Why study A level history?
Understanding the linkages between past and present is absolutely basic for a good understanding of the condition of being human. History studies the past and the legacies of the past in the present. Far from being a ‘dead’ subject, it connects things through time and encourages its students to take a long view of such connections. Studying history also provides a student with skills which are not confined to the study of the past. Skills of analysis are invaluable in many jobs, and the ability to analyse and then prioritise information is vital to decision making. This not only provides a skills set for a student but it also keeps career options open.

What are the careers or further education that this course be suitable for?
A qualification in history is acknowledged as an academically rigorous qualification and is useful for a whole range of professions which require rational analytical thinking, the ability to argue and to make a case. The ability to comprehend, interpret and evaluate lots of information to reach practical solution and decisions is also developed. Many history students go on to pursue careers in law, journalism and management as well as more specific historical careers such as archaeology, teaching, conservation and heritage work.

There are a vast range of History courses that can be followed in Higher Education. History can often be studied in combination with other Humanities subjects, Social Science and Languages. See the university subject tables on the link below.


Key Information Summary:

Course TitleHistory
Examination BoardAQA
Linear Qualification?Yes
Course Webpagehttp://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/history/as-and-a-level/history-7041-7042
Entry RequirementsGrade 5 in English language or literature. Grade 5 in history if they have studied it at GCSE.
Contact TeachersMr A Gaskarth     agaskarth@wilmslowhigh.cheshire.sch.uk

Course Details:
AQA History is a linear course with terminal examinations either at the end of either the AS or A-level year

Subject Content:

History is taught in two separate courses: You can opt for either a ‘Modern’ or ‘Early Modern’ course (see below)

Early Modern Course

Breadth study -The Tudors 1485 – 1603

This period of English history was a frightening and exciting period of unprecedented change for those who experienced it first-hand. Full of religious upheaval, the politics of the period abound with personal rivalries, ruthless factional backstabbing and treacherous rebellion. Beginning with the dour Henry VII and covering the ruthless and image-conscious Henry VIII, the sickly Edward VI, the zealous Mary I and culminating with Elizabeth I ( arguably one of our greatest ever monarchs) students will consider new research and interpretations. Key Questions include: How effectively did the Tudors restore and develop the powers of the monarchy? To what extent and why was power more widely shared during this period? Why and with what results were there so many changes to the Church and religious practice? How serious a threat was posed to Tudor monarchs by opposition and rebellion?

Depth study – France in Revolution 1774-1815:

The French Revolution was one of the most momentous events in European history. In Year 12 the course looks at the causes and events of the French Revolution.   What finally drove the French people to rise up and eventually execute King Louis XVI and his Queen Marie Antoinette?  We will also analyse how the revolution descended into terror and bloodshed. In Year 13 the focus is the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte from nowhere to become Emperor of France and then ruler of much of Europe. How this was possible and how successful was Napoleon as a ruler and military leader?  The final section will look at reasons for Napoleons fall and final defeat at the Battle of Waterloo.’

Modern Course

Breadth study – Tsarist and Communist Russia 1855 – 1964

From the riches of the Romanovs  through the bloodthirsty Bolsheviks ending in Cold War calamity this course covers some of the most turbulent and fascinating times in Russian history. Beginning with the decline and fall of the Tsars the course also covers the Russian Revolution, Civil War and the repressive rule of Josef Stalin moving onto Russia’s emergence as a superpower after World war Two and the role of Khrushchev in the Cold War. Key questions include: Why were there two revolutions in Russia? Was the USSR really a Communist state? How did the Soviet Union become a superpower? What was the legacy of Stalin?

Depth study – Wars and Welfare: Britain in transition 1906-1957

Covering a period of rapid and significant change this course examines British politics, society and the economy. Students will gain an understanding of the impact of the First World War on Britain, the pressure to provide votes for women and the development of political extremism in Britain and Europe. The course also covers Britain during World War Two, the ‘shock’ election defeat of Churchill and the birth of the Welfare State. Finally, the course will examine the idea that Britain had ‘never had it so good’ and will look at the 1950s in relation to:  political consensus and divisions; economic policies and the rise of affluence;  society and culture; Britain’s role in a Cold War, nuclear age.

Personal Studies (NEA): Students must write a personal study of 3000-3500 words. This will be researched and written in the summer term of Year 12 & autumn term of Year 13 and will constitute 20% of the A level mark

Assessment details:

A Level – 2 Year Course
Paper 1 (40 % of A-level)
written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes
three questions (one compulsory)
80 marksPaper 2 (40 % of A-level)
written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes
three questions (one compulsory)
80 marksPersonal Study ( NEA ) (20% of A level)
3,000–3,500 words • 40 marks • 20% of A-level • marked by teachers • moderated by AQA