Oxford Open Learning

Other GCSE Distance Learning and Home Study

GCSE Religious Education

Course Overview

This is a completely new course written by Cynthia Bartlett, AQA examiner and series editor for Nelson Thorne’s new series of six AQA GCSE Religious Studies textbooks.

Course Content

At Oxford Open Learning we have selected Unit 1: ‘Religion and Citizenship’, and Unit 6: ‘Worship and Key Beliefs’ from the six possible units of study available in the AQA specification as the basis for our GCSE Religious Studies course.

In Unit 1, students study five topics and may focus on one or two religions from a choice of six: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Sikhism.

In Unit 1, students study the following 5 topics:

1  Religion and Relationships
2  Religion, Sport and Leisure
3  Religion and Work
4  Religion and the Multicultural Society
5  Religion and Human Rights

In Unit 6 there are again five topics; students study each of these with reference to two religions.  They may opt for the same two religions throughout the Unit, or study two different religions (out of the six named above) in relation to each topic.

In Unit 6, students study the following 5 topics:

1  Places of Worship
2  Worship
3  Pilgrimage
4  Origins and Beliefs
5  Practices and Belonging

The course includes an introductory lesson to each unit and a wide range of activities in each lesson.  Half of the 22 lessons conclude with a self-assessment test, and the remainder with a tutor-marked assignment. The course also includes a tutor-marked mock exam.

To participate in all course activities, students should have access to the internet. However, it is  possible to complete the course without internet access.  Please see the course introduction for further details.



The AQA GCSE Religious Education course, Specification B Ethics, Philosophy and Religion in Society, 4055,  is assessed by a modular exam comprising two Units which may be taken separately or together.


In the Religious Education GCSE exam, students must answer questions on five out of the six topics included in each Unit of the specification.  As the Oxford Open Learning Religious Education course includes five topics for study in each unit,  in order to gain the most benefit from the course, students should answer questions on these topics and ignore questions based on the sixth topic which they will not have studied as part of their course.

In the Unit 6 exam, students must answer questions on two out of the six religions.  For each question, students may refer to any two of the six religions in their answer.  So students could choose to focus only on two religions for all of Unit 6, or they may focus on two different religions in each of the five topics.  This gives students a wide range of choice as to how many of the six religions they wish to study in Unit 6.

As the exam is modular, students may take their Unit 1 exam at the end of their first year of study, and the Unit 6 exam at the end of their second year of study.  Or they make take both together at the end of Year 1, or both at the end of Year 2. Each exam is worth half a GCSE, and students must pass both in order to achieve a full GCSE.

Please refer to the Religious Education Course Introduction, available from this page, for further details of the course.

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The Religious Studies GCSE course is self contained and does not require you to buy any additional textbooks.

However if you wish to read further, the following texts are recommended.

Download and view the Introduction to our Religious Studies GCSE course

Download and view a Sample Lesson from our Religious Studies GCSE course

Download and view a copy of the AQA Syllabus for Religious Studies GCSE