Understanding SQA Courses & their Assessment Components

The SQA publish detailed information for all of their courses, including guidance on Course Specifications, the requirements of course components (eg the Main Diet Exam and any folios, investigations or dissertations) and the length of the Main Diet Exam papers. For National 5, Higher & Advanced Higher, they also publish five years worth of Past Papers with full Marking Instructions.

The following table gives a breakdown of every AH/H/N5 Course with their components and the maximum mark for each component.

Level NameCourse NameComponent NumberComponent NameMax Mark
(or where applicable max mark after scaling)
Advanced HigherArt and Design (Design)1Portfolio100
Advanced HigherArt and Design (Expressive)1Portfolio100
Advanced HigherBiology1Section 296
Advanced HigherBiology2Section 1 – Objective Test24
Advanced HigherBiology3Project40
Advanced HigherBusiness Management1Question Paper80
Advanced HigherBusiness Management2Project40
Advanced HigherChemistry1Section 293
Advanced HigherChemistry2Section 1 – Objective Test27
Advanced HigherChemistry3Project40
Advanced HigherDesign and Manufacture1Question Paper80
Advanced HigherDesign and Manufacture2Assignment120
Advanced HigherEngineering Science1Question Paper75
Advanced HigherEngineering Science2Project75
Advanced HigherEnglish1Literary Study20
Advanced HigherEnglish2Textual Analysis20
Advanced HigherEnglish3Portfolio: Writing30
Advanced HigherEnglish4Project: Dissertation30
Advanced HigherGeography1Question Paper50
Advanced HigherGeography2Project Folio: Section A60
Advanced HigherGeography3Project Folio: Section B40
Advanced HigherGraphic Communication1Question Paper90
Advanced HigherGraphic Communication2Project90
Advanced HigherHistory1Question Paper90
Advanced HigherHistory2Project – Dissertation50
Advanced HigherMathematics1Paper 1 (Non Calculator)35
Advanced HigherMathematics2Paper 2 (Calculator)80
Advanced HigherModern Studies1Question Paper90
Advanced HigherModern Studies2Project: Dissertation50
Advanced HigherMusic1Question Paper35
Advanced HigherMusic2Performance – Instrument 125
Advanced HigherMusic3Performance – Instrument 225
Advanced HigherMusic4Assignment15
Advanced HigherMusic Technology1Project – Research40
Advanced HigherMusic Technology2Project – Production95
Advanced HigherPhysical Education1Project70
Advanced HigherPhysical Education2Performance30
Advanced HigherPhysics1Question Paper120
Advanced HigherPhysics2Project40
Advanced HigherReligious, Moral and Philosophical Studies1Question Paper90
Advanced HigherReligious, Moral and Philosophical Studies2Dissertation50
HigherArt and Design1Question Paper60
HigherArt and Design2Portfolio: Expressive100
HigherArt and Design3Portfolio: Design100
HigherBusiness Management1Question Paper90
HigherBusiness Management2Assignment30
HigherChemistry1Paper 295
HigherChemistry2Paper 1 (Multiple choice)25
HigherDesign and Manufacture1Question Paper80
HigherDesign and Manufacture2Assignment90
HigherDrama1Question Paper40
HigherEngineering Science1Question Paper110
HigherEngineering Science2Assignment50
HigherEnglish1Reading for Understanding, Analysis and Evaluation30
HigherEnglish2Critical Reading40
HigherEnglish3Portfolio: Writing30
HigherEnglish for Speakers of Other Languages1Listening20
HigherEnglish for Speakers of Other Languages2Reading25
HigherEnglish for Speakers of Other Languages3Writing25
HigherEnglish for Speakers of Other Languages4Performance30
HigherFrench2Directed Writing15
HigherFrench4Performance: Talking30
HigherFrench5Assignment – Writing15
HigherGeography1Physical and Human Environments50
HigherGeography2Global Issues and Geographical Skills30
HigherGraphic Communication1Question Paper90
HigherGraphic Communication2Assignment50
HigherHistory1British, European and World History44
HigherHistory2Scottish History36
HigherHuman Biology1Paper 295
HigherHuman Biology2Paper 1 (Multiple choice)25
HigherHuman Biology3Assignment30
HigherMathematics1Paper 1 (Non Calculator)55
HigherMathematics2Paper 2 (Calculator)65
HigherModern Studies1Paper 152
HigherModern Studies2Paper 228
HigherModern Studies3Assignment30
HigherMusic1Question Paper35
HigherMusic2Performance – Instrument 125
HigherMusic3Performance – Instrument 225
