Contact Teacher: Mr J Barnett, Head of Humanities and History Team Leader

Exam Board: OCR History A H505

Why study History?

In a rapidly-changing World, it's becoming ever more important that we remember the lessons of the past. History gives you that vital context, that wider view of events around us. As well as this important grasp of the world we live in, and how we've got to where we are today. A-level History also develops important skills in the students that choose it.

You will develop your ability to evaluate and analyse information, to weigh up evidence and to communicate complex ideas effectively.  These kills are recognised and valued by employers, universities and colleges. Many student choose to continue their history studies at degree level. You will also have an excellent foundation for many careers including journalism, law and business. This is illustrated by the number of students who are able to get onto these very popular courses.

History combines well with Maths and Science subjects to create an attractive portfolio of qualifications, enabling students to move on to a science-based university course. Combined with English and MFL it would provide a good basis for an arts or language-based degree. 

Course details

A-level History is made up of four units. Three are exam-based with one further coursework unit.

Unit 1 British History Period Study and Enquiry

The Tudors. One source and essay-based exam of 1.5 hours

Unit 2 Non-British History

Germany 1919-63. One essay-based exam of 1 hour

Unit 3 Thematic Study and Interpretations

Civil Rights in the USA 1865-1992. One essay, and source-based, exam of 2.5 hours

Unit 4 Coursework

One 3000-4000 word essay, related to an aspect of Unit 1 or 2

How the course is taught and assessed

You will notice some differences and similarities with your GCSE course.

There are still a variety of learning styles. Sometimes the teacher will lead the lesson. On other occasions there will be far more independent learning. The teacher will set up a task and it will be your responsibility to organise the completion of it. The teacher will be on hand to guide and advise, but it is your motivation and organisation that are crucial. There may be source investigations, internet research, presentations or debates. Visits and student conferences help extend learning beyond the classroom.

The course is assessed through examinations and coursework. The A -level course involves one coursework unit and three exam based units.

Entry requirements

Grade 6 in GCSE History is generally required for entry onto the A-level course.