The Student Room Group

Is A level philosophy (aqa) hard if you study?

Do you get high marks if you know your stuff and follow a structure in those 25 mark and 12 mark questions, like in RE gcse where you get the marks in those 4,5 and 12 markers if you argue consistently and follow a set structure.
Also, do you have to read extensively about other arguments related to the topic if you want to get high marks or are the information given to you in the textbooks or in class.
Sorry you've not had any responses about this. :frown: Are you sure you've posted in the right place? :smile: Here's a link to our subject forum which should help get you more responses if you post there. :redface:
Reply 2
Higher marks are usually given to those who read outside the course (as they have a greater understanding of the topic) but once you understand the mark scheme you are able to get higher marks through prewriting answers to questions. I am currently doing AQA alevel philosophy so am happy to answer any questions :smile:
Reply 3
Original post by RonaldH
Do you get high marks if you know your stuff and follow a structure in those 25 mark and 12 mark questions, like in RE gcse where you get the marks in those 4,5 and 12 markers if you argue consistently and follow a set structure.
Also, do you have to read extensively about other arguments related to the topic if you want to get high marks or are the information given to you in the textbooks or in class.

As a student in year 13 studying aqa philosophy, I'll be the first to tell you that philosophy is an extremely difficult a level. I got predicted an A, but it took a lot of hardwork, much more than economics in which I got predicted an A*. The main thing about philosophy is being absolutely concise and having no redundancy in your answers. That means you need to know everything 100% accurately and give accurate definitions, otherwise you get marked down instantly. Philosophy is I think the only subject in which you can get marked down for beating around the bush and waffling. In year 1, moral philosophy is relatively easy, except meta ethics which is a bit hard. Focus on epistemology a lot as that is very difficult. What you also need to know is that for the 3,5 and 12, its all knowledge marks, whereas in the 25, ao1 (knowledge) is 8 marks, and ao2 ( arguments) are 17. A02 consists of making a point, making a counter argument against it, and evaluating. You can also do further counter arguments if you want, but its mainly about arguing nonstop basically. About reading extensively, you don't need to, but it could help to get a sense of the arguments. Philosophy is just a bunch of philosophers going back and forth at each other, so it could be helpful to read their own arguments instead of just the book. Year 2 philosophy is also quite difficult, but since you aren't there yet, take this advice and focus most of your attention on epistemology.
Reply 4
Original post by hi12345679
As a student in year 13 studying aqa philosophy, I'll be the first to tell you that philosophy is an extremely difficult a level. I got predicted an A, but it took a lot of hardwork, much more than economics in which I got predicted an A*. The main thing about philosophy is being absolutely concise and having no redundancy in your answers. That means you need to know everything 100% accurately and give accurate definitions, otherwise you get marked down instantly. Philosophy is I think the only subject in which you can get marked down for beating around the bush and waffling. In year 1, moral philosophy is relatively easy, except meta ethics which is a bit hard. Focus on epistemology a lot as that is very difficult. What you also need to know is that for the 3,5 and 12, its all knowledge marks, whereas in the 25, ao1 (knowledge) is 8 marks, and ao2 ( arguments) are 17. A02 consists of making a point, making a counter argument against it, and evaluating. You can also do further counter arguments if you want, but its mainly about arguing nonstop basically. About reading extensively, you don't need to, but it could help to get a sense of the arguments. Philosophy is just a bunch of philosophers going back and forth at each other, so it could be helpful to read their own arguments instead of just the book. Year 2 philosophy is also quite difficult, but since you aren't there yet, take this advice and focus most of your attention on epistemology.

so I saw the grade boundaries, and it's like 70% for a A, so you get a 20/25 to get a A* right? Also, how many arguments and counter arguments (let say all the arguments are concise , true and accurate) would be required to get 20 or above in those 25 markers?
Reply 5
Original post by theBeani33
Higher marks are usually given to those who read outside the course (as they have a greater understanding of the topic) but once you understand the mark scheme you are able to get higher marks through prewriting answers to questions. I am currently doing AQA alevel philosophy so am happy to answer any questions :smile:

so would you say there is a set structure in those 25 markers in which if you follow it and know your stuff, you will get high marks, unlike English Lit where the marking is subjective and you get half the marks after you follow a structure?
Original post by RonaldH
so I saw the grade boundaries, and it's like 70% for a A, so you get a 20/25 to get a A* right? Also, how many arguments and counter arguments (let say all the arguments are concise , true and accurate) would be required to get 20 or above in those 25 markers?
so usually it goes like this. Intro, para 1 explaining a few strengths of the theory (in a 25 marker, you should always disagree as that is the easiest way to answer the question). Para 2, 3 and 4 follow a set structure of giving a point against the theory, defending the theory with a counter argument, possibly countering that counter argument (you don't need to but it can be helpful) and then making an evaluative judgement as to why the criticism defeats the theory. three paragraphs of the same thing and then just the conclusion should get you a good mark. If you're taking humanities/social sciences a levels, id suggest taking history, politics, economics, geography or classical civilisation over philosophy because philosophy is extremely difficult, but if you really enjoy the content and are willing to put in the work, then by all means take it. Sometimes I wish I took politics or history over philosophy as they seem a lot easier, but philosophy is definitely an interesting subject.
Reply 7
Original post by hi12345679
so usually it goes like this. Intro, para 1 explaining a few strengths of the theory (in a 25 marker, you should always disagree as that is the easiest way to answer the question). Para 2, 3 and 4 follow a set structure of giving a point against the theory, defending the theory with a counter argument, possibly countering that counter argument (you don't need to but it can be helpful) and then making an evaluative judgement as to why the criticism defeats the theory. three paragraphs of the same thing and then just the conclusion should get you a good mark. If you're taking humanities/social sciences a levels, id suggest taking history, politics, economics, geography or classical civilisation over philosophy because philosophy is extremely difficult, but if you really enjoy the content and are willing to put in the work, then by all means take it. Sometimes I wish I took politics or history over philosophy as they seem a lot easier, but philosophy is definitely an interesting subject.
So for each theory taught, you have to know at least 3 arguments for that theory and 3 arguments against? Do you get all these information in lessons or textbooks?
Original post by RonaldH
So for each theory taught, you have to know at least 3 arguments for that theory and 3 arguments against? Do you get all these information in lessons or textbooks?

You gotta know 3 internal criticisms of that theory yeah and the counter arguments. For example, in idealism (theories of perception section), one criticism would be that it can't explain regularity and predictability in the universe, but other realists can since they believe in an external mind-independent world. Now you would counter this, saying that Berkley (philosopher who made idealism) says that the matter of idea is incoherent, and that he says that God makes the universe predictable and regulates it. To evaluate, you would say I believe Berkley fails to respond adequately, because in this instance, Berkley is using God as a filler because he can't respond to the argument (usually, philosophers bring God into the argument when they can't see another way out, therefore it's considered weak). Due to this, the criticism successfully defeats the theory. You do the same thing 2 more times, and thats it, + the conclusion. You can find this info online, but hopefully your teachers are decent enough to be able to explain all these criticisms so you have enough to answer a 25.

Quick Reply

Latest