Completing QCE Study of Religion can be a challenging, yet incredibly rewarding experience. It is one of those subjects that has the potential to change how you view the world and people around you – but I know that the content can sometimes seem a bit daunting! After completing 6 years of education at a Catholic school (and, subsequently, 6 years’ worth of religion classes), I am here to share with you the wisdom I have gained from my studies.
To do well in QCE SOR, the first thing you need to do is figure out exactly what is expected of you – this is laid out in the syllabus. Luckily for us, the syllabus is very straightforward! One thing that really helped me was using the dot points to structure my notes – that way I knew I hadn’t missed any of the content.
A tip I have is to go through the syllabus with a fine-tooth comb and find sections of overlapping content. Make note of these connections using mind-maps – this is an efficient way to study and will be of great help when preparing for exams. The number of mind-maps I had at the end of year 12 for SOR alone was honestly incredible, but it was such a great revision technique.
One of the most beneficial things you can do at the beginning of your journey through SOR is make a table of foundational beliefs for each of the 5 major world religions. It is essential that you know and understand the basic teachings of each religion. Having neat little tables on hand helps ensure that you memorise the key vocabulary – allowing you to effortlessly whip it out in exams and assignments and flaunt your knowledge!
Furthermore, having tables is so much nicer to work with and read through than big chunks of text. Trust me, when you are frantically cramming for an exam, you will not want to read through entire essays to get to the information you want.
The majority of the uphill battle comes from developing basic understandings of each religion – there is a lot to remember. But building strong foundations and understanding these foundations enough to apply them to real-world scenarios, allows you to further develop your knowledge as you continue your journey through QCE SOR.
Additionally, you can apply this approach to all the different theories and frameworks you will study – not just the religions themselves. Whether it be deontological ethics, or the concept of human rights, you should focus on the basics and how to practically apply your understanding.
Once you have put together your nice little tables and developed a sound understanding of the basics of each religion, things begin to get a bit more exciting. What does it mean to show divergence? It means to contrast the differing beliefs between various groups within a faith tradition. For example, within Christianity, the beliefs of Catholics will differ in some areas to those of Orthodox Christians. Similarly, the beliefs of Theravada Buddhists will differ in some areas to those of Mahayana Buddhists.
To get tops marks in this subject you need to delve a little deeper than the basics (even though having a solid understanding of those is the most important part!). To excel in SOR you cannot simply make generalisations, you must show divergence. Whether it be in an exam or in an essay, always keep divergence in the back of your mind.
Pro tip: Venn diagrams are particularly helpful for comparing different religious groups and, just like tables and mind-maps, are much nicer to review than big chunks of text.
You want to become as familiar with the content and vocabulary as possible. Reading is a helpful way to do this. I found websites like JSTOR to be particularly helpful – especially when it came to doing research for essays.
The more you read, the better you will remember the content. Additionally, you may expose yourself to some insightful ideas and perspectives. Ultimately, this will aid you in ensuring that your analysis of the different concepts explored in the syllabus.
Good luck with all your studies, I wish you the very best! I hope you find QCE SOR to be as much of a rewarding experience as I did 🙂
Don’t forget to check out the forums for access to a plethora of resources and places for discussion. Here you will find a wonderful community of people who are more than willing to help you navigate any challenges you may be facing. If ever you have any question, the forums are a great place to seek out answers! Also, make sure to head to the free notes section for extra resources.