Skip to content ↓

AQA Religious Studies A (8062), 9-1

Studying RS and Philosophy at GCSE enables students to explore some of the ultimate questions about the nature and meaning of human existence. Students develop an in-depth understanding of two religions, Christianity and Buddhism, learning how these belief systems shape the worldview of their followers and influence the lives of individuals, communities and societies. In addition, students examine and discuss some of the ‘big’ questions of philosophy and ethics, such as ‘Does God exist?’ and ‘Can abortion be justified?’. Students learn about the diversity of attitudes and beliefs prompted by such questions, held by both religious and secular groups.

The course will encourage you to reflect on and develop your own values, beliefs and attitudes. You will learn how to use your knowledge and understanding to analyse questions about religious beliefs, as well as how to construct and articulate your own balanced and well-informed arguments. The critical thinking and communication skills you learn will be of value in any area of future study or career.

Course content

Component 1 - Beliefs and Teachings & Practices

This will involve learning about the beliefs and practices of Christianity and Buddhism, and exploring how these beliefs and practices affect the lives of their followers. It will also involve reflecting on the truth, meaning and value of these beliefs and practices in a diverse religious and non-religious society.

Component Group 2 - Religion, Philosophy and Ethics in the Modern World

This will include the study of different philosophical and ethical arguments and their influence and impact on the modern world.

The four themes studied are:

  • Theme B: Religion and Life    
    • Questions explored in this theme include:
      • How did the universe begin?
      • Do humans have a special responsibility to care for animals and the environment?
      • Are abortion or euthanasia ever morally permissible?
  • Theme C: The Existence of God and Revelation
    • Questions explored in this theme include:
      • Is the design we see in the world good evidence for the existence of God?
      • Is the suffering we see in the world good evidence against the existence of God?
      • What are miracles and what, if anything, do they tell us about God? 
  • Theme D: Religion, Peace and Conflict
    • Questions explored in this theme include:
      • Can war ever be justified?
      • Should the UK get rid of its nuclear weapons?
      • How do people work for peace?
  • Theme E: Religion, Crime and Punishment
    • Questions explored in this theme include:
      • Should the aim of punishment be retribution, deterrence of reformation? 
      • Is it always right to forgive?
      • Can the use of the death penalty be justified?


There are two written exams at the end of the course. There is no coursework. Both exams are 1 hour 45 minutes in length. Students answer four questions in each exam. 

Each question comprises 1, 2, 4, 5 and 12 mark sections.