Fast Track A Level in Classics (Full AS+A2)


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Fast Track A Level in Classics (Full AS+A2)

Syllabus: ‘A’ Level H038/H438 (10/2016)

(Issue: 11)

 OCR 2016


The Course Programme



Fast Track is a unique programme designed specifically for learners who want to obtain the qualifications in a short space of time; need to improve a current grade; revise to re-sit the AS/A level. Popular with mature students, returning learners, who need to prove academic ability before entry to higher education at University or, even improve employment prospects; all of whom want the flexibility of learning online at their own pace rather than conventional settings.

This Fast Track level three (3) course is based on the OCR Advanced General Certificate Education (GCE); that also includes units from the AS level (A-GCE) Specifications for Classical Civilisation, which became available from 2016 examination series.


This course consists of FOUR UNITS (4) from the GCE ‘A’ Level and is a qualification in its own right.   Students are strongly recommended to familiarise themselves with the new OCR specification for the A level GCE in Classical Civilisation (for first examination in 2016).


The concept of the programme is to be able to study at a paced level that allows students to complete the programme in a short space of time, usually 12 months. In doing so, students can plan to sit the most suitable examination series following completion. Students can also use the course to sit either the A level or the AS level and in some cases students may want to sit both!



College Fees

The College remains at the competitive edge of online and distance learning; and through our excellent track record, provide a quality assured programme of learning our fees are within the range of market trends for similar courses, but remain readily affordable.


Our fee for this course is £ 365:00* which can be paid in full or, through instalments.

(*The course fee excludes ALL external examinations costs).



Key Features


Oxford Learning College offer the opportunity to study Classic Civilisations courses as specified by OCR. This A level syllabus has several features the aims of these Classics specifications are to encourage candidates to:


·         Develop an interest in, and enthusiasm for, the classical world;

·         Acquire, through studying a range of appropriate sources, knowledge and understanding of selected aspects of classical civilisation;

·         Develop awareness of the continuing influence of the classical world on later times and of the similarities and differences between the classical world and later times;

·         Develop and apply analytical and evaluative skills at an appropriate level;

·         Make an informed, personal response to the material studied.


 In addition, the Latin and Classical Greek units aim to encourage candidates to:


  • Develop an appropriate level of competence in the language studied and a sensitive and analytical approach to language generally.



Course Entry Requirements

Good English oral, reading and writing skills, previous study at level two (GCSE, IGCSE etc) or equivalent.  Full tutor support is given although, Tutor’s are not able to support beyond specific syllabus queries, learning difficulties and marking/grading of TMA’s.  General support is offered by OLC through its online and telephone student services centre.


Study Hours

Approximately: Ninety (90) hours of personal study time, per unit, which is supported by the student’s OLC Tutor, which is an optional arrangement for students, but we greatly encouraged students to access this to achieve a good examination outcome.




This qualification supports progression in our College to other Advanced GCE and other International Higher Awards in many academic subjects (see our level 4 & 5 portfolio of courses online); and also, allow students to move onto Higher Education or similar Institution completing: Foundation Degrees; Degrees Post-graduate and other formal qualifications.



Course Syllabus & Contents


The whole ‘A’ level has FOUR (4) specific units of study, which are sub-divided into FOUR (4) Units of learning, these are:



AS Modules

The Advanced Subsidiary GCE is the first half of the GCE course and consists of Units 1 and 2. It may be awarded as a discrete qualification or contribute 50 per cent of the total Advanced GCE marks


Unit One: Greek History from original sources

Option One: Athenian Democracy in the 5th century BC

The principal focus of this unit is the handling of original sources as a historian. Candidates should be able to demonstrate knowledge and an understanding of:


        • The nature of historical evidence;
        • The methods used by historians in analysis and evaluation including the problems of reliability;
        • A selection of original source material in its context*.


*Students will be provided with comprehensive reading from literary and Archaeological Sources within the course materials and advised regarding additional reading.


