spotlight on… religious studies

We take a closer look at the Religious Studies course available for you to study here at Cowley Sixth Form.

We asked one of our students to give us a bit of insight into the course, what’s involved and what it’s like studying it here at Cowley Sixth Form College.

When did you first consider studying Religious Studies at sixth form?

I first thought about studying RS when I went to the Sixth Form Open Evening. I already knew I wanted to do Medicine at university and I realised there were many skills the course could help me develop that would be useful when studying and practicing Medicine such as evaluating and debating ideas and essay writing. I also thought it was an interesting choice of course that would help me to stand out when applying to university.

What was it that captured your interest in the subject?

The Ethics component played a large role in capturing my interest as this would particularly benefit me in my future university course. I was also really interested by the idea of challenging myself by exploring new ideas and answering the big questions in life.

What has surprised you most about the subject?

The amount of critical analysis you do when learning about ideas of past thinkers, philosophers and theologians. Being able to evaluate these concepts and form your own informed opinion and identify how they could fit into a modern society is not only necessary for the exams but also a really useful skill that can be used throughout life in whatever you decide to do.

There are three components to religious studies – Philosophy, Ethics and Christianity. Which aspect did you most enjoy and why?

I enjoyed all three components thoroughly but Philosophy was probably my favourite if I had to choose. I found it so interesting to delve into the big questions surrounding life and God and I enjoyed forming my own ideas after learning and questioning the answers formed by many past great thinkers and philosophers.

If you are struggling with a question/topic what support is available?

The support from my RS teachers was absolutely incredible and I could go to them anytime I had any problems or questions about something we were studying.

What do you enjoy most about the lessons?

The chance to have class discussions and debate ideas is something I really enjoyed because it was the only one of my subjects that allowed me to do this and I think it helped me so much. The learning environment in my RS lessons was so relaxed and friendly that it allowed me to be productive and ask questions to better my understanding.

What have you found the most challenging? 

Trying to understand concepts and ideas thought of by past academics from their perspective. It’s really easy to read somebody’s philosophical or ethical concept and criticise or disregard it, particularly if you’re not religious yourself, but I found that I became much better at seeing things from a different perspective, one where that concept makes sense. This made it far easier for me to learn and understand the thought process behind these challenging ideas and it really helped me in exams to recall them. This is also a skill I apply in everyday life now and I know it will benefit me in the future. The other challenging part was writing essays but I’m so grateful for the techniques I learned in RS because I wouldn’t know where to start in university had I not chosen this course.

What advice would you give someone thinking of taking the subject at Cowley Sixth Form College?

Get involved! Don’t be scared to speak in lessons and put forward your own ideas because you’ll understand things so much better when you do. It will be a lot of hard work but your teachers will be the best support network and will help you in whatever way they can so you can really make the most of the course.

If you had to pick your subjects again, would you still pick Religious Studies? If yes, why? If no, why not? 

Yes 100%, RS was one of my favourite subjects and I really looked forward to my lessons. It was something different from my other subjects and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I can’t recommend RS enough, it’s so interesting but also teaches you skills you can use throughout your life no matter what you decide to do.

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