Augustus and the Foundation of the Principate A2 Classical civ exam Watch

rebeccapally
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Is anyone else taking this exam on June 12th so confused by what we have to write?
My teacher is a little too laid back, meaning he doesn't really give us many exam tips, he just teaches us the content and then asks us to do past papers. My marker notes usually say 'not enough focus on the question' or 'weak conclusion'. Since these failings are obviously due to my lack of understanding of what the question is actually asking, could anyone with a more thorough understanding of the paper tell me how to answer the question?
For example, tomorrow I have a mock and the question is:

Despite its faults, Suetonius’ biography of Augustus provides more insights into his character and ambitions than the autobiographical Res Gestae. How far do you agree? Refer to both sources in your answer.

So am I just writing about how Suetonius and the Res Gestae portray Augustus differently, taking into account his rule etc, or am I on the wrong lines completely?
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RainReader
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I'm taking this exam as well, but unfortunately I don't really think I can advise you in terms of exam technique- I think this is the exam unit I am most unsure about myself. I'm just really hoping for a buildings question- though I am not sure how likely that is!

( Also, from your description above I have a suspicion that I might actually be in your class, haha )
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rebeccapally
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(Original post by RainReader)
I'm taking this exam as well, but unfortunately I don't really think I can advise you in terms of exam technique- I think this is the exam unit I am most unsure about myself. I'm just really hoping for a buildings question- though I am not sure how
likely that is!

( Also, from your description above I have a suspicion that I might actually be in your class, haha )
Yes I'm really hoping for a question on the Ara Pacis/forum of Augustus because those are so much easier to write about.
Lots and lots of revision is the thing for it I think. And I have to constantly remind myself to have a balanced aruement!
Oh really? What a small world!
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RainReader
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(Original post by rebeccapally)
Yes I'm really hoping for a question on the Ara Pacis/forum of Augustus because those are so much easier to write about.
Lots and lots of revision is the thing for it I think. And I have to constantly remind myself to have a balanced aruement!
Oh really? What a small world!
Yes, I think what is most difficult is that the structure seems to change depending on the question. Though that just might be me!
I'm thinking the same thing with regards to revision. I sort of wish the Augustus exam was the last one, but then perhaps it is better to get it out of the way.

Haha, it is. I am the girl with wavy hair that sits in the corner in front of the infuriatingly close filing cabinets if that means anything whatsoever.
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jjmichaeljadson
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(Original post by rebeccapally)
Is anyone else taking this exam on June 12th so confused by what we have to write?
My teacher is a little too laid back, meaning he doesn't really give us many exam tips, he just teaches us the content and then asks us to do past papers. My marker notes usually say 'not enough focus on the question' or 'weak conclusion'. Since these failings are obviously due to my lack of understanding of what the question is actually asking, could anyone with a more thorough understanding of the paper tell me how to answer the question?
For example, tomorrow I have a mock and the question is:

Despite its faults, Suetonius’ biography of Augustus provides more insights into his character and ambitions than the autobiographical Res Gestae. How far do you agree? Refer to both sources in your answer.

So am I just writing about how Suetonius and the Res Gestae portray Augustus differently, taking into account his rule etc, or am I on the wrong lines completely?
If you don't mind me asking, what college do you go to? Because my teacher matches your description and is a piece of **** of a teacher (she is a woman btw), we also do the same course I think.
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rebeccapally
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(Original post by jjmichaeljadson)
If you don't mind me asking, what college do you go to? Because my teacher matches your description and is a piece of **** of a teacher (she is a woman btw), we also do the same course I think.
Oh, my teacher's a man. He's not a bad teacher, he's just a lot better at the Iliad and Aeneid than the more historical based stuff like Cicero and Augustus, which is ironic because he also teaches history!
I sympathise, there's really nothing worse than having a useless teacher when it's something as important as A2, I have to get an A in this subject.
It does sound like we're doing the same course, which is comforting because I don't know a lot of people who are. Maybe we could help each other out for the exam? It's not very far away :/
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jjmichaeljadson
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(Original post by rebeccapally)
Oh, my teacher's a man. He's not a bad teacher, he's just a lot better at the Iliad and Aeneid than the more historical based stuff like Cicero and Augustus, which is ironic because he also teaches history!
I sympathise, there's really nothing worse than having a useless teacher when it's something as important as A2, I have to get an A in this subject.
It does sound like we're doing the same course, which is comforting because I don't know a lot of people who are. Maybe we could help each other out for the exam? It's not very far away :/
Oh right we don't go to the same sixth form then aha! And I'm doing AS (Cicero) but I'm dropping it since my teacher has been very lazy and didn't even go through exam technique... I doubt she will help me get an A next year, especially at A2. Whereas, at AS I'm teaching myself the subject. In terms of timing, how did you allocate the quite generous 90 minutes to get an A? Also, are there any techniques you followed that helped a lot in getting you that A? Thanks
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jjmichaeljadson
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(Original post by rebeccapally)
Sure I'll help, could you tell me which exam board you're on?
Thanks and AQA
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jjmichaeljadson
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(Original post by rebeccapally)
Yep that's the same as me.
Ok so timing was a tough nut to crack for me. I've always been quite bad at that part, so for this exam I remember practising past papers as often as I could, so I could get used to the time constraints. This might not be a problem for you, but I also take English, where you have two and a half hours to write about the same equivalent as the classics papers so it gets quite difficult. So past papers past papers past papers. One of the most crucial things is to know the exam. Look up past papers, even if you don't have a go at all of them it's still helpful to read the questions and see the format. Also look at the mark schemes, find out exactly what the examiner is looking for.

Now I'll explain how long I took for each question, but different people work at different speeds so you have to take that into account. Just spend however much time feels right for you. In the Cicero exam you have your 5 mark question, 10 mark question, 20 mark question and 30 mark question right? With the 5 mark, it should take you about five minutes, since it's just general knowledge of the unit (eg what year was Cicero praetor) Sometimes you'll get an extract which might take you a little bit longer, and remember to read it carefully if that's the case. So after that you have 1h25m left. Next is the 10 mark question, I spent about 15 minutes on this one because again it's fairly basic; you have to make 10 points. So now you've got 1h10m left. Plenty for the 20 mark and 30 mark questions. I spent 20 minutes on the 20 mark question in the exam. It doesn't sound like a lot of time, but if you know what you want to talk about and have enough knowledge to back it up, then it's enough time. That left me a good 50 minutes for the big one. I gave myself 5 minutes planning (because planning is so important for an essay question and you might even get marks for it) and then I wrote for 45 minutes, until they told me to put down my pen.
Hope that helped a little
As for techniques, I remember the night before the exam being full to burst with Cicero knowledge. I just revised as much as I could. Talking to people about it helps. If you explain the things you've learnt to family/friends who won't get bored of it, it really gives you a confidence boost, and helps you to memorise it all. Confidence is so important.
Just memorise all the knowledge you can, practice writing past papers under timed conditions, record yourself reciting dates, use different medias to keep your revision fresh (documentaries, dramatisations etc), make flash cards, read your notes and write them out repeatedly till they stick, keep calm, get lots of sleep and don't worry.
I know your exam is only on Wednesday but that still means you have this evening and tomorrow and the day after to revise as much as you can; it's not too late. You'll be fine.
It must have taken you a lot of time to write that reply, I hope I'm not disturbing your revision or anything but thank you so much! Timing is not that much of an issue forb me anymore but I'll try my best to stick to that kind of timing . The best way I remember things is by basically talking out loud to myself, which is great because I can get through things quite fast so hopefully I will be finished in time! Your advice was really helpful.
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