Any tips for a newcomer to OCR Classical Civilisation specifically?

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Pylin
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About to start studying AS Classic Civ for the OCR spec and I'm just eager to find others who've got experience with this course as the resources online are few and far between. How was it structured? Any reading suggestions etc?

These are the first two units we'll be studying:

1.) Athenian Democracy
2.) Homer’s Odyssey

Thanks a lot!
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TSR Learn Together
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abi_parsnips
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I'm about to start Classics as well this year but I'm studying the AQA spec, I'm so excited to start ahhh!
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TheZoo
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(Original post by Pylin)
About to start studying AS Classic Civ for the OCR spec and I'm just eager to find others who've got experience with this course as the resources online are few and far between. How was it structured? Any reading suggestions etc?

These are the first two units we'll be studying:

1.) Athenian Democracy
2.) Homer’s Odyssey

Thanks a lot!
I finished A2 Class-Civ on OCR this year so if you have any questions I'm sure I can help out For AS I did Homer's Odyssey and Roman Society & Thought so I can help with any Odyssey stuff!
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Pylin
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(Original post by TheZoo)
I finished A2 Class-Civ on OCR this year so if you have any questions I'm sure I can help out For AS I did Homer's Odyssey and Roman Society & Thought so I can help with any Odyssey stuff!
Ahh that's brilliant. I have a few questions really. Firstly could you describe how you found the course personally. Like did it focus more on the literary side of things or was it a mix of all the arts together? I have like 10 books I've found on amazon related to the study of the Odyssey but do you have any particular books or resources which helped you the most? Also, what subjects did you combine with classics? (Me personally: english lit, politics and law)

Thanks very much
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TheZoo
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(Original post by Pylin)
Ahh that's brilliant. I have a few questions really. Firstly could you describe how you found the course personally. Like did it focus more on the literary side of things or was it a mix of all the arts together? I have like 10 books I've found on amazon related to the study of the Odyssey but do you have any particular books or resources which helped you the most? Also, what subjects did you combine with classics? (Me personally: english lit, politics and law)

Thanks very much
The course was pretty good, I found. The Odyssey section was about 80% literary and 20% context (the Roman section was about 50% history and 50% literary, not sure what your other module will be like). The only book I used was the York Notes companion, but the teaching at my college was good so I didn't really feel I needed any other resources, it all depends how much they cover in class. (I got a couple of marks off full UMS in the Odyssey exam without any real further reading, just extensive study of each book!). if you're using the Rieu translation, it also has some pretty useful summaries and themes at the start.

My other subjects were English Lit, History, Spanish and Psychology (as well as General Studies and EPQ that we had to do), and now I'm off to do Ancient History at university!
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Pylin
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(Original post by TheZoo)
The course was pretty good, I found. The Odyssey section was about 80% literary and 20% context (the Roman section was about 50% history and 50% literary, not sure what your other module will be like). The only book I used was the York Notes companion, but the teaching at my college was good so I didn't really feel I needed any other resources, it all depends how much they cover in class. (I got a couple of marks off full UMS in the Odyssey exam without any real further reading, just extensive study of each book!). if you're using the Rieu translation, it also has some pretty useful summaries and themes at the start.

My other subjects were English Lit, History, Spanish and Psychology (as well as General Studies and EPQ that we had to do), and now I'm off to do Ancient History at university!
Do you feel your study of the classics helped you a lot with english literature and vice versa (or simply essay writing and developing good analytical skills in general) or would you say it was negligible?

Just wondering because every single one of my subjects are similarly essay-based..
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Robertus
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I started Classical Civilisation A Level last year (Without ever having studied a Classical subject at school before!) and am thoroughly enjoying it to the extent that I am now mad enough to pursue a degree in Classics.

I was on the OCR exam board and my two AS units were "Homer's Odyssey & Society" and "City Life in Roman Italy". Got an A in Roman Italy but unfortunately fell short and got a B in the Odyssey, averaging out to a very high B overall in the AS Level. Still somehow managed to get the best grade in my year for Classical Civ though, so very pleased.

The Odyssey unit was a very interesting blend of subjects in my opinion. Of course it is mainly based around the close analysis of a prose translation of the text, so any skills you've gained from English Literature are highly valuable here. However, knowledge of the history and culture is almost essential to gain the top grades, though your teachers should be eager to help you out with this. Essay writing isn't too hard in Classical Civ; I find it a lot easier than in my other subjects. You don't really need to be overly fanciful or particularly deep in your analysis like you do in English, as it's far more useful to spend your time during the exam making clear points about the text and backing them up with evidence. (From other points in the epic or from knowledge of Ancient Greek history/culture/mythology/religion)

Also, a couple key points about the Odyssey unit in particular:
1. I don't know if this is how everyone on the OCR board studies it, but my school only advised us to look at Books 4-12 and 18-24 I think for the exam. Everything else you require a "cursory knowledge" of according to my teachers, but does not need to be mentioned during the exam. Though I would advise you to read the whole of the Odyssey anyway, as it will help you a great deal in your studies, and it is just generally amazing.
2. Contrary to what your fellow students might say, you do not need to use any specific quotes from the Odyssey during the exam or in any of your essays. This is probably the most major aspect that sets it apart from English Lit A Level in my opinion. You of course need to reference specific events, characters and themes, but you do not need even a single actual quote in your essays. So my advice is to avoid them unless it is absolutely crucial to the point you are trying to make.

