Picking topics for paper 1 – a suggested approach
Philosophy of Religion
The Design Argument
The Cosmological Argument
Religion and Morality
The problem of evil
War and peace
1. On the unit 1 exam, you will answer 3 essay questions. Either 2 philosophy and 1 ethics, or 2 ethics and 1 philosophy (you choose) in 1 hour and 45 minutes. Each 2 part question takes 35 minutes to answer.
2. You need to prepare 5 topics: either 3 philosophy and 2 ethics, or 3 ethics and 2 philosophy.
3. If you are answering 1 ethics question, drop the green ethics topic(s) from row 2. If you are answering 1 philosophy question, drop the green philosophy topic(s) from row 2.
4. If you are answering 2 ethics or philosophy questions, prepare 2 red topics from row 1, and 1 green topic from row 2.
Preparing topics for Unit 1
1. Use the 2 page topic summaries from the Philosophy and Religion intranet page to check basic topic knowledge. http://intranet.wellingtoncollege.org.uk/philosophy-and-religion/as-religious-studies/2-page-as-revision-summaries
2. Expand your topic knowledge using the textbooks and department notes: aim to develop a good, detailed understanding of each topic.
3. Check the past papers (on the P&R intranet) to see the types of questions asked on your topics.
4. Prepare AO1 (description and explanation) paragraphs that you could use in an exam essay (e.g. any essay on utilitarianism would need paragraphs on Bentham and on Mill).
5. Decide your own, personal view on your topic: e.g. do you think that the design argument works? Do you think that utilitarianism is a successful ethical theory? This will help you to write much better AO2 essays.
6. Prepare AO2 (evaluation and argument) paragraphs, based upon the line of argument you want to take. Know the strengths and weaknesses of each theory. Be able to contrast theories with each other e.g. is situation ethics more successful than utilitarianism? Does the design argument work better than the cosmological argument?
7. Make sure you include scholars and their theories in your paragraphs, especially for AO2; e.g. David Hume’s criticisms of the design argument.
8. Using past papers, write some essays under timed conditions. Aim to write for 20 minutes for part a) and 15 minutes for part b). Invent exam questions and answer them.
9. Get someone else to look at and give feedback on your essay (friend/family/teacher) using the marking criteria that the exam board use.
10. Be prepared for spanning questions. The exam board could ask you a question that combines topics in either row 1 or row 2. For example ‘compare and contrast the design and cosmological arguments’; or ‘how far is situation ethics a genuinely religious ethic?
Preparation advice for Unit 2
1. The exam is 1 hour and