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GCSE religious studies

AQA GCSE Religious Studies Exam

Introduction

GCSE religious studies is divided into two papers.

The first paper is ‘The study of religions: beliefs, teachings and practices.’ It is a written exam of one hour and forty-five minutes, accounting for 50% of the GCSE. The paper assesses two of the following: Buddhism, Christianity, Catholic Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism. It should be noted that students are not allowed to choose both Christianity and Catholic Christianity.

The second paper is ‘Thematic studies.’ It is a written exam of one hour and forty-five minutes, accounting for the other 50% of the GCSE.

The paper assesses either four religious, philosophical and ethical studies themes or two religious, philosophical and ethical studies themes and two textual studies themes.

Religious, philosophical and ethical studies themes:
• Theme A: Relationships and families
• Theme B: Religion and life
• Theme C: The existence of God and revelation
• Theme D: Religion, peace and conflict
• Theme E: Religion, crime and punishment
• Theme F: Religion, human rights and social justice
Textual studies themes:
• Theme G: St Mark’s Gospel – the life of Jesus
• Theme H: St Mark’s Gospel as a source of religious, moral and spiritual truths

There are two assessment objectives, which are specified for students. Please find our full breakdown of GCSE Religious Studies below, with requisite assessment details and objectives.

Paper 2: Thematic studies

Religious, philosophical and ethical studies

Students should be aware of different religious perspectives on the issues studied within and / or between religious and non-religious beliefs such as atheism and humanism.
Students must also study religious, philosophical and ethical arguments related to the issues raised, and their impact and influence on the modern world.

Students will be expected to show their understanding of religion through the application of teachings from religion and beliefs. They will also be expected to make specific references to sources of wisdom and authority including scripture and/or sacred texts. They may refer to any relevant religious text such as the Pali Canon, the sermons of the Buddha, the Bible, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Vedas and Upanishads, the Qur’an and Hadith, the Torah and Talmud, and the Guru Granth Sahib.

Theme A: Relationships and families
Students should study religious teachings, and religious, philosophical and ethical arguments, relating to the issues that follow, and their impact and influence in the modern world. They should be aware of contrasting perspectives in contemporary British society on all of these issues.
Key topic areas:
Sex, marriage and divorce
Families and gender equality

Theme B: Religion and life
Students should study religious teachings, and religious, philosophical and ethical arguments, relating to the issues that follow, and their impact and influence in the modern world. They should be aware of contrasting perspectives in contemporary British society on all of these issues.
Key topic areas:
The origins and value of the universe
The origins and value of human life

Theme C: The existence of God and revelation
Students should study religious teachings, and religious and philosophical arguments, relating to the issues that follow, and their impact and influence in the modern world. They should be aware of contrasting perspectives in contemporary British society on all of these issues.
Key topic areas:
Philosophical arguments for and against the existence of God
The nature of the divine and revelation

Theme D: Religion, peace and conflict
Students should study religious teachings, and religious, philosophical and ethical arguments, relating to the issues that follow, and their impact and influence in the modern world. They should be aware of contrasting perspectives in contemporary British society on all of these issues
Key topic areas:
Religion, violence, terrorism and war
Religion and belief in 21st century conflict

Theme E: Religion, crime and punishment
Students should study religious teachings, and religious, philosophical and ethical arguments, relating to the issues that follow, and their impact and influence in the modern world. They should be aware of contrasting perspectives in contemporary British society on all of these issues.
Key topic areas:
Religion, crime and the causes of crime
Religion and punishment

Theme F: Religion, human rights and social justice
Students should study religious teachings, and religious, philosophical and ethical arguments, relating to the issues that follow, and their impact and influence in the modern world. They should be aware of contrasting perspectives in contemporary British society on all of these issues.
Human rights
Wealth and poverty

Textual studies

In studying these themes, students should be aware of the significance, importance and influence of St Mark’s Gospel for individuals, communities and societies. They should understand how varied interpretations of the meaning of passages from St Mark’s Gospel may give rise to diversity within Christian traditions and consider how far Christian and non-religious communities give authority to St Mark’s Gospel, especially in relation to other sources of contemporary authority. Students should be able to show knowledge of the set texts for study and an understanding of their importance for Jesus, for his early followers and for people of the 21st century. Students should be able to consider the authority of the Gospel and the relevance of Jesus’ example and teaching.

Theme G: St Mark’s gospel: the life of Jesus
The early ministry of Jesus
The later ministry of Jesus
The final days in Jerusalem
Significance

Theme H: St Mark’s Gospel as a source of religious, moral and spiritual truths
The Kingdom of God
Jesus’ relationships with those disregarded by society
Faith and discipleship
Significance

Assessment details

Assessment Objectives
    The exams will measure how students have achieved the following assessment objectives:
  • AO1: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of: scientific ideas; scientific techniques and procedures.
  • AO2: Apply knowledge and understanding of: scientific ideas; scientific enquiry, techniques and procedures.
  • AO3: Analyse information and ideas to: interpret and evaluate; make judgments and draw conclusions; develop and improve experimental procedures.
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