Key Stage 4 – GCSE Drama

The course comprises two elements:

Controlled Assessment (60%)

Pupils complete several practical performances during the course. The two performances for which pupils gain the highest marks will be used in the final GCSE grade. Each performance is broken down into two parts. In part one, pupils are assessed on their ability to communicate effectively in their groups, their contributions to this group and their ability to reflect on and develop the performance as a whole.

In part two, their practical skills are assessed in the final performance which is filmed and performed in front of an audience. A moderator from the exam board will come into school to assess pupils’ work in April of Year 11.

Written Examination (40%)

One exam lasting 1½ hours. Pupils must answer Section A and choose one question from either section B or section C:

  • Section A
    A response to any of the pieces of practical work completed as part of the course. Pupils give details about the style, genre, performance space and target audience of the piece they performed.
  • Section B
    A response to a play they have studied and performed during their course. Pupils will explain how they used their acting skills to communicate a character to the audience. Pupils will also explain how effective they thought the performance was.
  • Section C
    A response to a live production pupils have seen performed.
    Pupils choose one scene or section and explain the impact it had on them, commenting on how it was staged as well as the acting, design and technical skills used in the performance.

Pupils are also assessed on the quality of their written communication (spelling, punctuation, grammar, presentation and organisation)


Controlled Assessment: Ongoing assessments throughout the course, culminating in a final performance for the moderator in April.

Written Examination: May/June of Year 11

GCSE Pupils’ Comments on GCSE Drama (Year 11 2012)

  • ‘I have learnt how to bring a script to life.’
  • ‘I enjoyed everything about GCSE Drama: scripted plays, ‘Blood Brothers’, improvisations ‘
  • ‘I enjoyed working as a team.’
  • ‘It’s built my confidence up.’
  • ‘I have learnt how to control my body and voice.’
  • ‘I have learnt new acting skills to Drama in to higher education.’


Overview of GCSE Course 2012-2013

Year 10

Option Rehearsal Dates Final Performance(Week commencing)
Acting (Working with scripts) September-November 26th November 2012
Improvisation January-March 11th March 2012
Devised Thematic April-June 24th June 2013

One lesson per week is devoted to the written exam element of the course. Pupils will sit a mock examination in the Year Ten exams in April 2013.

Year 11

Option Rehearsal Dates Final Performance(Week commencing)
Theatre in Education September-November 19th November 2012
Acting (Working with scripts) January-March 26th March 2013 (Moderated Performance)*

One lesson per week is devoted to the written exam element of the course. After the final moderated practical performance in March, pupils will concentrate on the written element of the exam and all lessons will be devoted to this. Pupils will sit their final examination (worth 40%) in May/June 2013.

*All performances are recorded onto DVD for the exam board and a range of pupils from the school are invited to watch. For the moderated performance, parents are also invited to come into school to watch pupils perform.

Glossary of Terms

Improvisation – pupils invent and develop the ideas and performance themselves without the use of scripts.

Devised Thematic – Pupils develop a performance using a range of ideas and stimuli such as scripts, music, poems, stories, their own ideas and improvisation. These ideas have to be carefully linked into one coherent piece of theatre.

Acting – pupils perform a script as it is written.

Theatre in Education – pupils develop a performance based on a current, topical or interesting educational issue.