A2 Classical Civilisation Unit 4B Alexander

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ekmad
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Just did a quick search, I refuse to believe I'm the only one doing this exam on TSR. Thoughts, predictions, hopes?
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BluWacky
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(Original post by ekmad)
Just did a quick search, I refuse to believe I'm the only one doing this exam on TSR. Thoughts, predictions, hopes?
I'm not sitting it, but I've taught it this year.

I find this paper irritating.

The 5 markers are HORRIBLE; they're either ridiculously easy ("who were the Companions?" seems to come up with alarming regularity) or hideous ("what date did THIS VERY SPECIFIC EVENT take place and where?". Pretty much every other paper just asks you to give the context of the extract you're reading which is much much easier.

They also have a very nasty habit of making the 10 marker questions "what's the difference between Plutarch's version and Arrian's version of this story?"

The spec also includes things which aren't included in the prescribed books - the Exiles Decree, for instance, is in Diodorus I believe but certainly not Arrian or Plutarch, so can only ever come up as evidence for the 20 and 40 markers but without specific textual evidence.

I can't really guess what's going to come up. Knowing my luck it'll be some kind of irritatingly specific question about Memnon or the Gymnosophists...

However, I'd venture a guess that there'll be something on battles in particular this year; we're about due for something based around the Granicus (although that's Plutarch only) although I guess Gaugamela or the Hydaspes could turn up. I have a weird feeling that there could be something on Cleitus as well, but perhaps last year's Philotas question was too close to that (I'd almost discount the Pages conspiracy as a result).

As for essays... god knows, they're not easy to predict on this paper. I'd guess it's time for another Plutarch/Arrian comparison essay, though, since they seem to run on cycles of one year on, one year off. Probably something on battle strategy/tactics either for 20 or 40 as it's been a while since that came up. Maybe something on how Persian/Greek/Macedonian he was? It's been a few years since they used the mass marriages passages in Section A so it could crop up in Section B.

It's a shame; my pupils have enjoyed the course content and found Alexander interesting, but probably not to the detailed - or synoptic - extent the examiners want. The Socrates paper has a play to contrast with the dialogues, the Aeneid paper is basically just comparing the poem with itself, and Tiberius and Claudius at least has the advantage of two different emperors to compare (as well Suetonius vs. Tacitus); the Alexander material is much harder to get right in this regard I think.
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ekmad
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Well that fills me with confidence, shame because as you said I think it's probably the most interesting of the 4 topics for Unit 4
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jelly1995
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I'm sitting this exam too, although as a retake from last year. As far as I'm aware, my college has now scrapped this exam and replaced it with the Aeneid, as a lot of us did badly.

I'm just worried about timings, could you remind me how long to spend on each question?

And good luck!
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ekmad
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I usually spend 50 minutes on the 40 marker and 35 minutes on the 35 mark source based. Leaves you about 5 minutes to proof read your work
Of course if we get easy source based then any extra minutes go onto your essay (not sure if you do this but I always do questions in descending marks available so if I do run out of time it may only be a one or two marker rather than half of a 20 mark essay)

Can't say I'm full of confidence for this one, thank God for Unit 3 is all I can say
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jelly1995
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How did it go? I didn't find it too bad but I chose the question about Alexander's upbringing which left me in a bit of a Plutarch hole with nothing much to say about Arrian
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ekmad
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Questions weren't too bad, the Persian culture success was a really good one. I chose the Alexander's military success one but wasn't able to ply it with quotes. Probably a B but I'll take it
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BluWacky
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For all my pessimism that was actually a nice paper; no horrible "what date was this" questions (a nice broad one on Gaugamela really), they've asked the Parmenio question before, and even the mutinies question was pretty good.

Both essays were clearly defined in terms of their parameters; true that the upbringing one is heavily inspired by Plutarch but it gave you a lot of springboards to work from, and the Macedonian/Persian/Egyptian/Indian culture stuff was a really good question.

Fingers crossed for you all!
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jelly1995
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I agree, it was a much better set of questions than the past papers I had been practicing. Thank you, let's hope the hard work pays off!
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Christinabubi
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I took this paper and did the mutiny section. I'm freaking out because I'm convinced I misread the 20 mark question. Did it want to know about hyphasis not hydaspes? I wrote about at Hyphasis but now feel like I misread it and it wanted to know about hydaspes - the 10 marker wanted hyphasis so now i feel like the 20 wouldn't have wanted it too.
Does anyone know what the 20 mark question for the Indian section was?
Thanks!
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