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RS AQA GCSE Past Papers

Religious Studies is one of the more nuanced and interesting subjects at the GCSE level. In this article, we take a look at what to expect, and provide some excellent resources in making sure students are fully prepared to rock this exam. There are past papers galore, and we take a look at the RevisePal GCSE revision game, which now includes Religious Studies as a subject!

GCSE AQA Religious Studies


Religious Studies

It's often students first look at religions outside the one they we're raising with. GCSE Religious Studies is made up of two parts: The study of religion and its themes. Religious studies involve an in-depth study of multiple religious traditions: Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Catholicism. We then go on to study themes which are made up of philosophical and moral concepts such as abortion and the death penalty.

The Exam

Component 1: The study of religions: beliefs, teachings and practices

What's assessed

Beliefs, teachings and practices of two from:

  • Buddhism

  • Christianity

  • Catholic Christianity

  • Hinduism

  • Islam

  • Judaism

  • Sikhism.

Christianity and Catholic Christianity is a prohibited combination.

How it's assessed

  • Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes

  • 96 marks, plus 6 marks for spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPaG)

  • 50% of GCSE


Each religion has a common structure of two five-part questions of 1, 2, 4, 5 and 12 marks.

Each religion is marked out of 48.

Component 2: Thematic studies

What's assessed

Either four religious, philosophical and ethical studies themes or two religious, philosophical and ethical studies themes and two textual studies themes.

Religious, philosophical and ethical studies themes:

  • Theme A: Relationships and families.

  • Theme B: Religion and life.

  • Theme C: The existence of God and revelation.

  • Theme D: Religion, peace and conflict.

  • Theme E: Religion, crime and punishment.

  • Theme F: Religion, human rights and social justice.

Textual studies themes:

  • Theme G: St Mark's Gospel – the life of Jesus.

  • Theme H: St Mark's Gospel as a source of religious, moral and spiritual truths.

How it's assessed

  • Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes

  • 96 marks, plus 3 marks for spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPaG)

  • 50% of GCSE


Each theme has a common structure of one five-part question of 1, 2, 4, 5 and 12 marks.

Each theme is marked out of 24.

Past Papers

We know that test, test, test is the best way to nail exams. Utilising the retrieval method is the scientific way to ensure students can access what they've learned over the course of the year, so past papers are a must for revision time.

  • Here AQA provides some great resources for students and teachers to really get into the content. From question papers, to mark schemes and even notes.

  • BBC Bitesize is always available and reliable for tailored subject content that is presented in an easy-to-digest way.

  • Ben Wardel offers some really useful videos on RS, especially useful if you're somebody that absorbs knowledge better through videos, in this case, YouTube videos.

  • If you're a fan of the physical book, then CPG is the go to provider for revision content. Available at most Waterstones, and almost certainly on Amazon.

  • If you want a quick daily quiz, then RevisePal's Question of the day will test all subjects, including the occasional religious studies question!

Gamify Your Past Papers

So that's the traditional approach... But now is a time where student experience is really cared about, and we at RevisePal care about the experience on a huge scale.

So much so that we created a mobile app product around it.

The gcse study app

The GCSE RevisePal app gamifies religious studies, users work their way through the levels in the pursuit of points, trying to be the best in the country, competing on the leaderboards.

student raising hand in class

Heres our logic, and see if you agree... Students love games and gaming, success is exams is paramount to a students life prospects, and revision is critical for exam success. We married all of these elements and came up with a modern, easy to use GCSE revision game... and its awesome!

Check it out yourself on App Stores and see how students could be revising in 'the new way', and if you want to try it out with your entire class, then let us know here, and we'll be in touch!

Happy exam period, and good luck!

The exam revision app


How to get started

If you're interesting in improving your class grades through gaming, then let us know via our sign up form and we will respond by email.

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