HigherMusic Technology1Question Paper30
HigherMusic Technology2Assignment70
HigherPhysical Education1Question Paper50
HigherPhysical Education2Performance50
HigherPhysics1Paper 295
HigherPhysics2Paper 1 (Multiple choice)25
HigherPsychology1Question Paper80
HigherReligious, Moral and Philosophical Studies1World Religion, Morality and Belief60
HigherReligious, Moral and Philosophical Studies2Religious and Philosophical Questions20
HigherReligious, Moral and Philosophical Studies3Assignment30
HigherSociology1Question Paper80
HigherSpanish2Directed Writing15
HigherSpanish4Performance: Talking30
HigherSpanish5Assignment – Writing15
National 5Applications of Mathematics1Paper 1 (Non Calculator)35
National 5Applications of Mathematics2Paper 2 (Calculator)55
National 5Art and Design1Question Paper50
National 5Art and Design2Portfolio: Expressive100
National 5Art and Design3Portfolio: Design100
National 5Biology1Section 275
National 5Biology2Section 1 – Objective Test25
National 5Biology3Assignment25
National 5Business Management1Question Paper90
National 5Business Management2Assignment30
National 5Chemistry1Section 275
National 5Chemistry2Section 1 – Objective Test25
National 5Chemistry3Assignment25
National 5Design and Manufacture1Question Paper80
National 5Design and Manufacture2Assignment: Design55
National 5Design and Manufacture3Assignment: Practical45
National 5Drama1Question Paper40
National 5Drama2Performance60
National 5Engineering Science1Question Paper110
National 5Engineering Science2Assignment50
National 5English1Reading for Understanding, Analysis and Evaluation30
National 5English2Critical Reading40
National 5English3Portfolio: Writing30
National 5English for Speakers of Other Languages1Listening20
National 5English for Speakers of Other Languages2Reading25
National 5English for Speakers of Other Languages3Writing25
National 5English for Speakers of Other Languages4Performance30
National 5French1Reading30
National 5French2Writing15
National 5French3Listening30
National 5French4Performance: Talking30
National 5French5Assignment – Writing15
National 5Geography1Question Paper80
National 5Geography2Assignment20
National 5Graphic Communication1Question Paper80
National 5Graphic Communication2Assignment40
National 5History1Question Paper80
National 5History2Assignment20
National 5Mathematics1Paper 1 (Non Calculator)40
National 5Mathematics2Paper 2 (Calculator)50
National 5Modern Studies1Question Paper80
National 5Modern Studies2Assignment20
National 5Music1Question Paper35
National 5Music2Performance – Instrument 125
National 5Music3Performance – Instrument 225
National 5Music4Assignment15
National 5Music Technology1Question Paper30
National 5Music Technology2Assignment70
National 5Physical Education1Portfolio60
National 5Physical Education2Performance60
National 5Physics1Section 275
National 5Physics2Section 1 – Objective Test25
National 5Physics3Assignment25
National 5Practical Metalworking1Practical Activity70
National 5Practical Metalworking2Question Paper30
National 5Practical Woodworking1Practical Activity70
National 5Practical Woodworking2Question Paper30
National 5Psychology1Question Paper70
National 5Psychology2Assignment30
National 5Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies1Question Paper80
National 5Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies2Assignment20
National 5Sociology1Question Paper70
National 5Sociology2Assignment30
National 5Spanish1Reading30
National 5Spanish2Writing15
National 5Spanish3Listening30
National 5Spanish4Performance: Talking30
National 5Spanish5Assignment – Writing15

To find out more detail on any Course Specification, try searching for any course from this page link: https://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/45625.html

Once you have selected a Subject, choose the Level and then select “Course Specification”. The Course Specification document contains a detailed overview of all aspects of that course. Even greater detail can be found in the “Coursework” section.

Unfortunately it is not possible (or a good idea!) for us to publish specific course guidance here, as the SQA have been regularly updating it over the last five years.

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