Studying the past allows us to gain an insight into past societies and the major economic and political changes that have influenced the course of human development. Through this study, pupils will gain a better understanding of the world we live in today. Pupils will emerge with the ability to think analytically, use evidence critically and form their own well-reasoned and supported judgements. Ultimately, History is a subject where you can achieve a great deal if you are prepared to work hard.

As such, History continues to be a qualification which is much valued by universities and employers alike. It is a myth that you can only become a teacher.  While no career routes are closed, obvious avenues are law, journalism and media, banking and accountancy. History goes very well with English, Geography or Politics, though virtually any subject can be set alongside it.

History is far more than a narrative of events, but a study of the various interpretations of the past and the ongoing debate surrounding it. It satisfies our natural curiosity by asking why things happened, as well as asking what alternative courses of action were available. Pupils will be introduced to new or unfamiliar countries or periods and will be asked to make judgements and comparisons. In asking ‘why’ and ‘how’ about the past we can better understand the present and offer tentative suggestions for the future.  It is arguably also the historian’s position to challenge preconceived ideas and to understand the counter arguments to everything that is delivered inside the classroom.

Through studying History A Level you will:

  • Acquire an understanding of past societies and an appreciation of social, cultural, religious and ethnic diversity.Improve as an independent learner and as a critical and reflective thinker.
  • Develop the ability to ask relevant questions about the past and to conduct your own research. 
  • Acquire an understanding of the nature of historical study, in that history is concerned with judgements based on available evidence and that historical judgements are provisional.
  • Develop your use and understanding of historical terms, concepts and skills.
  • Make links and draw comparisons within and/or across different periods and aspects of the past.
  • Organise and communicate your historical knowledge and understanding in different ways, by arguing a case and reaching substantiated judgements.

The drive is for each student to leave the course as an able and effective independent leaner. Pupils will need to develop a broad base of contextual knowledge to enable them to critically evaluate key concepts such as change and continuity or cause and consequence. Core textbooks are used, but pupils will be expected to read widely, developing an understanding of the historiography of a given historical question. 

Course content

Year 12

  • Non-British period study: The USA in the 19th century: Westward expansion and Civil War 1803 – c.1890.
  • British period study and enquiry: The early Stuarts and the origins of the Civil War 1603 – 1646. 
  • Enquiry topic: The execution of Charles I and the Interregnum 1646 – 1660. 

Year 13

  • Thematic study and historical interpretations: China and its Rulers, 1839-1989.
  • Topic based essay (coursework):  3000-4000 word essay.

Course requirements

Ideally you will have studied this subject at GCSE and will have achieved a minimum of a B grade. We may also consider your English GCSE grade, which would also ideally be at grade 6 or better.

For full course specifications visit: http://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/as-a-level-gce-history-a-h105-h505-from-2015/



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