Philosophy and Ethics at A-Level? Thoughts and opinions? Watch

jandelrosario
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This September, I'm going to begin my A-Level studies and was wondering whether I should go through with my choice of taking Philosophy and Ethics at A-Level.

I couldn't take the subject at GCSE although I planned to.

Do you like the content? Is it easy or hard to understand and how so? Any pros and cons?

Also, what could I do in the future with a Philosophy and Ethics A-Level?

Any advice and opinions would be greatly appreciated, thank you!
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Hasanalm
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By Phil and ethics, do you mean Religious studies?
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Fox Corner
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Hiya! I moved this into the Philosophy forum for you - you're more likely to get a reply here
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tori24x
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You will be fine, even if you haven't done religious studies or philosophy and ethics before. The subject is lots of hard work and takes someone that if very determined to be able to take it, however it is very interesting. I have just taken my A-S level this year and must say that I am very happy that I took it. The topics that I have studied so far are really interesting. For philosophy I have done the topics of the cosmological argument, the teleological argument, miracles and evil and suffering. For ethics the topics that I have studied are; Situation ethics, Utilitarianism and religious ethics as well as abortion. These topics are really interesting in my opinion. Just a heads up though! You have to remember a lot of peoples names and a lot of theories, dates and book names etc. It is really interesting and sometimes you get to do things like debates. I hope that's of some help, and good luck with the A-Levels that you chose
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The Empire Odyssey
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(Original post by jandelrosario)
This September, I'm going to begin my A-Level studies and was wondering whether I should go through with my choice of taking Philosophy and Ethics at A-Level.

I couldn't take the subject at GCSE although I planned to.

Do you like the content? Is it easy or hard to understand and how so? Any pros and cons?

Also, what could I do in the future with a Philosophy and Ethics A-Level?

Any advice and opinions would be greatly appreciated, thank you!
I think personally, I preferred AS Philosophy and A2 Ethics, whilst hated A2 Philosophy and hated AS Ethics. I found AS in general a lot easier to get marks on whereas A2, exams got way tougher because for me (OCR) the AS had two questions per question option. Whereas A2, they combine the two questions into one which means your answers have to be way more argumentative and formulaic.

I think you will know more with what you want to do in the future than what we put on here. It's generally an essay based subject and this subject will teach you some great writing skills and if your teacher likes verbal discussions, it will give you some skills in debating. After A-levels, you can either try and get a job, an apprenticeship, or higher education at university.

I don't think there's any pros and cons. I think in general it's a VAST subject, so you will have to learn a lot of things from both sides which comes in handy so much. But even though it's Philosophy and Ethics, my exam board was basically separate subjects! They didn't complement each other as they are quite separate subjects. For example you'll study the problem with religious language and miracles in philosophy, whilst simultaneously studying do children have a moral conscience in ethics. The amount of content I had to learn, they could have been separate subjects. SO many people in my class dropped it after the 4th week and then dropped it at the end of AS cause it was too much. but if you're good at essay based subjects and remembering theories and so forth, you'll be fine. A-level is all about theories, it's ridiculous!
Oh some of the content especially in Philosophy is incredibly hard to understand because of how a lot of Philosophers like to awkwardly phrase their texts.
For example, Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals "If we put aside the ascetic ideal, then man, the animal man, has had no meaning up to now. His existence on earth has lacked a goal: 'why does man exist at all?' - was a question without an answer; the will for man and earth was missing; behind every great human destiny rang the even greater refrain: "In vain!"'. As you can see, the phrasing is just "awkward" sometimes making it quite difficult to understand on the basis of you do not know what they mean. You probably won't study Nietzsche, but you'll be acquainted with other more difficult Philosophers like Aquinas, Leibniz, Augustine and of course Plato. Just be sure to read around the philosophers.

I think any advice would be just to REVISE! I revised everything for AS philosophy paper and got 99/100 whilst I revised 1 days of Ethics (both on same day; 3 hr exam) and got a U. You do not want to be resitting when you have your A2 exams (if you have AS exams that is). Finally, just enjoy it. I probably hated my Philosophy and Ethics A-level. But I went to uni for a year and realised I actually missed learning about it and now I study it at uni!

Have fun with it, I enjoyed it and still do! It's an amazing subject!
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carpe.noctem
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(Original post by The Empire Odyssey)
I think personally, I preferred AS Philosophy and A2 Ethics, whilst hated A2 Philosophy and hated AS Ethics. I found AS in general a lot easier to get marks on whereas A2, exams got way tougher because for me (OCR) the AS had two questions per question option. Whereas A2, they combine the two questions into one which means your answers have to be way more argumentative and formulaic.

I think you will know more with what you want to do in the future than what we put on here. It's generally an essay based subject and this subject will teach you some great writing skills and if your teacher likes verbal discussions, it will give you some skills in debating. After A-levels, you can either try and get a job, an apprenticeship, or higher education at university.

