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Religious Studies

Religious Studies

What is it about at sixth form level?

Is there a God? How should we live? These two fundamental questions underlie everything you will be looking at in the Religious Studies A level. You will be approaching them in a distinctively philosophical way. You will be exploring many arguments for God’s existence and problems that argue for atheism. You will be comparing different theories of ethics from across the ages and looking at what they have to say about some very modern ethical problems. The importance of religious belief is being questioned today like never before and you will develop the skills to look at the issues in a sophisticated and critical way.

Many of the arguments and views have emerged within the Judaeo-Christian tradition, and studying the New Testament will enrich and give context to these debates. However, the fundamental questions we started with transcend any one faith and this is not a course that tries to get you to make up your mind. Wherever you stand, there is much to be learned and admired from the complexity and subtlety with which theists, agnostics and atheists have addressed the sorts of questions that fascinate everyone.

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Lower sixth
Upper sixth

Why study it and what skills does it develop?

Religious Studies is a much-respected subject. It introduces perennially fascinating theological and philosophical problems that will engage you and develop your critical and analytical skills. You will learn to think in abstract ways and to challenge your own beliefs. You will develop the ability to read and understand complex ideas and the ability to articulate them clearly in essays. All of these are valuable skills across a wide range of disciplines, making it a subject universities look favourably on.

What prior knowledge and skills are required?

You do not need Religious Studies GCSE or indeed any other particular qualifications to study the subject at A level. You should be aware that the course requires a good deal of reading and writing and a capacity for logical thought.

How is the course assessed?

A level

All three A level papers are written exams. Each exam lasts 2 hours and is worth 33% of the A level. In each paper, you answer three questions from a choice of four.

Reading

An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion
By B. Davies
Published by OUP, ISBN 978-0199263479

OCR Religious Studies A Level Year 1 and AS
By H. Campbell, M. Wilkinson, M. Wilcockson
Published by Hodder Education, ISBN 978-1471866692

Christianity: An Introduction 3rd Revised Edition
By A. McGrath
Published by Wiley-Blackwell, ISBN 978-1118465653

OCR Religious Studies A Level Year 2
By M. Wilkinson, M. Wilcockson
Published by Hodder Education, ISBN 978-1471866746

Exam Board and Specification Codes

A level: OCR H573

Mat Carmody
Head of Department

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