OCR Classical Civilisation Exam Technique

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tomstoke
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Hi, I'm self-teaching AS Classical Civ. this year, (Odyssey and Tragedy modules) and was looking for some advice about how to actually answer the exam questions!

I'm especially unsure with the context questions. With the "How is X portrayed in this passage? How is this with their portrayal elsewhere in the play?" What kind of things is the question looking for you to say and how do you go about answering it?

This is probably very optimistic but if anyone has any example exam answers they'd be willing to share I'd be very grateful!
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jeserranox
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I did OCR Classics at AS and have continued it onto A2.

with the context questions the 3 parts have different set ups.

a) is AO1 "Recall, select and organise relevant knowledge of literature and its contexts and/orof society and values of the classical world" so all you do is regurgitate what you know of the story line (which is why it's so important to learn the plays and the Odyssey!"

b) is AO1 & AO2 "Demonstrate an understanding of literature and its contexts and/or of society andvalues of the classical world" therefore you should include an analysis and try and stick to the passage in order to save time otherwise you will be spending too long on this question.

c) is AO1, AO2 & AO3 "Interpret, evaluate and respond to literature and its contexts and/or sources relatedto society and values of the classical world" which is where both your knowledge of the play/ text and ability to relate it to it's historical context is required. This questions requires you not only to analyse the passage given to you but put it into context of not only it's place in the play/story but why the author has written it/ why they have chosen the devices they have etc.

I know it seems a bit complicated but from experience all I would say is to learn the stories as well as possible and then just write about how they make you feel as a reader and how it may have made it's ancient greek audience feel. Consider their social expectations, view points, religious beliefs (it is the ancient Greeks!) and put into historical context, especially with the Odyssey as the exam is on 'Homeric Society'. Learn about the role of women in society, the role of the gods, the literary devices used.
My advice in particular for the tragedy exam is learn at least 3 of the plays inside out, for example for my exam I knew Medea and Trojan Women like the back of my hand and got 91 UMS in that exam. You obviously won't be examined on all of the plays you study but it's just a case of which ones will come up.

p.s I tried to find some of my exam practice but I could only find my "a" for the context questions which are just summaries of the story so aren't much help, sorry!
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katinthehat
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(Original post by tomstoke)
Hi, I'm self-teaching AS Classical Civ. this year, (Odyssey and Tragedy modules) and was looking for some advice about how to actually answer the exam questions!

I'm especially unsure with the context questions. With the "How is X portrayed in this passage? How is this with their portrayal elsewhere in the play?" What kind of things is the question looking for you to say and how do you go about answering it?

This is probably very optimistic but if anyone has any example exam answers they'd be willing to share I'd be very grateful!
Hey,

I'm taking the same modules as you at the moment! I'll be following this thread to see if anyone else is and we can all help each other

I can give you a big of a head starter, but I don't think my detail will be immense off the top of my head! Once I get further into my revision I'll keep posting tips and tricks here for people to share

For 20 mark questions we are taught to look for circumstance (who is present/where the character is for Odyssey/situation on stage in tragedy), language (description/exaggeration etc.) and literary devices (metaphor/repetition etc.) For tragedy it's important you pick out specific features of Greek theatre such as stichomythia (back and forth conversation between characters; one liners). If you hit all three of these areas you should come out with pretty decent marks.

For the 25 marker, it's important you start by taking examples from the passage presented (but a maximum of two paragraphs) and the rest of it should be your knowledge. Examiners are looking for you to show that you've actually read the set texts, so saying "X from book 22 also shows Odysseus being X" gets you marks .

The ten marker is literally just listing preceding events. You should easily be able to get 7/8 out of 10 just by knowing the text well. Getting 10 out of 10 requires excessive detail.

For the 45 marker BALANCE is definitely the most important thing. "Does Agamemnon deserve to die?" - you HAVE to provide reasons why he does AND doesn't deserve to die. "Is Antigone more Creon's tragedy than Antigone's?" - you HAVE to discuss how it's Creon's tragedy in contrast to how it's Antigone's. But I'm sure you know that already

Like I say, I will keep posting here! I am getting A's in Classics, but this is only just about and I am on the A/B borderline so it will be incredibly annoying if I miss out, so I think the key thing for me is getting to know the Odyssey and the plays like the back of my hand - so if you have any tips on how to do that that would be great!

At some point I'll send you some of my essays if you'd like? They're by no means perfect and there's a lot I can improve on but they're not terrible (I hope)!
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Miaigg
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This was extremely helpful thankyou
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