There are two assessment objectives for GCSE Religious Studies:
A01 – Knowledge and Understanding – in other words do you know what religious people actually believe? You will need to know KEY TERMINOLOGY as well as the details of the beliefs and teachings of many of the world’s major religions.
A02 – Evaluation – you need to be able to criticise the beliefs you describe; that means making an informed opinion about whether you agree with their ideas or not. This might involve criticising it from the point of view of another religion or making comments about the specific details of the beliefs you have described.
The weighting for the assessment objectives is 50/50 – in other words half of your marks come from knowing what religious people believe, the other half from your ability to criticise it.
In order to determine how to answer a question you will need to be aware of various TRIGGER WORDS that tell you if the question is assessing AO1 or AO2.
Questions beginning ‘Explain…’ are assessing your knowledge and understanding. They are not asking you to comment. This is AO1. Simply explain the views of religious people, whether you agree with them or not. Try to be as specific as you can – give details and refer to particular religions.
Questions that ask ‘What do you think?’ are assessing evaluation. You need to form an argument that is critical of the views you present. You need to give information that supports your view. In six mark answers you will need to present the opposite view as well, and say what is wrong with it!
Once you know if you are looking at AO1 or AO2 you can use the following mark scheme to work out what you need to do to gain the marks.