GCSE Religious Studies

Exam Board: AQA

Why should I choose this subject

Religious Studies is a wonderful way to engage with concepts and worldviews at a level pupils may not normally have the chance to. In a globalised world it is so important to have a grasp of the belief systems that have shaped, and continue to shape, our world and the way we experience it. The course also explores the dialogue between traditional religious perspectives and secular worldviews in a way that should allow for an interaction between the two to be mutually enriching. If you are interested in world religions or even philosophical and ethical questions, then this is a great course for you.

What does the subject consist of?

At Kingham Hill we study Judaism and Christianity due to the close connection in the history of these two great religious traditions. The course itself is broken into a Beliefs and Practices section followed by a Thematic section that looks at ethical and philosophical issues. The themes studied include families and relationships and a comparison with contemporary Western views on these areas of life. We also look at environmental ethics and views surrounding difficult topics such as euthanasia and abortion as well as around modern warfare.

How is the subject assessed?

The GCSE is broken down into two papers: a Beliefs and Practices paper and a Thematic paper. As such the Beliefs and Practices paper is broken down into a Judaism section and then a Christianity section. The second paper is the same length but takes a thematic approach and has pupils answer questions on ethical and philosophical issues from the perspectives of the religions they have studied.

Whom does the subject suit?

This subject really suits those who are open minded and willing to explore other worldviews and have their own challenged. Pupils do not need to have any religious beliefs but may simply be interested in the phenomenon of religion that has been and remains so pervasive in our culture and beyond. It is a subject that suits those who are academically curious and are willing to engage with questions beyond the everyday.

What else should pupils consider before choosing this subject?

On a more concrete level, the GCSE paper has as its longest answer a twelve mark question which is, in effect, a brief essay. Each of the papers pupils sit will involve four of these twelve mark essays along with four, one, two, four and five mark tasks. It is fair to say that there is a reasonable amount of writing involved though this is not something that should dissuade pupils if they are keen on the subject.