Religious Education at GCSE is an enriching, thought-provoking and academically demanding discipline. Through the study of two major world religions and a variety of contemporary ethical themes, students are challenged with questions about belief, values, meaning, purpose and truth, enabling them to develop their own attitudes towards religious issues. Students will gain an appreciation of how religion, philosophy and ethics form the basis of our culture, and will develop their skills of analysis, evaluation and argument. The GCSE course fully supports students intending to continue Religious Studies at A Level.

“Religion has two purposes: to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable.” Unknown

Course description

Component 1: Pupils study the beliefs, teachings and practices of Christianity and Islam, and their basis in sources of wisdom and authority. Areas of study include the oneness of God, the person of Jesus Christ, creation, the afterlife, worship, sacraments, duties, pilgrimage, festivals and the role of the Church in the local and worldwide community. Students also examine the influence of beliefs, teachings and practices on individuals, communities and societies.

Component 2: Pupils study four religious, philosophical and ethical themes:

  1. Relationships and families, which explores contrasting viewpoints on sex, marriage, divorce, contraception, sexuality, family life and gender equality;
  2. Religion and life, which considers the ethical issues of abortion and euthanasia, as well as environmental issues and animal rights, and beliefs about death and the afterlife;
  3. Religion, crime and punishment, which explores the concepts of justice and forgiveness in relation to the law, as well as theories of punishment and arguments for and against the death penalty.
  4. Religion, peace and conflict, which examines the meaning and significance of peace, justice, forgiveness and reconciliation, the reasons for war, the concepts of just war, holy war and pacifism, as well as religion and belief in 21st century conflicts.

Please see the course specification for further content information: http://filestore.aqa.org.uk/resources/rs/specifications/AQA-8062-SP-2016.PDF

Exam board

  • AQA

Course code

  • AQA GCSE Religious Studies A (8062)

Exam board website

Link to question papers


AQA GCSE Religious Studies is a linear course, with students sitting two exams at the end of Year 11, one for each component of study. Each exam is 1 hour 45 minutes and is worth 50% of the GCSE.

Students also complete regular practice exam questions throughout the course, and sit end of unit assessments as well as mock exams in Years 10 and 11.

Ways to help my child succeed

Please encourage your daughter/son to take an active interest in the world around them, particularly in the role that that religion plays at a local, national and international level. This might be through watching the news, reading newspapers or by discussing religious and ethical issues at home. Encourage your daughter/son to justify any viewpoints they may have, and to ensure they have considered a variety of viewpoints before coming to their own conclusions.

Please also support them in revising key terminology, as knowing these will prove hugely useful to them whenever they complete assessments, as well as in their formal exams.

Please also engage with them when they ask you for your opinion; we often encourage students to find people who have opposing views with regards to a particular moral issue, as this can help them to structure more in depth and thoughtful exam answers.

Useful websites

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