Scheme of assessment

Find past papers and mark schemes, and specimen papers for new courses, on our website at

This specification is designed to be taken over two years.

This is a linear qualification. In order to achieve the award, students must complete all assessments at the end of the course and in the same series.

GCSE exams and certification for this specification are available for the first time in May/June 2018 and then every May/June for the life of the specification.

All materials are available in English only.

Our GCSE exams in Citizenship Studies include questions that allow students to demonstrate their ability to:

  • develop a broad understanding of the connections between the knowledge, understanding and skills set out in the specification as a whole
  • demonstrate their understanding of the relationships between theory and practice.

Aims and learning outcomes

Courses based on this specification should encourage students to:

  • know and understand what democracy is, how parliamentary democracy operates within the constituent parts of the UK, how government works and how democratic and non-democratic systems of government are different beyond the UK
  • know and understand the relationship between the state and citizens, the rights, responsibilities and duties of citizens living and working in the UK and how people participate in democracy
  • know and understand the role of the law in society, how laws are shaped and enforced and how the justice system works in England and Wales
  • know and understand how taxes are raised and spent by governments, and how national economic and financial policies and decisions relate to individuals
  • use and apply knowledge and understanding of key citizenship ideas and concepts, including democracy, government, justice, equality, rights, responsibilities, participation, community, identity and diversity, to think deeply and critically about a wide range of political, social, economic and ethical issues and questions facing society in local to global contexts
  • use and apply knowledge and understanding as they formulate citizenship enquiries, explore and research citizenship issues and actions, analyse and evaluate information and interpret sources of evidence
  • use and apply citizenship knowledge and understanding to contribute to debates, show understanding of different viewpoints, make persuasive and reasoned arguments, and justify and substantiate their conclusions
  • use and apply citizenship knowledge, understanding and skills in order to participate in responsible actions to address citizenship issues aimed at improving society and positively contributing to democracy and public life, as individuals and in collaboration with others.

Assessment objectives

Assessment objectives (AOs) are set by Ofqual and are the same across all GCSE Citizenship Studies specifications and all exam boards.

The exams will measure how students have achieved the following assessment objectives:

  • AO1: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of citizenship concepts, terms, and issues.
  • AO2: Apply knowledge and understanding of citizenship concepts, terms and issues to contexts and actions.
  • AO3: Analyse and evaluate a range of evidence relating to citizenship issues, debates and actions, including different viewpoints, to develop reasoned, coherent arguments and make substantiated judgements.

Assessment objective weightings for GCSE Citizenship Studies

Assessment objectives (AOs) Component weightings (approx %) Overall weighting (approx %)
Paper 1 Paper 2
AO1 15 15 30
AO2 15 15 30
AO3 20 20 40
Overall weighting of components 50 50 100

Assessment weightings

The marks awarded on the papers will be scaled to meet the weighting of the components. Students’ final marks will be calculated by adding together the scaled marks for each component. Grade boundaries will be set using this total scaled mark. The scaling and total scaled marks are shown in the table below.

Component Maximum raw mark Scaling factor Maximum scaled mark
Paper 1 80 x1 80
Paper 2 80 x1 80
Total scaled mark: 160