Drama at GCSE often involves aspects of acting, music, dance and performing arts. There are practical and written components - students will usually take the terminal exam at the end of Year 11 after having completed intermediate assessments and minor coursework(s) thorughout the course. GCSE drama courses are usually weighted at 60% practical performance, and 40% written theory.
Drama is not an easy subject to take. In fact it can be very challenging, even if you have a good amount of confidence and an ability in acting. Drama involves team work, group motivation, personal challenge, imagination, good writing skills, evaluating techniques and extra effort. It is difficult to achieve the highest grades in this subject as little marks can be lost. The final section is the 'acting paper' and this is where you assessed on your ability to devise, create an interesting and enjoyable piece, and act. The rest of the GCSE tests skills such as how you respond to a stimulus and your ability to evaluate. You have to try in drama, it is not as easy as people may think - it involves hard work and determination.
Drama A Level
At A Level, Drama can have a much more theatrical emphasis, i.e. Drama A-Level looks at the value of theatre of stage presence during your studies; looking at more on the text being followed itself, as opposed to just the way in which it is acted out. For this reason, there is often one whole paper comprised of just written questions about the play or narrative in question. In addition, it is important to note that, unlike GCSE Drama, at A-Level the weighting shifts from 60% performance and 40% theory to 60% thoery and 40% practical. Although this provides a sound baackground for studying texts written for performance (which is certainly an advantage for further study of English), it can mean that those students choosing the course due to an enjoyment of practical performance will be slightly disappointed.
Performance Studies A Level
In Performance Studies, the three performing arts forms of drama, music and dance are studied in conjunction in order to develop an individual as a well-rounded performer.
Performing Arts A Level
Usually a combination of practical and theory work. You focus on drama, dance, and music (usually you get the option of focusing on your strongest area), and are graded on both your performance work and written work. It's much like GCSE level but more complex and the work is harder.
Theatre Studies A Level
Usually studied in conjunction with Drama - i.e. Drama and Theatre studies. See above.
Performing Arts BTEC
Fully practical based, but some written parts are involved, for example Script Writing and dance/drama journals. Dance,drama and singing can be studied (at least in the Musical Theatre course), with modules including Contemporary Dance,Singing Skills, Devised Theatre, Performing to an Audience, and Musical Theatre Performance.
Studying drama at every levels offers numerous opportunities for trips to theatres as part of the course. Seeing and evaluating live performances is a vital part of the course.