What can we learn from the OCR A Level Religious Studies examiner reports?

OCR have released their examiner reports into the first OCR A Level Religious Studies exams which took place in the summer. The reports overall have been really positive, with students performing well in the new exams. We have summarized the key issues that the examiners found students needed to improve, and gathered some free content that address these issues to help your students avoid these mistakes in the future.

Key issues

  1. Time management: some students ran out of time and so were only able to answer one or two questions instead of three. Students need to think about how to plan their time carefully so they know what to expect, and keep a close eye on the clock as they go through the questions.
  2. Not answering the question: some students lacked focus on the exact wording of the question, producing weaker, more general answers. The strongest answers were argument-driven essays focused on the question throughout.
  3. Structure of answers: students wasted time by beginning answers with a long introduction setting up what they were going to discuss, which would have served better as a conclusion in order to bring their ideas together.
  4. Evaluation: some students struggled to fully evaluate by not reaching a conclusion in their essay or failing to justify their views
  5. Breadth of knowledge: some students achieved very different marks across the three questions, suggesting that some students were much stronger on some topics than others. Other students needed to make sure that they gave specific examples and quotations for topics.

Get ahead for this year

Here are some free resources from the Oxford A Level Religious Studies for OCR series to help address these issues that came up in the 2018 summer exams, including guidance on essay essay technique and the importance of evaluation.