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GCSE Drama

Examination Details: AQA 8261

Course Specification available here

Assessment Details

  1. Written examination (40%)
  2. Non exam based pieces of coursework (60%)

1 tier of entry for all pupils

Course Information

Written Examination/ Component 1 (40%) 1 hour 45mins 80 marks

 The written paper comprises three sections:

  1. Multiple choice questions
  2. 4 questions on a given extract from Noughts and Crosses.
  3. One question (from a choice) on the work of theatre makers in a single live theatre production

 Component 2 Devising Drama (40%) 80 marks

What's assessed

  • Process of creating devised drama
  • Performance of devised drama (students may contribute as performer or designer)
  • Analysis and evaluation of own work

How it's assessed

  • Devising log (60 marks)
  • Devised performance (20 marks)

Component 3 Texts in Practice (20%) 40 marks

What's assessed

  • Performance of two extracts from one play (students may contribute as performer or designer)
  • Free choice of play but it must contrast with the set play chosen for Component 1

How it's assessed

Performance of Extract 1 (20 marks) and Extract 2 (20 marks)
40 marks in total
20% of GCSE

Pupils must attend at least one organised Theatre trip in Year 10 and another in Year 11. These trips are a compulsory part of the course.

How GCSE Drama is broken down at The Heathland

Year 10

Autumn Term

Spring Term

Summer Term

Experimenting with the practical elements of the course: building on techniques for scripted and devising that have been used in KS3 and bringing them up to GCSE standard.

Introducing Technical Theatre: exploring the basic technical conventions used in theatrical performance, including set, lighting and costume design.

Introducing the set text: reading, exploring and experimenting with RSC’s Noughts and Crosses. This includes learning about the theories and methodologies of Brecht and Epic Theatre as well as the socio-historical context.

Preparing for the written exam: looking at how to tackle the GCSE written paper ready for Year 10 mock examinations.


Component 2: Preparing the devised piece for examination in October

Year 11

Autumn Term

Spring Term

Summer Term

Component 2: preparing and performing the devised piece. The devising log is also due in October


Preparation for the written examination: building on and revising theory in preparation for the Year 11 mock examinations. This is explored practically and theoretically.

JANUARY: GCSE Mock Examinations


Component 3: preparing and performing 2 scripted pieces. This will be examined externally by a GCSE examiner in March


Further revision of the GCSE set text
Preparing and revising for Component 1

Steps to Success in GCSE Drama 

  1. Be enthusiastic in lessons – ‘Have a go’!
  2. You must attend all lessons and rehearsals (lunchtime and after school) to avoid letting others down in group assessment situations.
  3. Be supportive of others’ performance work.  You can learn a lot from evaluating the work of other people.
  4. Be organised about looking after the notes and scripts you are given.  Complete all written tasks diligently.  This will help you in your coursework and final examination.
  5. Attend as much live theatre as possible. You live in London, theatre capital of the world!
  6. Be the leader – do not be afraid to initiate ideas.  Listen to everyone’s ideas and select the best ones to try out.
  7. Listen to the advice of your teachers and act upon it.
  8. Think about the emotions of the character.  Can you imagine how they feel?
  9.  Think about your voice: pitch, pace and volume.
  10. Think about your body language, posture, facial expressions and gestures.
  11. Keep a journal of all the lessons in which you participate. Explain the skills you are learning or developing. Make sure you keep a record of the ideas you contributed and how others responded to those ideas and how you respond to the ideas of others.

Useful websites:
National Theatre YouTube Page