(Original post by Pylin)
Do you feel your study of the classics helped you a lot with english literature and vice versa (or simply essay writing and developing good analytical skills in general) or would you say it was negligible?

Just wondering because every single one of my subjects are similarly essay-based..
Definitely! I study English Literature and History alongside Classics and so I find that my skills in all three subjects regularly overlap. The amount of essays you have to write when taking multiple essay-based subjects inevitably improves the quality of your writing and how effective your analysis is. In addition, having a knowledge of Classical literature and mythology is obviously valuable for much of what you will study in English Lit. It won't be essential in any way to your essay-writing in English, however it will certainly give you an edge and a broader range of context to draw from than what other students who do not take Classics might have.

On the adverse, taking English Literature will certainly improve your skills in Classical Civilisation as well. A fair few people in my class at AS Level took Classics alongside the sciences or maths, or alongside only History for example, and so missed out on the skills of literary analysis that English gives you. Taking both subjects makes it much easier to approach your Odyssey essays in a similar way to how you might write about other works of literature.
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Pylin
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Thank you so much Robertus for that response, more than enough to mull over for a long period of time! Best of luck with your A2 year of study!
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Robertus
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(Original post by Pylin)
Thank you so much Robertus for that response, more than enough to mull over for a long period of time! Best of luck with your A2 year of study!
No problem, and thank you too! Good luck to you with your AS Levels, here's hoping we both get the results we want in a year's time!
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TheZoo
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(Original post by Pylin)
Do you feel your study of the classics helped you a lot with english literature and vice versa (or simply essay writing and developing good analytical skills in general) or would you say it was negligible?

Just wondering because every single one of my subjects are similarly essay-based..
Classics is pretty useful for English Lit, I'd say, although as Robertus said you won't need to use quotes like you do in English Lit. I wouldn't say it is as analytical as Lit, however (or History), and I found it to be particularly based around individual flair and your own ideas which was nice (more so at A2 though). It's important to show a good awareness of context which you'll get from Lit as well (or at least I did on OCR) - you use a similar approach when discussing links to the Greek audience as you would to, say, the Victorian audience in Lit.
So taking the subjects alongside each other is useful - most people in my Classics group also did English Lit, and the same principles can be applied to pretty much any essay subject.
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happysmile
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(Original post by TheZoo)

My other subjects were English Lit, History, Spanish and Psychology (as well as General Studies and EPQ that we had to do), and now I'm off to do Ancient History at university!
Hey, I have a few questions about General Studies A-level. I know many people say its pointless and the majority of unis don't consider it, but as its compulsory at my school, I'm wondering what it actually is, in what format are the exams and how would I prepare for them? Also, would it take up a lot of time I could be using to study my other four main subjects? And usually how many hours of lessons a week is it, and how much revision time does it take up? Any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks!
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TheZoo
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(Original post by happysmile)
Hey, I have a few questions about General Studies A-level. I know many people say its pointless and the majority of unis don't consider it, but as its compulsory at my school, I'm wondering what it actually is, in what format are the exams and how would I prepare for them? Also, would it take up a lot of time I could be using to study my other four main subjects? And usually how many hours of lessons a week is it, and how much revision time does it take up? Any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks!
Hey,
Yeah, General can be pretty pointless (it was compulsory at my college too) but I know a few people who benefitted from it in their offers, especially for unis that required ucas points.
It's basically what it says on the tin - general. On my exam board (OCR) At AS there are two exams, one 2-hour Culture paper and one shorter Scientific paper. Both included a couple of long essays and a few shorter questions. At A2 there were two exams again, one that is about linking social, scientific and cultural domains, and the other applying synoptic skills.
You don't really need to prepare for the exams at all - I didn't look at any past papers or revise anything and I just got an A* at A2! The only thing I'd advise would be keeping up with the news, and applying your other subjects to it! (I used so much knowledge from history and psychology in the exams).
We had one hour-long lecture a week - in AS I went to every single one, and in A2 I didn't go to any, and it didn't really make a difference. It depends on how wide your range of general knowledge is, as they do cover quite a lot of interesting and useful stuff in the lectures. I don't know anybody who revised for it, so you shouldn't have to worry about it taking time away from your other subjects.
Hope this helps
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happysmile
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(Original post by TheZoo)
Hey,
Yeah, General can be pretty pointless (it was compulsory at my college too) but I know a few people who benefitted from it in their offers, especially for unis that required ucas points.
It's basically what it says on the tin - general. On my exam board (OCR) At AS there are two exams, one 2-hour Culture paper and one shorter Scientific paper. Both included a couple of long essays and a few shorter questions. At A2 there were two exams again, one that is about linking social, scientific and cultural domains, and the other applying synoptic skills.
You don't really need to prepare for the exams at all - I didn't look at any past papers or revise anything and I just got an A* at A2! The only thing I'd advise would be keeping up with the news, and applying your other subjects to it! (I used so much knowledge from history and psychology in the exams).
We had one hour-long lecture a week - in AS I went to every single one, and in A2 I didn't go to any, and it didn't really make a difference. It depends on how wide your range of general knowledge is, as they do cover quite a lot of interesting and useful stuff in the lectures. I don't know anybody who revised for it, so you shouldn't have to worry about it taking time away from your other subjects.
Hope this helps
Thank you for your reply!! (:
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