Assessment Report

New Zealand Scholarship
Classical Studies 2019

Standard 93404


Part A: Commentary

The exam provided questions of equal appeal and accessibility, which attracted candidates across the range of contexts. Candidates who paid close attention to the question set and attempted to argue a case based on the elements of the question fared best. Those who attempted to employ preprepared answers or failed to critically analyse in their response did not reach the standard for scholarship.

Most candidates understood the phrasing and vocabulary of the questions. A small number misinterpreted ‘sanctioned’ (Q11),  although the meaning could be deduced from the context. A number of weaker candidates struggled to understand what it meant to ‘balance’ a political agenda and self-promotion (Q16).

Candidates are reminded to pay close attention to the questions set in Section B. A significant number of candidates failed to read the question. Those that simply analysed the documents in the context of the setting (Death and the Afterlife, Attitudes to Conquest) without reference to the question were penalised. Answers that sought to pad out a response with irrelevant references to wider reading or lengthy digressions based on their knowledge of contexts in Section A were not rewarded. Better answers provided links across sources as part of their analysis.

Candidates should also follow the instructions set by the paper  in particular, to begin questions on a new page and to use the lines provided. Some scripts were difficult to read and legibility of handwriting is increasingly becoming an impediment to the clear communication of responses.

Part B: Report on Performance

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship with Outstanding Performance commonly:

  • wrote expressively with a degree of stylistic sophistication
  • demonstrated in-depth knowledge of content, based on wider reading
  • integrated relevant primary and secondary source evidence into their response
  • developed and sustained a cogent argument, discussed alternative viewpoints and reached balanced conclusions
  • showed an ability to think independently and make insightful observations
  • in Section B, focused on the context and subtext of the resources provided, avoiding formulaic insertions of preprepared background material
  • answered each question in full, engaging critically with its underlying implications and/or assumptions.

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • wrote clearly and produced a structured response in essay format
  • demonstrated sound knowledge of content, based on wider reading
  • supported their argument with a range of relevant primary source evidence
  • showed some knowledge of secondary sources
  • answered the question set directly and reached valid conclusions, based on evidence
  • in Section B, focused on analysis of the resources provided, incorporating background detail when directly relevant to the discussion
  • answered three questions and all parts of each question.

Candidates who were not awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • failed to write clearly and/or structure their argument effectively
  • showed limited understanding of the question and/or a weak knowledge of content
  • did not provide evidence to justify their conclusions and failed to incorporate or reference primary sources
  • introduced irrelevant material, not related to the question
  • ignored the question and reused preprepared material
  • did not sustain an analytical approach, drifting into synopsis
  • did not set analysis of the resources provided at the heart of their discussion in Section B
  • did not answer three questions, either because they were unprepared or because they spent too long on their first two answers. 

Subject page


Previous years' reports
2018 (PDF, 94KB) 2017 (PDF, 41KB) 2016 (PDF, 187KB)

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