A Level
2 years
Curriculum Manager: 
Fiona Webb

What is A Level History?

When we hear of a major event in the news we are seeing history in the making. What has happened in the past greatly affects all aspects of our lives in the present, and will indeed affect what happens in the future. Historians enquire into the events of the past and attempt to produce an interpretation and reconstruction of it.

We will be concerned with investigating why events happened and their significance, and try to understand the nature of historical evidence by examining documents and materials from the time. We will examine how historians have interpreted events and consider why they often disagree.

Much of the course content will depend upon the period you choose to study. For the AS Level there are two options, you choose the option which you think you will enjoy most.

Option One:
The Tudor World
First year
Unit 1: England 1485–1558: the Early Tudors (Enquiry topic: Mid Tudor Crises 1547–1558) The reigns of Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI and Mary I
Unit 2: Spain 1469–1556: From unification to the ‘Golden Age’

Second year
Unit 3: The Renaissance c.1400–c.1600: The birth of the modern world
Unit 4: Coursework: A 4000 word essay based on one of the topics studied in units 1-3.

Option Two:
Conflict, Crisis and Consensus
First year
Unit 1: Britain 1930–1997 (Enquiry topic: Churchill 1930–1951): From consensus to conflict
Unit 2: The Crusades and the Crusader States 1095–1192: Christendom and Islam in conflict

Second year
Unit 3: Russia and its Rulers 1855-1964: Russia in an age of Reform, Repression and Revolution
Unit 4: Coursework: A 4000 word essay based on one of the topics studied in units 1-3.

Is History suitable for me?

Students have praised the quality of teaching in History as well as the friendly atmosphere which exists in classes. They like the variety of themes covered as they are able to choose courses which fit with their interests. Most students agree that document work is the most challenging aspect of the course during the first year.

How will I learn?

A variety of approaches will be adopted. You may view artefacts from textbooks or magazines and take notes from a lecturer. You may be exploring documents from the time and using the College's IT resources. There will be regular homework - a student can expect to do 4 to 5 hours of private study each week for A Levels (largely based on essays and document exercises).

How will I be assessed?

Unit 1: British period study and enquiry 25% of total mark (1 hour 30 minutes paper)

Unit 2: Non-British period study 15% of total mark (1 hour paper)

Unit 3: Thematic study and historical interpretations 40% of total mark (2 hour 30 minutes paper)

Unit 4: Topic based essay/coursework 20% of total mark (3000-4000 word essay)


History is widely respected as a subject which develops your critical skills. You might wish to carry the subject further to degree level but it is also seen as an important stepping stone in to careers in areas such as law, management, journalism and administration.

Entry requirements

Students should normally have achieved an A*- C grade profile at GCSE. For GCSE English and Maths where a new grading system has been introduced, a Grade 4 is equivalent to a Grade C. We would normally expect you to have studied GCSE History. You must genuinely enjoy reading widely to achieve in this subject.

Course costs

All students will be expected to provide their own textbook, stationery, computer discs or memory sticks and calculators (where appropriate). Any further costs are outlined below:

Essential: £25 for textbooks
Optional: £20 magazine subscriptions

If the costs of equipment, materials and trips may cause you financial hardship, you may wish to read through details of our financial support scheme on our website.

Course Code

OCR History A (H505)



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