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7 on IB Philosophy? Markschemes?

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Several questions:

How hard is it to get a 7 on IB Philosophy? Will reading summaries - e.g. Sparknotes - be sufficient for Paper 2?

How are the essays graded? I know that each essay is out of 30 points. But how do the graders determine how many points you get? Do you get a point for each name you drop? Do you also get "quality of construction" marks? Where can I find a markscheme?

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Don't just go on sparknotes, chances are you will need to know your book much much better than they can ever teach you on sparknotes. And no you don't get points for name dropping, not really

Markscheme: knowledge /5 (how well you know the piece)

Expression /5 (how clearly you're writing)

Relevance /10 (have you chosen material that is relevant to the question etc.) (not 100% on this one, might need to check it)

Evaluation /10 (how effectively have you evaluated arguments)

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How hard is it to get a 7 on IB Philosophy? Will reading summaries - e.g. Sparknotes - be sufficient for Paper 2?

No :P You have to understand and be able to argue/re-explain all of the concepts within the text you studied for Paper 2 and I really don't think Sparknotes could possibly supply you with sufficient knowledge to do so. To be honest it's not like Philosophy is very demanding, I mean there's only a single text to study, so being thorough and learning the points made in the text isn't going to take you too long or much effort at all. If you want a 7 in Philosophy you don't have to put out /that/ much effort but you do need to make SOME!

It's not about name dropping it's about being able to understand and manipulate the arguments/theories and yourself apply them to different situations and evaluate their usefulness. A tiny bit of name-dropping is essential to show you actually have studied something over the past 2 years but essentially the marks come from clarity of thought and expression.

You can find the syllabus (which should have mark schemes) in the Files section of this site, free to download. Or just google it. Off the top of my head, what the user above said sounds correct, however I never actually used a markscheme for Philosophy so I'm not 100%.

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We mark each others essays and sample essays from the IB constantly, and we've spent a long time going over the mark scheme, so I know it almost off by heart (apart from the grade boundaries), and philosophy is the subject I spend most time on because its what I want to do at uni.

Make sure you know the work very well, like Sandwich said, and my tip is keep doing timed essays, might be a little late now but keep doing them. I just got a 7 in philosophy paper 3 so hopefully I'll be able to replicate that in the exam. Otherwise, see Sandwich's post :)

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Don't just go on sparknotes, chances are you will need to know your book much much better than they can ever teach you on sparknotes. And no you don't get points for name dropping, not really

Markscheme: knowledge /5 (how well you know the piece)

Expression /5 (how clearly you're writing)

Relevance /10 (have you chosen material that is relevant to the question etc.) (not 100% on this one, might need to check it)

Evaluation /10 (how effectively have you evaluated arguments)

Thank you so much for the markscheme!

How hard is it to get a 7 on IB Philosophy? Will reading summaries - e.g. Sparknotes - be sufficient for Paper 2?

No :P You have to understand and be able to argue/re-explain all of the concepts within the text you studied for Paper 2 and I really don't think Sparknotes could possibly supply you with sufficient knowledge to do so. To be honest it's not like Philosophy is very demanding, I mean there's only a single text to study, so being thorough and learning the points made in the text isn't going to take you too long or much effort at all. If you want a 7 in Philosophy you don't have to put out /that/ much effort but you do need to make SOME!

It's not about name dropping it's about being able to understand and manipulate the arguments/theories and yourself apply them to different situations and evaluate their usefulness. A tiny bit of name-dropping is essential to show you actually have studied something over the past 2 years but essentially the marks come from clarity of thought and expression.

You can find the syllabus (which should have mark schemes) in the Files section of this site, free to download. Or just google it. Off the top of my head, what the user above said sounds correct, however I never actually used a markscheme for Philosophy so I'm not 100%.

Ahhh! My teacher literally gave me a Sparknotes version of Locke's Second Treatise on Government and told us to memorize all the bullet points. I guess I'm going to have to devour Locke's Second Treatise on Government sometime between now and May 2nd!!

We mark each others essays and sample essays from the IB constantly, and we've spent a long time going over the mark scheme, so I know it almost off by heart (apart from the grade boundaries), and philosophy is the subject I spend most time on because its what I want to do at uni.