In studying the original sources, candidates should be able to demonstrate knowledge and an understanding of:


·         The nature and distinctiveness of ancient Athenian democracy; 

·         The nature and level of participation in the democratic system (including critiques of this system) by the population of Attica, including citizens, women, metics and slaves;

·         The workings of the assembly (ekklesia), the council (boule), and the role and function of magistrates (archons) and generals (strategoi) and ostracism; courts and their role in democracy; 

·         The role and significance of prominent individuals (Cleisthenes, Perikles, Ephialtes, Cleon), as represented in the sources;

·         The importance of rhetoric and public speaking for leadership in Athens.




Unit Two: AS Unit CC2: Homer's Odyssey and Society

The principal focus of this unit is on literature, society and values. The unit is also concerned with history and archaeology. Candidates must study Homer's Odyssey. Passages for the commentary questions will be selected from books 4–12, 18–22. Candidates must be prepared to answer commentary questions on passages taken from any of the material prescribed for the unit


Literary context


Candidates should be able to demonstrate knowledge and an understanding of:


        • Oral tradition;
        • Transmission of the texts, including when the epics were written down;
        • What their preliterate form was and whether they were composed by one or more poets; Structure of the epic;
        • Narrative techniques, including flashback, retardation, episodes;
        • The language of epic, including formulae and similes;
        • Presentation of character; · supernatural elements, such as monsters;
        • Realism and fantasy;
        • Disguise and recognition;
        • Nostos.


Social and cultural context Candidates should be able to demonstrate an Understanding of the following:


·         The role of the gods and the power of fate;

·         The stories of the heroes;

·         The concept of heroism, including the ideas of honour (timé) and reputation (kleos);

·         Moral concepts, such as justice and revenge;

·         Life and society as portrayed by Homer;

·         The part played by women in the epics and their position in society;

·         Hospitality and guest friendship (xenia);

·         The role of slaves;

·         Historical and archaeological background


Unit Three: A2 Unit AH4: Roman History: use & abuse of power Option Three: Option 3: Ruling the Roman Empire AD 14–117.

Students will be expected to use the skills they have acquired in handling original sources at AS level and refer to these sources where appropriate.


 The principal focus of this unit is on the investigation of historical themes through the evaluation and interpretation of original sources in context. Candidates should be able to:


·         Demonstrate knowledge and an understanding of specified themes through relevant and appropriate literary, documentary and material evidence;

·         Support their arguments through the use of appropriate original sources*.



*Students will be provided with comprehensive reading from literary and Archaeological Sources within the course materials and advised regarding additional reading.



The thematic focus of this option is Rome’s relations with the provinces of the empire. Candidates will be expected to have studied a range of original sources on the following topics, and to refer to them in supporting their answers:


·         Attitudes to imperial rule in the eastern and western provinces, including active resistance and the maintenance of local or regional identities;

·         The social and economic effects on provinces of incorporation within the Empire, including the question of ‘Romanisation’;

·         The differing image of the emperor in the eastern and western provinces, including the imperial cult;

·         The governance and administration of the Empire including the role of senators, equestrians and the army; Frontier and defensive policies within the Empire


Unit Four: A2 Unit A2 Unit CC10:

Virgil and the world of the hero


The principal focus of this unit is on literature, society and values. The unit is also concerned with history, politics and religion. Students must read the prescribed books selected from Virgil’s Aeneid and Homer’s Iliad. These books are: Aeneid: Books 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 12. Iliad: Books 6, 18, 22 and 24. Passages for commentary may be taken from any of these books.


Literary context

Candidates should be able to demonstrate knowledge and an understanding of the following areas:

·         The composition of both epics;

·         Plot;

·         Narrative techniques including speeches and repetition;

·         Descriptive techniques including similes and imagery;

·         Characterisation;

·         Themes within the epics including: heroism, honour and reputation, family, women, the role of the gods, the power of fate, the portrayal of war, moral values and the role of Aeneas in Rome’s imperial destiny.


