A Level Philosophy (Reformed 2017)

What is Philosophy?

The word ‘philosophy’ is derived from the Greek for ‘love of wisdom’. Philosophy is a subject at the core of most humanities courses. It focuses on abstract questions such as ‘how do we know what we know?’ Where does knowledge come from? ‘Does God exist?’ ‘Is the world really as it
appears to us?’ ‘What is the mind?’ and so on. It teaches you to think analytically, how to dissect arguments, and how to wrestle with problems with no obvious end solution.

What sort of student does it suit and what will you get out of the course?

The analysis of reasons and arguments is the core of philosophy. So, you will need a good level of English Language at GCSE and an inquisitive mind. It is suited for students who enjoy debating, reasoning, logical thinking, and asking penetrating questions. Philosophical skills are applicable in any area where arguments are important. They are particularly useful when you are writing essays, since you are usually expected to make a case for your conclusions rather than simply assert them. For this reason, a basic grounding in philosophy is extremely valuable, whatever academic subject you intend to pursue later. This is a challenging course but incredibly rewarding, with philosophy students’ skills being highly sought after in many university courses, and careers.

AS Level

MPW approach to AS Level study

The emphasis in teaching is on both knowledge of how particular philosophical issues have been addressed in the past as well as developing the necessary skills to analyse and develop arguments. Reading of the works of key figures in the history of philosophy is required as is the ability to develop closely argued written arguments with fluency.

AS Level Specification Number
AQA 7171

 

Paper 1
3h exam
100%

Epistemology and Moral Philosophy
This unit looks at some key issues in philosophy: does our knowledge come from reason or experience; is our perception of the world correct?; and what do good and bad actually mean?

 

Reading list

AuthorTitlePublisher
Descartes The Meditations Penguin Classics
Jones, Hayward, Cardinal  AQA AS Philosophy  Hodder Education
Lacewing  Philosophy for AS  Routledge 

 

A Level

MPW approach to A Level study

The skills developed in AS will be built upon and extend with an emphasis on detailed analysis of key thinkers and texts. Knowledge of how particular philosophical issues have been addressed in the past will be improved upon and the skills to analyse and develop arguments will be refined. There will be at least two written assignments each week as well as a weekly assessment under supervised and timed conditions.

A Level Specification 
AQA 7172

 

Paper 1
3h exam
50%

Epistemology and Moral Philosophy
This unit looks at some key issues in philosophy: does our knowledge come from reason or experience; is our perception of the world correct?; and what do good and bad actually mean?

Paper 2
3h exam
50%

The Metaphysics of God and The Metaphysics of Mind
Candidates study the two themes in depth including the questions: is the concept of God incoherent?; why does evil exist?; and what is the relationship between mind and body?

 

Reading list

AuthorTitlePublisher
Hume Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion Penguin Classics
Jones, Hayward, Cardinal  AQA A2 Philosophy Hodder Education 
Lacewing Philosophy for A2 Routledge

Jonathon

Grades achieved at MPW
A*AA

Progressed to
Exeter University (Business Management)

I chose MPW because of the academic support provided by the college, which was instrumental in helping me throughout the challenging nature of my one-year A level courses. The weekly Timed Assignments and assistance provided by the Personal Tutor system helped me in areas I had previously struggled. Playing for the college football team was a great release from the challenging academic nature of the year and it helped me build friendships with other students in the college.

Shivali

Grades achieved at MPW
AAA

Progressed to
Leeds University (Dentistry)

The best part about studying at MPW is the friendly, encouraging and supportive classroom environment that MPW provides.  It makes asking for help and reaching your potential easy and enjoyable. The college really helps students to believe in themselves.  The Personal Tutor system is great because it is available for you to use to whatever extent you might need whether that be having weekly meetings or meeting every now and then for a quick catch up to analyse my current progress.  The weekly Timed Assignments have also enabled me to build my confidence in the build up to my exams.  They help you to feel comfortable in an exam environment, as well as enable you to consolidate the material you need to recall in the final exams

Annabel

Grades achieved at MPW
A*AB

Progressed to
Exeter University (International Relations and History)

“Having not achieved the grades I wanted or needed in my A levels at my previous college I decided that retaking would be the best option for me.  I have found the small classes at MPW to be a real asset, and that, coupled with the fantastic teaching, has certainly enabled me to grow academically. Further to this, both the academic support and the university guidance provided by the college have been exceptional.”

Renee

Grades achieved at MPW
A*A

Progressed to
Manchester University (Dentistry)

After failing to get into Dental School last year I lost a lot of confidence and was worried that I might never get into my dream course.  The one-to-one support you get from MPW is so much more efficient compared to the main stream schools and colleges. The individual help you get for applying to University which includes interview support is amazing. No matter if you are a resit or a first time student, no one judges you and as long as you are hardworking and want to be a success.

Jake

Grades achieved at MPW
A*A*A*A

Progressed to
Oxford University (Mathematics)

I joined MPW because I wanted to be part of a close knit community that focuses on helping students attain the grades they are really capable of.  Each student is assigned a Personal Tutor who assists them in all aspects of student life.  I would recommend the individual and personally tailored care given to any student looking to expand their academic horizons.  The encouragement and support has allowed me to aim high and achieve results that I had previously thought weren't possible. 

Cordelia

Grades achieved at MPW
A*AA

Progressed to
King’s College London (Dentistry)

MPW gave me a second chance in pursuing a career in dentistry. The small class sizes and weekly timed assessments gave me and my tutors a clear indication of my progress.  The rigorous teaching schedules, structured and tailored to my personal needs, was exactly what I needed. MPW placed heavy focus on exam technique as the key to achieving the required higher grades. Being able to talk with my tutors at any time in the day was an invaluable aid. It was also clear how much the teachers took a personal interest in the development of each individual student.

Josephine

Grades achieved at MPW
A*AA

Progressed to
University of Warwick (Management)

I joined MPW having not fulfilled my academic potential during my AS level exams at my previous school. I decided to retake my AS year at MPW and it was the best decision I ever made. The tutors at MPW have pushed me to achieve my maximum potential and have greatly improved my academic performance. The best part of studying at MPW is the weekly timed assignments as they ensure that you continuously review and revise work as well as helping you to make weekly improvements on exam technique.

Olivia

Grades achieved at MPW
A*AA

Progressed to
Bristol University (Dentistry)

Throughout my time at MPW I have been provided with constant support.  The college has prepared me for not only my exams but also the university interviews I attended.  It has been an amazing experience from start to finish.  The friendly and welcoming environment created by the staff and students made it an ideal setting for me to concentrate on achieving my targets.

Alex

Grades achieved at MPW
AAA

Progressed to
University of Birmingham (Law)

I came to MPW with very low self-confidence after under-achieving at AS level at my previous school, and have left with greater confidence about my academic ability and with a definite degree of clarity about what I hope to achieve in terms of my career. My experience at my previous school was that those with Oxbridge potential receive the most support and attention. This is not the case at MPW. I have found that it does not matter about that what the student's potential may be, each student receives the same amount of help to achieve their goals.