Make sure you know the work very well, like Sandwich said, and my tip is keep doing timed essays, might be a little late now but keep doing them. I just got a 7 in philosophy paper 3 so hopefully I'll be able to replicate that in the exam. Otherwise, see Sandwich's post :)

Thanks for the advice :). Right now I'm reviewing all the philosophy I've learned this year so I'll be ready for paper 1. My next step will be learning my prescribed work (Locke's Second Treatise) like the back of my hand. Here we go! Any other advice, etc.? Any study guides, cram sheets, etc.? My teacher literally gave me a packet of terms to drop in our essays - there are about 120 or so terms, each of which has a short definition.

Edited by MT SOL

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Well, I think that seems about right. Read sample essays, really bad ones as well as good ones. We read one that had been given 9/30 today, and I thought that was quite mean because the person obviously didn't have a good command of English, and so couldn't express themselves. But I would only have upped the grade by max 1 mark. I'm too nice.... It's good to read bad essays so you know how not to do it.

Well you seem to be doing a good job by what you're saying, and I would recommend downloading an actual mark scheme, not just going by my mini one because an actual mark scheme gives you much more information that my one, and tells you what they want.

Good luck :)

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Well, I think that seems about right. Read sample essays, really bad ones as well as good ones. We read one that had been given 9/30 today, and I thought that was quite mean because the person obviously didn't have a good command of English, and so couldn't express themselves. But I would only have upped the grade by max 1 mark. I'm too nice.... It's good to read bad essays so you know how not to do it.

Well you seem to be doing a good job by what you're saying, and I would recommend downloading an actual mark scheme, not just going by my mini one because an actual mark scheme gives you much more information that my one, and tells you what they want.

Good luck :)

Thanks for all your help and your patience :)! I Google'd for some markschemes, but I couldn't find anything useful.

However, I do have several essays which my teacher has graded. The essay below is a "solid 6, maybe 7" according to my teacher. What do you think? I personally think that my teacher grades optimistically - very much so! - so please tell me the brutal truth :). I'd rather be told the truth right now rather than be deluded that I'm actually writing solid essays.

The question was:

"What does Locke mean by "right"? (I believe this is a paraphrasing of an old IB question)

Here is my essay:

The cornerstone of Locke's political philosophy is his concept of natural rights. These rights are endowed upon every man; they are permanent and inalienable.

All men have certain natural rights, even when they are in the state of nature. These rights include one's right to liberty. These rights also include one's right to property. A man ma make something his property by investing labor into that something - whether it be a tract of land, a house, or any object. A man is also free to pursue happiness and live how he may as long as he does not encroach on others' liberty. A man may also defend his liberty and justifiably kill someone attempting to encroach on his liberty. So in the state of nature, man has the maximum amount of liberty - the maximum number of rights. But that does not mean that man completely gives up his rights when he joins society.

When joining society, man must curtail a few of his individual rights. A man must now live in accordance to the common law. A man delegates his executive powers to a designated person in society, who vows to protect the rights of the citizens. Man also gains rights by joining society. By delegating his powers away from himself, a man risks forming a tyrannical government or a government otherwise not in the best interests of the man. Therefore, Locke holds that man has the right to rebel against tyrannical government. Man has an obligation to overthrow unjust rulers. One can see this right exercised in the American Revolution. Parliament curtailed the rights of Americans, beginning with the Proclamation of 1763. The colonists were not allowed to settle west of the Appalachian Mountains, even though the colonists had fought on the winning side in the French and Indian War. The colonists invested their sweat, blood, and sons, and yet the British relinquished their property. Later, the British hit the colonists with a volley of taxes, including the notorious Stamp Act. Parliament, the colonists argued, had only the right to legislate, not to tax; therefore the colonists eventually instigated the American Revolution. Locke would argue that the colonists were merely exercising their right to rebel against unjust rule.

Ultimately, Locke held that men have inalienable natural rights. When entering a society, a man might have to curtail his rights, but he also gains one critical right: the right to overthrow oppressive rulers.

Is it a "solid 6, maybe 7?"

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It's definitely not a solid 6, I would give it a 5 and that's me being very nice.

I can see that you have the knowledge, but there is no direct answer to the question - tackle the question head on.

Everything you've written is very descriptive, there's no analysis. Try to "ping-pong" - one strength, however this doesn't work because, however it does work, yet again it doesn't etc. this shows off your knowledge as well as gets you points in the evaluation category, which is out of 10.