Political, social, historical and cultural context

Candidates should also show an awareness of: Virgil’s relationship to the regime of Augustus; and equally the political and historical background in which the, Aeneid was written.


Prescribed Material

 Students may use any complete translation of the texts. Where a translation is printed on the question paper it will be taken from:


Virgil, Aeneid translated by D West (Penguin)

Homer, Iliad translated by M Hammond (Penguin).


Extracts printed on the examination question papers will continue to be taken from these translations even if they go out of print during the lifetime of the specification, and therefore, our college may use any complete translations in our written materials.



Support Materials


Although the course programme is ‘self contained’ the student may wish to obtain further materials in regards to learning. The following materials are in the course materials alongside an excellent list of resources and FAQ’s, to guide learning: -





D C H Rieu Homer, Odyssey translated by E V Rieu, (revised translation) (Penguin)

D West Virgil, Aeneid  (Penguin)

M Hammond Homer, Iliad (Penguin).

A full list is provided within the learning materials.

Andrew Northedge – The Good Study Guide Open University

                                    All of the above can also be obtained in an electronic format




Greater detail of all the course information and resources will be provided after enrolment.


Assessment Objectives


Awarding Body Syllabus

The course does not as standard have any examinations board ‘course work’ element and is therefore, has an end loaded final assessment by a FOUR (4) papers across the four syllabus units of learning.


To ensure that the four assessment objectives are clearly placed and assessed prior to the final examination, the TMA’s are weighted in accordance with these AO statements below:


AO1: Recall and deploy relevant knowledge and understanding of literary, cultural, material or historical sources or linguistic forms in their appropriate context


AO2: Analyse, evaluate and respond to classical sources (literary, cultural, material, historical or linguistic) as appropriate.


AO2b: Select, organise and present relevant information and argument in a clear, logical, accurate and appropriate form.


Quality of Written Communication (QWC)

In addition, in GCE A-level specifications which require Students to produce written material in English, Students must: ensure that text is legible and that spelling, punctuation and grammar are accurate so that meaning is clear; select and use a form and style of writing appropriate to purpose and to complex subject matter; organise, information clearly and coherently, using specialist vocabulary when appropriate. In this Specification, QWC will be assessed in all questions and in all units


Course Assessment Requirements


What's Included

Online learning materials, online resources, and full tutor support for one year upon signing our Terms and Conditions agreement.

Entry Requirements

Although the A-Level programmes build on the course content of GCSE, it is not necessary to have this qualification before undertaking an A-Level. However, in order to meet the demands of the course, it is recommended that candidates have literacy and communication skills equivalent to C or higher at GCSE. Please note that full tutor support is still provided throughout your course duration.

The format of the Examinations

PLEASE NOTE: All exams are held during the May - June exam period of every year.

International Students

If you are based outside the UK, it may be possible to sit your examination through your local British Council, depending on your location.

Further Information

Your course is delivered online via the Oxford Learning On Campus website.

After enrolling online, you will receive a username and password to access the On Campus area. This is delivered within a few moments and three-working days.

Students are required to arrange and pay for their examinations and manage the course work element if the subject requires this. Students must check the relevant examination board website for further information and final examination sitting dates for the specification.

Materials and support provided by Oxford Learning.Oxford Learning

Our A-Level programmes are eligible for UCAS points, making them a great choice for students aiming to progress to University. UCAS points are awarded according to the grade earned, please see below for details.

A levels are also widely recognised by employers and are useful for students looking to progress their careers or meet requirements for promotion.

UCAS Points Table
A* = 140
A = 120
B = 100
C = 80
D = 60
E = 40
F = 20

Course Fee


Payment by Instalments

Students are able to pay course fees in monthly instalments. Click here to download our instalment plan.

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