OCR religious studies A level syllabusBelow are links to A level religious studies revision notes organised by exam paper and topic.

The OCR religious studies syllabus (course code H573) is assessed via 3 exam papers:

Each of these exam papers is 2 hours long and is worth 120 marks (33.3% of the overall grade). The format of each exam paper is the same: You will have a choice of 4 essay questions and must choose 3 of these to answer.

OCR religious studies exam structure

Philosophy of Religion

Religion and Ethics

Developments in Religious Thought

For this paper, students pick one topic from the following:



  • Theology and belief
    • Prophecy and revelation (Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad)
    • The nature and existence of God within the Qur’an
      • The oneness of God
      • Arguments for God’s existence within the Qur’an
      • Interpretation of descriptions of God in the Qur’an
    • Human destiny and the meaning of life
  • Islamic tradition and practices
    • Hadith and Sira
    • The Shari’a
    • Sunni and Shi’a
    • Sufism
  • Developments in Islamic thought
    • Science and philosophy
    • Gender equality
  • Islam in society and issues
    • Tolerance
    • Justice and liberation
  • Challenges
    • Islam and the state
    • Islam in Europe


  • Theology and belief
    • Oral and written law
    • Covenant in the Torah
    • Maimonides’ 13 Principles of Faith
    • Suffering and hope
  • Jewish tradition and practices
    • Halakha
    • Conversion
  • Developments in Jewish thought
    • Haskalah and emancipation
    • Zionism
  • Judaism in society and issues
    • The state of Israel and the Biblical promised land
    • Jewish feminism
  • Challenges
    • Post-Holocaust theology
    • Chagall: Art as resistance


  • Beliefs and teachings
    • The Buddha
    • Taking refuge
    • The six realms of existence (Samsara)
    • The three marks of existence (impermanence, suffering, and no self)
    • The four noble truths
  • Buddhist practices
    • Meditation
  • Developments in Buddhist thought
    • Mahayana Buddhism
    • Madhyamaka and Prajnaparamita
  • Buddhism in society and issues
    • Zen Buddhism and Pure Land Buddhism
    • Buddhism in the West
  • Challenges
    • Engaged Buddhism and activism
    • Buddhism and gender


  • History and beliefs
    • Development of Hinduism and different Hindu traditions
    • Hindu scriptures and the role of Holy persons
    • Brahman and the self
    • Samsara and Karma
    • Dharma and Adharma
  • Hindu practices
    • Living in accordance with Dharma
  • Developments in Hindu thought
    • Vedanta
    • Hinduism as a religion
  • Hinduism in society and issues
    • Hinduism and India
    • Hinduism in the West
  • Challenges
    • Equality and discrimination
    • Social reform