All courses begin with a level-specific Drama Skills and Production Skills (DSPS) unit where learners respond to a stimulus to explore and create a piece of drama which they perform for their peers.

Following this, learners will choose to continue in the course following either the acting stream or the production stream.

National 4

In studying Drama at National 4 level, through a mixture of practical, experiential, and analytical tasks, learners develop their skills, understanding, ability and confidence in:

  • working alone and as part of a team,
  • developing their ideas,
  • creating drama using a range of form and genre,
  • and exploring social, cultural, and historical issues.

The practical component of the National 4 is very similar to the National 5 course, however the presentation is internally assessed (and verified by SQA). The theoretical and analytical  aspects of the course at National 4 level are assessed via a portfolio of evidence gathered in class as well as formal assessments.

National 5

At National 5, learners develop practical skills in creating, presenting, and producing drama; through which they build their confidence, critical thinking, and communication skills. In Drama, learners are given the opportunity to personalise their experiences; choosing either to act or to undertake a production role (lighting, sound, costume, or props). Through their chosen specialism, learners develop important skills, such as creativity, adaptability, responsibility, and teamwork.

In an acting role, learners prepare a character and rehearse an extract from a published play with one to four other actors.


Learners who continue in the subject to Higher level develop their practical skills and explore a range of dramatic forms and styles. They are again given the opportunity for personalisation in  exercising their imagination and creativity while expressing themselves in different ways. Learning independently and as part of a group, through a combination of practical and analytical tasks, learners develop important skills, attitudes and attributes, including creativity and adaptability, critical-thinking, enthusiasm, and confidence.

At this level, actors must perform two contrasting extracts for the Visiting Assessor in groups with one to three other actors.

Advanced Higher

At Advanced Higher, through active involvement in devising, creating, appreciating, and using theatre to communicate with an audience, and by exploring and analysing the work of influential theatre practitioners, learners extend their knowledge and understanding of the art of professional theatre, its forms and its practices.

Candidates must act in two contrasting roles one of which must be a monologue (approximately 3 minutes in length) and the other must be an interactive piece with at least one other actor.