Alex Orgee – Classics Subject Advisor
In the past weeks, we’ve been running online Q&A events to give you a chance to ask subject-specific questions about this year’s advance information (AI). This followed our more general FAQ blogs for teachers and for students. In this blog, I’ve summarised the questions relating to GCSE Classical Civilisation that were asked at our Classical Civilisation Q&A event. A separate blog has been produced that answers the questions relating to AS and A Level Classical Civilisation.
The topics listed have been lifted directly from the specification and relate to the content that is listed within these topic areas in the specification.
When writing the AI, the author of the notice looked at the questions in the 2022 exam and decided which specification content points they directly targeted. Therefore, there will not be any direct questions about the ‘Death and Burial’ or Greek ‘Symbols of Power’ key topic areas in the Myth and Religion paper. There won’t be questions like questions 18 to 20 from the 2020 paper that clearly target the Roman Death and Burial topic. If this was the case, this topic area would have been included in the AI.
However, as stated in the webinar, the policy intention of the AI is that all specification content is taught, and our advice is that all of the content is revised.
This is to ensure that candidates are as well prepared as possible for the exams. Students can, however, focus their revision on the areas listed in the AI.
I have provided a couple of theoretical examples which I hope helps illustrate these points more clearly:
The question of what is a “higher tariff” is only relevant to Section A of the Literature and Culture papers, as this is the only part of the AI notice that specifically mentions this terminology.
The AI for Section A of the Homeric World, Roman City Life, and War and Warfare papers details the key topic areas and relevant content points from these key topic areas that are targeted in the higher tariff “detailed response and extended response questions”. The detailed response questions are the 8-mark questions while the extended response questions are the 15-mark questions.
As explained above, the Myth and Religion AI covers the whole paper, so the AI notice includes the topics targeted in the 3- and 6-mark questions in Section C of the paper. Therefore, the discussion of whether the 3- and 6- mark questions in Section C are high or low tariff is irrelevant.
Short answer: yes.
The AI provides information of where the extracts printed on the Question Paper Insert will be taken from. As you will be aware from looking at the SAMs and past papers, all of the knowledge and understanding questions, stimulus questions, significance questions, and detailed response questions are linked to the passages printed in the question paper insert.
The only questions in Section B of the Literature and Culture papers that are not linked to the passages printed on the question paper insert are the 15-mark extended response questions. Therefore, Pliny’s Letters and Horace Satires 2.2 and 2.8 (i.e. all of the prescribed texts listed in the specification) also need to be studied and revised to ensure students are fully prepared for the exam as the 15-mark questions could target these.
The same is true for the Homeric World and the War and Warfare components. The five prescribed books from the Odyssey need to be studied and revised. In War and Warfare, all of the prescribed extracts from Homer’s Iliad, Horace Odes 3.2 and the Tyrtaeus poem need to be studied on top of the extracts listed in the Advance Information.
The aim of AI wasn’t to reduce content, but to focus students’ revision for the forthcoming exams. There is still an expectation that all content is covered and all should be revised. Nothing has been ‘cut’ from the specification. The advance information should be used to help focus students’ revision.
No, we will not be producing further sets of questions. There are a range of materials available that can be used to help prepare students for the exams this summer. The specimen assessment materials, the live 2019 question papers and mark schemes and the live 2020 question papers and mark schemes are all currently available on the public OCR website. The 2021 question papers and mark schemes are currently on Interchange. Questions from these papers can be used to help prepare your students.
The 2022 papers will be made available on Interchange within a few days of each exam taking place, as per OCR’s usual policy. Mark schemes will be made available on Interchange on GCSE results day. It is OCR’s normal policy to keep these papers on Interchange so that they can be used as mock exam for the following year’s cohort.
If you have any questions about this summer’s assessment and would like to talk to us, please get in touch at email@example.com or follow us on Twitter @OCR_Classics. You can also sign up to subject updates and receive email information about resources and support.
Alex has worked at OCR since 2009, first joining the Classics team in 2012. Since then, he has been involved in the redevelopment of all the Classics qualifications. In his spare time, Alex enjoys cycling, watching sport, and gardening.