GCSE Drama exams and revision: AQA explains what you need to do

Drama concept image

Our series on exam advice continues with tips from AQA on GCSE Drama

To help you make the most of your remaining revision time, we’ve worked with exam board AQA to create a series of exam advice articles.

In each of these features, you’ll find advice and easy-to-follow tips written by one of AQA’s subject matter experts.

Read on to get the inside track on GCSE Drama, direct from the people who make the exams.

AQA logo byline
AQA logo byline


  • Plan your revision to target the areas you’re less confident about first - but mix it up with the areas you’re stronger on.

Section A

  • Revise drama and theatre terminology and make sure you know how to use it properly.
  • Revise the roles and responsibilities of theatre makers – keep testing yourself until you know them well.
  • Don’t panic! You’ll know more than you think you do.

Section B

  • Re-read your set text.
  • Make sure you know the play’s context: when and where the play is set.
  • Think about approaches designers might take to the play.
  • Think about the different staging configurations and options for the play.
  • Make sure you make notes as you explore your set play practically in class – these will be invaluable when it comes to revision.

Section C

  • For this question, there are 12 marks available for description and 20 marks available for analysis and evaluation.
  • Make sure you take detailed notes when you watch your live production(s) - these will be really helpful when revising
  • When revising for questions with a focus on performers, think about: voice (pause and silence) movement (gesture, posture, gait), facial expression (eye contact and withdrawal), use of space, interaction with other performers, use of set/props/costume, listening and response, subtext, status, audience, dramatic tension
  • When revising for questions with a focus on designers think about: lighting (colour, direction, shadow, shade, level, effect), sound (live, recorded, music, manipulated), costume (hair, makeup, fabric, pattern, accessories), set (materials, modules, cloths, cyclorama, floor, truck), props (period, theatricality, context).

The written exam

  • Look at the number of marks available for each question and use this to guide how long you spend on your answers. The number of marks for each question increases as you move through the paper, so make sure you leave enough time to answer the high-value questions towards the end of the paper.
  • Where there are optional questions, read through the options carefully before deciding which to answer.
  • If you can, leave time at the end to check your work.

More GCSE Drama exam help on TSR

Quick links to GCSE Drama exam help
AQA GCSE Drama (8261) - Friday 17th May 2019

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Good luck from AQA

AQA believes everyone has the potential to achieve, and we make sure our qualifications give all students the opportunity to show what they can do and progress to the next stage of their lives.

Our subject experts worked with The Student Room so we can reach as many students as possible with advice on how to approach your revision and exams. We wish you well in the weeks ahead, and don’t forget to look after yourselves too: eat well, sleep well and tell someone how you’re feeling if there are days when things don’t go so well or you don’t feel so good.

 Good luck!