I don't think there's any pros and cons. I think in general it's a VAST subject, so you will have to learn a lot of things from both sides which comes in handy so much. But even though it's Philosophy and Ethics, my exam board was basically separate subjects! They didn't complement each other as they are quite separate subjects. For example you'll study the problem with religious language and miracles in philosophy, whilst simultaneously studying do children have a moral conscience in ethics. The amount of content I had to learn, they could have been separate subjects. SO many people in my class dropped it after the 4th week and then dropped it at the end of AS cause it was too much. but if you're good at essay based subjects and remembering theories and so forth, you'll be fine. A-level is all about theories, it's ridiculous!
Oh some of the content especially in Philosophy is incredibly hard to understand because of how a lot of Philosophers like to awkwardly phrase their texts.
For example, Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals "If we put aside the ascetic ideal, then man, the animal man, has had no meaning up to now. His existence on earth has lacked a goal: 'why does man exist at all?' - was a question without an answer; the will for man and earth was missing; behind every great human destiny rang the even greater refrain: "In vain!"'. As you can see, the phrasing is just "awkward" sometimes making it quite difficult to understand on the basis of you do not know what they mean. You probably won't study Nietzsche, but you'll be acquainted with other more difficult Philosophers like Aquinas, Leibniz, Augustine and of course Plato. Just be sure to read around the philosophers.

I think any advice would be just to REVISE! I revised everything for AS philosophy paper and got 99/100 whilst I revised 1 days of Ethics (both on same day; 3 hr exam) and got a U. You do not want to be resitting when you have your A2 exams (if you have AS exams that is). Finally, just enjoy it. I probably hated my Philosophy and Ethics A-level. But I went to uni for a year and realised I actually missed learning about it and now I study it at uni!

Have fun with it, I enjoyed it and still do! It's an amazing subject!
Hi,

I Just finished my AS in philosophy and ethics OCR , and I am really unsure as to whether I should continue it to A2 or if I should continue with maths instead. Could you perhaps comment on the step up from AS to A2 and just how you found A2 ?

Thank you.
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The Empire Odyssey
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(Original post by nihil_nimis)
Hi,

I Just finished my AS in philosophy and ethics OCR , and I am really unsure as to whether I should continue it to A2 or if I should continue with maths instead. Could you perhaps comment on the step up from AS to A2 and just how you found A2 ?

Thank you.
I personally believe my opinion nor anyone else's should sway you either way. I think the decision should be yours entirely as you'd know deep down which one you should drop.

Generally, in all subjects, people will find some if not all their A-levels harder by the 2nd year because it is the next level of study so the studying will get more intense and deeper.

I can't really say anything about the steps as it A2 is just harder than AS. It just is because of the new skills you need to add to the remaining skills you picked up at A2. I think the biggest struggle in my class was the different writing format. It doesn't really hurt me because I've always been good at essay subjects. The content gets a lot more heavier so you are forced to take a gamble when it comes to revision as to which one to revise and which topic to miss (everyone did this in my class).

I found A2 generally boring. But I found all my A2 subjects boring. The sheer amount of content is unnecessary (depending on what your own teacher teaches you). But there were a few interesting topics.

But as I said at the start, it's all subjective so you shouldn't take my personal experience as a reflection on the whole course. It's down to your own reason.

If there's one thing I would say is this: if you preferred one subject to another at AS, then I recommend you keep it and drop the subject you least preferred. Do not study any subjects for the sake of it; if it will "look good" on your personal statement. Study the subjects you most enjoyed at AS.
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stef.ffc
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I hope that you didn't pick it, it has successfully ruined my life!
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pw330
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(Original post by stef.ffc)
I hope that you didn't pick it, it has successfully ruined my life!
Honestly, the new spec is horrendous - no one knows how to teach it

the fact that there are no textbooks for 2 years is just... FML i regret choosing this subject so much
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stef.ffc
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(Original post by pw330)
Honestly, the new spec is horrendous - no one knows how to teach it

the fact that there are no textbooks for 2 years is just... FML i regret choosing this subject so much
for sure, I'm almost sure that it is going to cost me my uni place as they're not going to see the background to the course e.g. no textbooks, no past papers, teachers where they don't even know what they are teaching etc.
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pw330
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Which exam board are you doing? I am doing Edexcel and I have Ethics tomorrow - i am so fcked...

Good luck to you!
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stef.ffc
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Same here, I'm really and truly lost out here!
Do you have any predictions lol?

Good Luck!
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pw330
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(Original post by stef.ffc)
Same here, I'm really and truly lost out here!
Do you have any predictions lol?

Good Luck!

How did you find it?
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bettyw27
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I am doing eduqas Religion, Philosophy and Ethics and personally I have never found something so difficult and mentally draining. For me, the religion side is fine but the philosophy/ethics is what is the real killer for me. It is effectively 2.5/3 a levels in one (content wise). I'm sure different exam boards differ and are less/more content heavy but for me, I wouldn't wish the stress I feel on anyone. I'm in year 13 at the moment so I have covered 90% of the course. I know different people have different 'brains' so I'm sure many can get their head around the subject but I personally underestimated the subject, thinking that it was an easy choice!
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gjd800
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(Original post by bettyw27)
thinking that it was an easy choice!
Phil is never the easy choice, at least if you want to do well. People often get caught out by this so don't beat yourself up about it too much.
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