Mrs Naomi Beeson

Mrs Emma Irvine



Subject Introduction

The study of history is about more than simply memorising dates and the deeds of famous figures. History is a chronicle of human behaviour - a real-life drama full of villains and heroes, the mighty and the meek. It examines the circumstances that moved its players to transform people and places (for better and for worse), and it holds the answers to how and why our lives are fashioned they way they are today.

Students study and evaluate systems of government and learn how the actions of government impact on individuals, groups and society as a whole. They explore the values, attitudes, perceptions and ideologies that have shaped human behaviour, endeavour and achievement in the past. They also study how men and women in the past have interacted with their environments and how the environment has contributed to and shaped historical events.


Students must complete two examinations for GCSE History: Unit 1 and Unit 2.The exams are available at Foundation and Higher Tier. The questions in both tiers cover the same content but vary in type. Foundation Tier exams include short-answer and structured questions. Higher Tier exams include short-answer questions and questions requiring extended writing.

In Unit 1: Studies in Depth, students are tested on one of the following options:

Germany 1918–1941;
Russia c1916–1941; or
United States of America 1918–1941;
and either:

Peace, War and Neutrality: Britain, Northern Ireland and Ireland 1932–1949; or
Changing Relationships: Britain, Northern Ireland and Ireland 1965–1985.

Unit 2 is an outline study of The Cold War. The exam lasts 1 hour 15 minutes and is worth 25 percent of the final award. This paper requires students to use and evaluate a range of source material.

Controlled Assessment;

25 percent of the marks for controlled assessment. The controlled assessment task, an investigative study, is the same for both Foundation Tier and Higher Tier students.

Click on the PDF image  for the GCSE History Specification

AS/A Level

- Examing Board: OCR

Subject Introduction

The study of History provides students with the opportunity to explore events, individuals and ideologies which have shaped, and continue to shape, human behaviour. History enables us to come to a better understanding of the world in which we live.

Qualification & Specification details

The full Advanced GCE A level award is based on students’ marks from the AS (40 %) and the A2 (60 %).

British period study and enquiry: (unit group 1)

Learners study one of the 13 units available, each of which constitutes a substantial and coherent element of British History.

The enquiry is a source-based study which immediately precedes or follows the outline period study.

British period study and enquiry (Y101-Y113) 50 marks 1 hour 30 minute paper

25% of Total A Level

Non-British period study: (unit group 2)

Learners study one of the 24 units available, each of which constitutes a coherent period of non-British History.

Non-British period study (Y201-Y224) 30 marks 1 hour paper

15% of Total A Level

Thematic study and historical interpretations: (unit group 3)

Learners study one of the 21 units available. Each unit comprises a thematic study over a period of at least 100 years, and three in-depth studies of events, individuals or issues that are key parts of the theme.

Learners will develop the ability to treat the whole period thematically, and to use their detailed knowledge of the depth study topics to evaluate interpretations of the specified key events, individuals or issues.

Thematic study and historical interpretations (Y301-Y321) 80 marks 2 hour 30 minute paper

40% of Total A Level

Topic based essay: (unit Y100)* **

Learners will complete a 3000–4000 word essay on a topic of their choice, which may arise out of content studied elsewhere in the course. This is an internally assessed unit group. A Title(s) Proposal Form must be submitted to OCR.

3000–4000 word essay (Y100/03 or 04) Non exam assessment 40 marks

20% of Total A Level

Career Note

The subject is highly rated by employers because it demands intellectual rigour. History students are trained to deal with large amounts of evidence and information and to develop analytical minds. These are very useful skills in a range of careers, for example, teaching, law, journalism and the social sciences.