Quick Links

Quick Links

Back to top

The Waid Academy

Higher Modern Studies


The Modern Studies Course will encourage learners to develop important attitudes including: an open mind and respect for the values, beliefs and cultures of others; openness to new thinking and ideas and a sense of responsibility and global citizenship.

The investigative and critical thinking activities in this Course give learners important experience in contributing to group work and also working on their own. Learners will acquire attributes which will be important for their life and work. Through the skills and content of this Course, learners will develop an increased understanding of the democratic political system and their place in it as well as a sense of responsible citizenship. The emphasis on the evaluation of a wide range of sources and decision making will develop thinking skills.   Three units will be studied:

Democracy in Scotland and the UK

  • Possible alternatives to the governance of Scotland
  • Implications of the UK’s decision to leave the EU
  • Effectiveness of parliamentary representatives in holding the government to account
  • Strengths and weaknesses of electoral systems used in elections within the UK
  • Factors which influence voting behaviour including class, age and media
  • Ways in which citizens can influence government decision making, including pressure groups


Social Issues in the UK

  • Reasons why income and wealth inequality exist
  • Reasons why health inequalities exist
  • Effect of inequality on a group or groups in society
  • Individualist and collectivist debate
  • Effectiveness of measures taken to tackle inequalities, including government measures.


A study of a major world power: The USA

  • Extent to which the political system allows democratic participation
  • Political institutions and their ability to dominate government decision making
  • Socio-economic inequality and its impact on a group in society
  • Effectiveness of government responses to socio-economic inequality
  • A world power’s international influence

Assessment for Higher Modern Studies

The Course assessment is graded A–D. The grade is determined on the basis of the total mark for all course assessments together (worth a total of 110 marks), these include:

·         Question Paper 1 = 1 hour and 45 minutes external exam: 52 marks

·         Question paper 2 = 1 hour and 15 minutes assignment; 28 marks

·         Assignment = 1 hour and 30 minutes assignment; 30 marks

Question Paper 1

The purpose of this question paper is to demonstrate breadth of knowledge and understanding from across the three Units of the Course. The exam will have three sections: Democracy in Scotland and the United Kingdom; Social Issues in the United Kingdom’ and International Issues

Question Paper 2

The purpose of this question paper is to demonstrate application of the following skills using a range of sources of information:

·         Detecting and explaining objectivity

·         Drawing and supporting complex conclusions 

·         Evaluating reliability

Component 2

The assignment will have 30 marks (27% of the total mark).

The assignment Component of the Course assessment will have a greater emphasis on the assessment of skills than the question paper. The other marks will be awarded for the demonstration of knowledge and understanding.

Learners will produce the evidence for assessment from the results of their research, in no more than 1 hour and 30 minutes and under controlled assessment conditions, which will be done in time to meet the submission date set by the SQA

Recommended Entry:  Learners are expected to have a C pass or above in National 5 Modern Studies. However, pupils who have a C pass or above in English and another Social Subject (History or Geography), will be eligible for entry to Higher Modern Studies. S6 pupils who have a passed National 5 Modern Studies and/or have passed Higher in another social subject will also be eligible to study for the new higher course.

Progression:  The Higher Modern Studies course provides an entry qualification for study in further and higher education and for entry into a diverse range of occupations and careers, such as:  Lawyer; Journalist; Doctor; Broadcaster; Politician; Social Worker; Police Officer; Researcher and Teacher