Sunday, 10 May 2015

WJEC AS Religion in Contemporary Society: Past Paper Questions and 2015 Guesses

Photo: Wikimedia
I've collected together the WJEC Religion in Contemporary Society past paper questions from 2009 (except for Religion and TV and NRMs as I don't teach these), which you might find useful for exam prep and essay practice. You can find them here (you may need a Google account).

I've also had a stab at guessing what might come up this year and have come up with these dummy questions, which I set as a mini mock for my Year 12s.

Medical and Environmental Ethics
(a) Outline religious and moral arguments concerning the use of animals as pets and entertainment. [30]
(b) ‘Religious believers should support animal rights.’ Assess this view. [15]

Religion and Community
(a) Outline the evidence for the concept of secularisation. [30]
(b) ‘Religion has little relevance in the modern world.’ Assess this view. [15]

Religion and the Individual
(a) Examine Jung’s view of religious belief [30]
(b) ‘Psychological explanations of religion have no value.’ Assess this view. [15]

These are just my guesses, of course, based upon what has and hasn't come up in the last few years, and just so we're clear I have no knowledge of the actual exam paper! But my reasoning is as follows:

The use of animals as pets and entertainment is on the syllabus, but has never been the focus of an exam question, so might come up this time. I tend to think that part b questions are a little harder to guess, but there's something on the syllabus about the compatibility of animal rights with religious principles, so perhaps we are due for a question on this area.  Euthanasia came up last summer, which is why I've plumped for Animal Rights, but there has been a fairly even spread in recent years. If the question is on Euthanasia, I wonder if the focus might be on religious arguments for and/or against.

In Religion and Community, again there's been a fairly even spread in recent years so the only reason for picking a question on Secularisation is that Fundamentalism came up last year. It's been four years since a question on the evidence for secularisation, so I wouldn't be surprised if it came up this year. Last year's Fundamentalism question looked at the characteristics of fundamentalism, so that's unlikely to come up this year - so something on the causes of fundamentalism would be a better bet if I'm wrong about the question being on secularisation.

In Religion and the Individual, Freud has been the focus of the last three summer questions, so I think Jung is a pretty good bet to come up. The question I've come up with is pretty general, but the might me a more focused question - on the archetypes maybe? A part a on Jung may well be followed by a Jung part b, but you have to go back four years to find a part b question which assesses the general validity of psychological approaches to religion, which is why I've plumped for my part b question.

So those are my thoughts. If you teach (or study) RICS, let me know if you think my questions are along the right lines or if you think something else might come up.


  1. guess who is taking a second philosophy AS today? that's right, me. OCR this time though, and it's far, far easier! I am the last one remaining of our original year 9 philosophy class however :(

    1. Nice to hear from you Izzy - best of luck in your exam today! OCR P&E is miles easier than AQA, so I'm sure you'll do great. Pity the rest of the year 9's have wimped out though...

    2. thanks! it went well I'd say. I answered questions on the teleological argument and Aristotle. my part b's weren't stunning but I think I nailed the part a's, even if the teleological question tried to throw people off by being focused on Hume. after 4 years of studying philosophy, however, I'm certain I could write a PhD on him ahah. it's sad the others quit philosophy indeed. although I never thought back in year 9 I would be taking philosophy in sixth form, let alone planning to study it in university!

  2. hi Mr Regnier! it's izzy again. got my results and P&E was the only AS I did well in... got a B overall. nice high A in philosophy and a kinda average B in ethics. hoping to get ethics remarked and push it overall up to an A. unfortunately I screwed up my other subjects with BDDE in my exams and I have to retake year 12. allowed to carry on this philosophy course to A2 though! hoping for an A or A* at the end of it. hope you're doing well, thought it might make you happy to hear I've *finally* got a success in philosophy after 4 damn years...

    1. Hi Izzy,

      Nice to hear from you! I'm glad your Philosophy efforts have paid off... or was it just my amazing AS Philosophy teaching skills? I'm am having a curry with a few of the old RGS teachers tonight as it happens, just to complete the trip down RGS memory lane. Best of luck with the remarks and year repeats - I rests my year 13, it happens to the best of us...

      Mr Regnier