Scheme of assessment
Find past papers and mark schemes, and specimen papers for new courses, on our website at aqa.org.uk/pastpapers
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.
A-level 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 A-level exams in Religious Studies include questions that allow students to demonstrate their ability to:
- reflect on, select and apply specified knowledge
- construct well informed and reasoned arguments substantiated by relevant evidence
- understand, interpret and evaluate critically religious concepts, texts and other sources
- present responses to questions which are clear and coherent
- use specialist language and terminology appropriately
- identify, investigate and critically analyse questions, arguments, ideas and issues arising from the chosen approaches
- engage in debate in a way that recognises the right of others to hold a different view
- critically analyse and evaluate the views and arguments of scholars/academics
- account for the influence of social, religious and historical factors on developments in the study of religions and beliefs
- analyse the nature of connections between the various elements of their course of study
- develop breadth and depth in their understanding of the connections between the knowledge, understanding and skills set out in the specification as a whole.
Courses based on this specification should encourage students to:
- develop their interest in a rigorous study of religion and belief and relate it to the wider world
- develop knowledge and understanding appropriate to a specialist study of religion
- develop an understanding and appreciation of religious thought and its contribution to individuals, communities and societies
- adopt an enquiring, critical and reflective approach to the study of religion
- reflect on and develop their own values, opinions and attitudes in light of their study.
Assessment objectives (AOs) are set by Ofqual and are the same across all A-level Religious Studies specifications and all exam boards.
The exams will measure how students have achieved the following assessment objectives.
- AO1: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of religion and belief, including:
- religious, philosophical and/or ethical thought and teaching
- influence of beliefs, teachings and practices on individuals, communities and societies
- cause and significance of similarities and differences in belief, teaching and practice
- approaches to the study of religion and belief.
- AO2: Analyse and evaluate aspects of, and approaches to, religion and belief, including their significance, influence and study.
Assessment objective weightings for A-level Religious Studies
|Assessment objectives (AOs)||Component weightings (approx %)||Overall weighting (approx %)|
|Paper 1||Paper 2|
|Overall weighting of components||50||50||100|
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|
|Component 1: Philosophy of religion and ethics||100||1||100|
|Component 2: Study of religion and dialogues||100||1||100|
|Total scaled mark:||200|
Component 1: Philosophy of religion and ethics
In Component 1, students will be assessed on their knowledge, understanding and ability to analyse and evaluate philosophy of religion (Section A) and ethics and religion (Section B).
The exam tests students’ ability in relation to both AO1 and AO2. The paper is divided into two sections:
Section A: tests philosophy of religion and consists of two compulsory two-part questions; in each two-part question the first part tests AO1 (10 marks) and the second part tests AO2 (15 marks).
Section B: tests ethics and religion and consists of two compulsory two-part questions; in each two-part question the first part tests AO1 (10 marks) and the second part tests AO2 (15 marks).
Component 2: Study of religion and dialogues
In Component 2 students will be assessed on their knowledge, understanding and ability to analyse and evaluate a single religion (Section A) and issues related to the dialogue between philosophy of religion and their chosen religion (Section B) and issues related to the dialogue between ethical studies and their chosen religion (Section C).
The following options are available:
2E JudaismThe exam tests students’ ability in relation to both AO1 and AO2. The paper is divided into three Sections:
- Section A covers the study of religion and consists of two compulsory two-part questions; in each two-part question the first part tests AO1 (10 marks) and the second part tests AO2 (15 marks).
- Section B covers the dialogue between religion and philosophy of religion; it is tested by one synoptic question from a choice of two testing AO1 and AO2 (worth 25 marks).
- Section C tests the dialogue between religion and ethical studies; it is tested by one synoptic question from a choice of two testing AO1 and AO2 (worth 25 marks).