This advanced course will demonstrate how to guide your best students to achieve Grades A & A* in Classics A Level examinations.  The course will demonstrate teaching and learning ideas for teaching texts, ideas, historical contexts and visual & material culture which will stretch and challenge able students and develop their higher level skills. Using examiners’ feedback from 2019 examinations, the course will outline what is expected of high ability students and explore ways to build your teaching practice around this.


  • Focus on identifying the demands of Grades A & A* and provide materials to help teachers prepare students effectively
  • Offer a detailed look at the different demands of questions across the three A level components
  • Provide expert advice to identify and clarify the requirements of the highest levels
  • Discuss sample answers at Grades A & A* to identify key characteristics
  • Provide materials that will allow teachers to cover the content effectively in innovative and student-friendly ways that push the highest ability students
DATE & LOCATION:  Online | Monday 07 June 2021
  • A Level Classical Civilisation teachers
  • Heads of Classics
IN-SCHOOL You can also book this as an In-School Course
  • A specially prepared folder of detailed notes, practical advice and guidance
  • Notes prepared by the educational experts leading the course
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance


10.00 – 10:20 am: The A/A* grade – what do they involve?

  • The structure of the specification and using it to plan for success for the top end students
  • 2019 Feedback: what does it tell us about the standards set for the top students? How can we teach to this effectively? Using Interchange to inform teaching practice.
  • Grades A & A*: what are the differences between these?
  • Key attributes of Grade A & A* students in the classroom and how to identify these students
  • Helping students make the links throughout the whole specification and inspiring the A* Classicist
  • Building vocabulary and developing high end skills

10:20 – 11:20 am: Texts – the key challenges for A/A* Students

  • Teaching approaches to access the A*
  • How to demonstrate depth of engagement and understanding of texts.
  • Achieving A and A* on 20 and 30 mark essays.

11:20 – 11:45 am: Discussion and morning break

11:45 am – 12:30 pm: VMC – the key challenges for A/A* students

  • Coping with VMC – where is the A/A* lost?
  • Going beyond – establishing links between VMC elements and textual / historic contexts
  • The practical aspect – deploying VMC knowledge to achieve the A* in exam conditions

12:30 – 1:30 pm: Lunch and informal discussion

1:30 – 2:00 pm: Ideas & Concepts – the key challenges for A/A* students

  • Identifying where the A/A* is lost in this tricky component
  • Ensuring students’ understanding of the ideas and concepts, rather than factual recall
  • Applying the ideas and concepts in essay writing

2.00 – 2:45 pm: Examination Essentials – the key challenges for A/A* students

  • Maxing out on gobbets and 10 markers
  • Identifying the thrust of the question in 20 mark essays
  • Essay structure: how to keep the examiner happy with your writing
  • Using secondary scholarship to demonstrate your A* qualities.

2:45 – 3:00 pm: Afternoon break and informal discussion 

3:00 – 3:45 pm: Classical Civilisation Exams: Tactics for achieving the highest grades

  • What are the biggest challenges of the course for the A/A* student?
  • A/A* revision – are they being effective?
  • Working to the standard – completing, marking, reviewing and evaluating exam papers for the A/A*
  • Revision tips to ensure top level students succeed in the exams
  • Avoiding potential hazards; what can cost the top student their A grade?

3.45 – 4:00 pm: Plenary and depart

Ben Tanner

Ben is Head of Humanities at RGS Worcester, with ten years experience as Head of Classics. He has significant experience of teaching both OCR and AQA Classical Civilisation specifications, in a range of educational contexts, and has recently been an AQA A Level examiner.