I don't know the text, I study descrtes meditations, but I would give that essay 5/5, 5/5, 5/10 and 0/10

So 15/30 in total, bearing in mind, I don't know the text, but 15/30 is about a 4 I think.

Your teacher is far too nice, you need someone to be harsher.

You also seem to attempt to put everything into your essay that you know, but this isn't necessary, put the key points into the essay and evaluate the key points, this goes for each and every philosophy essay you will ever write. Like everything back to the question to prove its relevance and make sure you answer the question.

Out teacher tells us to put our own opinion into the introduction, so, I will argue that right, for locke means ....

Hope this helps

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It's definitely not a solid 6, I would give it a 5 and that's me being very nice.

I can see that you have the knowledge, but there is no direct answer to the question - tackle the question head on.

Everything you've written is very descriptive, there's no analysis. Try to "ping-pong" - one strength, however this doesn't work because, however it does work, yet again it doesn't etc. this shows off your knowledge as well as gets you points in the evaluation category, which is out of 10.

Thanks for reading over my essay! I pretty much knew from the beginning that this essay was definitely not a "solid 6, maybe 7" because first of all, it's ~400 words. IB asks for 800 word essays. Second, as I was typing my essay, I almost felt embarrassed at the level of superficial "analysis" that I engaged in. I agree with your "ping-pong" strategy ... I need to be able to describe Locke's theory of "right" while pointing out strengths and weaknesses.

I don't know the text, I study descrtes meditations, but I would give that essay 5/5, 5/5, 5/10 and 0/10

So 15/30 in total, bearing in mind, I don't know the text, but 15/30 is about a 4 I think.

What out of 30 equates to a 7?

Your teacher is far too nice, you need someone to be harsher.

You also seem to attempt to put everything into your essay that you know, but this isn't necessary, put the key points into the essay and evaluate the key points, this goes for each and every philosophy essay you will ever write. Like everything back to the question to prove its relevance and make sure you answer the question.

Out teacher tells us to put our own opinion into the introduction, so, I will argue that right, for locke means ....

Hope this helps

This helps immensely :)! I really appreciate your taking the time to read my essay. Hopefully I'll be able to write solid essays on Locke in about 10 days ... :o.

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Well, as far as I can remember the preliminary grade boundaries (because they change every year depending on how well everyone around the world has done overall) 21/30 is a 6 and 24/30 is a 7.

This is an essay that I got a 5 for, I'm not great at writing essays on the prescribed text, but it illustrates the things I was talking about. It's not a good essay at all, but it does the job:

Q: explain and critically evaluate Descartes' argument that the idea of god cannot proceed from myself.

Descartes often relies on god in the meditations, this is justified because Descartes lived in a time when undermining the church was a punishable offence and a lot of work in the meditations could be viewed as undermining the church, which is why he dedicates the book to the "Doctors of Theology". My opinion in this essay is that Descartes is over-reliant on God, however the trademark argument succeeds in its aims of proving Gods existence to the believer.

Descartes' argument that god cannot proceed from himself is more commonly known as the trademark argument. In this argument Descartes asserts that he has ideas which are innate to him, which he has not created and nor do they come from the outside world. Yet Descartes has an idea of an infinite being who contains in him all the perfections conceivable. Descartes also has a clear and distinct idea of this being. So because a cause must have at least as much reality as its effect, and Descartes (the effect) knows he is real, in so much as he is a thinking thing, therefore, god must have at least as much effect as Descartes himself has. The creator, God, has left a hallmark in his creation, Descartes, just like a potter, for example Clarys Clyff, will sign the bottom of the pottery they produce. This hallmark allows Descartes to clearly and distinctly know that God exists.

There are, however, problems with this argument. The first objection, asserted by Hobbes, asks the question, how can you have an idea of God if he is inconceivable? This is not a strong objection, as shown by Descartes reply: although we have no accurate image of God, you can still have a direct perception of him. Similarly you can have a direct perception of a chiliagon, although you cannot imagine it, you can have an idea and understanding of it. However, not everyone possesses an idea of God. So how can Descartes be sure that the idea he has is actually of God and that it really is innate? How can he be sure he did not get this idea from books? Yet, even if he did get the idea from books, where did the idea of God in the books come from? Descartes argues that you would go from book to book until you come to the first cause, which ultimately is God. This argument also forms a circular argument in meditations, exposing Descartes over-reliance on god. In order to prove that he is "a thinking thing", Descartes uses God to guarantee his existence. However, in the trademark argument, Descartes uses his own existence to guarantee the existence of God - because God cannot deceive me, I exist and because I exist, god exists because I cannot be deceived.

