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Examination board: AQA
History A level first examination in June 2017

History is a particularly important subject because it provides students with a sense of the past and an insight into the political, social, and economic circumstances that confront us in today’s world. Students’ study of the social, political, and religious aspects of seventeenth century British history in Module 1, for example, may help them understand the reasons for the ‘Union Flag’ disturbances in Belfast in January 2013 and the context of the Scottish Referendum of September 2014.

Teaching takes the form of wide-ranging discussion, consideration of primary and secondary sources, and the use of visual media. There are regular educational trips: students attend conferences and visit relevant exhibitions. Consideration of evidence provided by the art and literature of the period constitutes an important part of students’ historical studies. By the end of the two-year course students will be capable of engaging with and navigating through a wide range of historical evidence, but also of interpreting these sources independently and constructing their own arguments convincingly.


What will I learn?

A Level History requires the study of three modules:

Lower Sixth

Module 1: Breadth Paper (Stuart Britain 1603 to 1702)
Module 2: Depth Paper (Germany 1918 to 1945)

Upper Sixth

Module 2 (continued)
Module 3: Personal Study (coursework essay)


In the Lower Sixth students study the exam topic: The Stuart Monarchy & the Crisis of State. The module covers British history between 1603 and 1702, including issues surrounding the monarchy and the Civil War. In the exam candidates answer three questions on this topic, worth 40% of the total marks awarded at A level.


In the Lower and Upper Sixth students study the exam topic: Democracy & Nazism. The module covers the history of Germany between 1919 and 1945 focusing on the struggle to establish a legitimate political system in Germany after the collapse of the German Empire in 1918. In the exam candidates answer three questions on this topic, worth 40% of the total marks.


In the Upper Sixth students undertake a 3500-word coursework essay which carries 20% of the total A level marks. This is an historical investigation based on a selection of primary and secondary sources. Students make their own choice of subject for investigation. The essay focuses on the relative significance of an individual or event, within the context of a period of 100 years.  Previously, students have submitted essays on a wide range of topics including aspects of the Irish Question, Roman Britain, and Civil Rights in the USA.

Department successes

History is a subject that is highly regarded by employers and universities. It builds skills of analysis and essay writing that are valuable for almost any subject at degree level. It provides an excellent grounding for those interested in future careers in areas such as journalism, law, politics, and academic research.

Some past History students have been offered places at universities such as Birmingham, Bristol, Oxford Brookes, Sussex, and Brown University, New York, to follow degree courses in History, Sociology, Humanities, and Law.

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