How to revise for Classical Civilisation, a tutors perspective

Here’re some ideas about how to do a revision for A-Levels.

Based on what I learnt doing Classical Civilisation (10 years now), the examination is designed to test three things:


Knowledege (35% of the marks): they should have a good range of

knowledge, particularly the keys facts associated with the areas they

have studied. Questions will usually ask to select relevant facts not just give a shopping list of everything they know about a subject.

Ex. What’s the responsibility and the symbol of the God Neptune? Answer: Sea and Trident.


Understanding (30% of the marks): They should understand how different

aspects of each option relate to each other and also the various terms

that you find in each options. They should know why the people

behave the way they did in the context of their own society. Ex. Explain

how comfortable a Roman audience was when watching a play.


Interpretation/Evaluation (analysis) (35% of the marks): They should

make observations about what the sources tell us and make judgements.

Ex. Do you think an Athenian boy’s education prepared him for later life?

The idea is that if you know your facts (Factual knowledge), and if you

understand their significance (Understanding), then you are in a

position to interpret it and evaluate (Evaluation).

I think that the foundation of a student’s success lies in his factual knowledge and

revision. When the student is revising, the trick is to be active. That

means not simply reading his books/ notes and hoping that it

will sink in, but actually doing something with the information. For

instance, one way could be ‘prioritising your knowledge’. For every

topics and sub topic, they should consider four key facts that

they think they should know. In other words, it’s one of the many ways

to organize knowledge. Ex. The site of Pompeii> Vesuvius nearby>

Bulding stone and Fertile soil.

In conclusion, I think there are many ways of organising knowledge so that it is not just in note form.

The more the student do, the most he will remember and the more he can

remember, the more she or he will have to discuss. The examination will not be asking for obscure pieces of knowledge. They will be asking for key facts.

Written by Valerio R