Overall, I agree with Descartes that the idea of God cannot forced from himself. However his over-reliance of God causes him to make a circular argument, reducing the credibility of the trademark argument. Despite this, however, I think that the trademark argument is strong as a primary argument in proving to the believer that God exists, so Descartes succeeds in his aims.

You can write a better essay than this, I'm sure.

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The Sevenoaks IB school has a brilliant booklet that our teacher gave us, I'm meant to be reading through it ATM.

But instead im revising so I know a couple of topics really well (existentialism and mind and body) and force that out of whatever extract or picture I'm given...

I'm fairly arrogant when it comes to philosophy, I probably won't start revising for it until Monday :-/

Edited by Crazy Gemini
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It's gives the main ideas in bitesize chunks. But if that doesn't work for you then idk, I read and make notes a lot, it's easier for me to absorb information and recall it in exams, it's how a got an A is AS philosophy of religion 2 years ago... Otherwise, I don't know sorry

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I really need to revise Descartes and epistemology in general. After that, I need to revise artificial intelligence. I wish somebody had notes on these :)!

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About the core theme - existientialism seems like a good approach for almost every passage or picture, but what about the second one? What do you usually compare existentialism with?

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About the core theme - existientialism seems like a good approach for almost every passage or picture, but what about the second one? What do you usually compare existentialism with?

Existentialism and determinism. Exitstentialism asserts that we a completely free to do whatever we want as long as we stay true to ourselves. Existentialism is really the umberella term for humans not having a fixed nature. Determinism is the complete opposite, human nature is completely fixed, and the way your life will pan out was decided before you were even born, as early as the big bang perhaps.

However one of the implications of determinism is that people do not even attempt to better themselves, so they stay in their comfort zones thinking they can't do anything about their situation. Meanwhile, existentialism encourages people to strive for bettering themselves in any way possible. However, the one condition Sartre puts forward is that they must be true to themselves, he uses the example of the girl in the caffe who ignores her hand as if it were as unimportant as a teaspoon. Allowing her male friend to place his hand on hers would have been acceptable, had she wanted that but if she does not feel comfortable she must do anything she sees fit to acknowledge the situation and make it into a situation that she actually does want. But then again, why should she try to fight it, he was always going to place his hand there (determinism).

Existentialist try to combat conformity. Whereas conforming to ones situation is the centre of the determinist approach.

Sorry, that turned into a mini essay, I'm sure you already know these approaches and didn't mean to patronise you. But at least you can see how well they work together, and it's really easy to use them together :)

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Hmm I always used the more obvious alternative to determinism, which is simply indeterminism ( :D), but now that I think of it, your suggestion also makes sense. Thanks a lot. :) Haha, and btw I have the same strategy as you - to prepare 2 topics very well and then use one of them no matter what the stimulus material will be. :D

But to tease you a little bit more - can you think of any other suitable combination with existientialism when the stress is put on something different than freedom - e.g. human passions, engagement and an active attitude towards oneself, etc? I've covered existentialism thoroughly enough to be able to analyze its approach to such issues, but I have a feeling that I can't name any other approach which would oppose existentialism. :/

Also - after looking through past papers, what also seems to occur quite often on paper 1 is the question whether humans are social creatures and are "defined" only with relation to others, or are they completely alienated. What are the possible approaches here? (I've been thinking of solipsism and existentialism again <becuase of the alienation>, but they are quite similar and I need something contradictory to this :P)

Edited by pokerface

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That seems to make sense. With regards to human passions etc, you can always do yes vs no. Because that is essentially 2 opposing approaches.

Yeah solipsism is a good thing to write about, I had completely forgotten about it, I think that and existentialism is one of my class' favourite topics in philosophy.

With regards to alienation, animals do show traits that could be thought of as human, eg, There's a documentary on the BBC called super smart animals, and that would be useful for obtaining examples but I wouldn't know any theories to connect it with in philosophy sorry.

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