpful if you ever have to do essays in Physics compared to others who just do 3 sciences/maths !

    Yeah I firmed Cambridge, where are you hoping to go ?

    It depends on exam bard and subject I think. OCR Geography scanned the essays in and then randomly distributed them to examiners. AQA Ethics/Philosophy AS were done in the same way, but A2 was done by the same person. Your teacher might know? As ours told us how it worked, not that it really makes a huge amount of difference - just try to make your original and will some extra/different info to everyone else in your class if you can! No problem at all, really good for May/June !!
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    (Original post by Jackkkkk)
    Oh okay fair enough We had to do Johns Gospel instead of Philosophy at A2 also...Yeah RS is so interesting, and im sure it will be really helpful if you ever have to do essays in Physics compared to others who just do 3 sciences/maths !

    Yeah I firmed Cambridge, where are you hoping to go ?

    It depends on exam bard and subject I think. OCR Geography scanned the essays in and then randomly distributed them to examiners. AQA Ethics/Philosophy AS were done in the same way, but A2 was done by the same person. Your teacher might know? As ours told us how it worked, not that it really makes a huge amount of difference - just try to make your original and will some extra/different info to everyone else in your class if you can! No problem at all, really good for May/June !!
    Wow that's awesome, congratulations. I think I'm going to firm Warwick, they want A*AA with the A* being in any subject. It'll be really hard but I'm going to give it a go anyway, really like their course and the university!
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    (Original post by Username_valid)
    Wow that's awesome, congratulations. I think I'm going to firm Warwick, they want A*AA with the A* being in any subject. It'll be really hard but I'm going to give it a go anyway, really like their course and the university!
    Thanks Oh wow warwick is meant to be insane for Maths/Physics etc...hard offer - good luck, although i'm sure you don't need it
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    *subscribes* This is a really useful thread!
 
 
 
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