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Their points of view

This year's religious, moral and philosophical studies Higher exam was "far better" than last year's, according to Joff Meston, a teacher of religious and moral education in Forres Academy. He noted a similar improvement in the Intermediate 2 paper.

In the Higher, the questions on crime and punishment in the first section of paper 1 were clear, but he was surprised that the question specified the case of Timothy Evans, hanged in 1950 for murder and posthumously pardoned.

The last question, asking candidates to describe two religious viewpoints supporting capital punishment, might have posed difficulties for some pupils as they studied Islam and Christianity in this context.

The second section of paper 1, on creativity, belief and science, started off well, but he was surprised to find two questions, each worth six marks, on the literal understanding of the Genesis creation stories.

Paper 2 was on world religions and came in two sections. The layout of the paper meant that one of his pupils did not see the second question, worth 15 marks - perhaps because there was no specific direction to turn over to the second page.

Mr Meston's pupils study Buddhism for this section of the exam, and he liked the question asking them to discuss two Buddhist responses to the claim that "Buddhism is a selfish religion because it concentrates on individual enlightenment". Until he sees the SQA marking scheme, he is unsure how restrictive or generous the marking for answers will be, however.

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