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We study history in order to learn about the past but often what is most evident is how powerfully the past and present are connected.

To be a good historian at A Level you will need to be able to explore both sides of an argument and see alternative points of view before developing your own evaluation of the facts and documents of the time. This is a highly interpretative subject and class activities encourage independent thinking, very high level reading skills and a thirst for synthesising information from a range of sources, before attempting to evaluate them and reach conclusions of your own.

Subject content

You will study European and British history, covering a period of 200 years. The main focus will be on the 17th, 19th and 20th centuries. You will study 17th century British History, focusing on the Civil War and the progression towards a constitutional monarchy during the reigns of Charles I, Charles II, James II and William and Mary. During this module you will be given the opportunity to assess and evaluate historical interpretations of this period. You will also study in-depth the history of Russia from 1894 to 1924, focusing on the end of the Tsarist regime, the Russian revolutions of 1917 and the beginning of the world’s first communist country.

In Year 13 you will study the history of Germany from 1871-1990, specifically looking at how the country was divided through wars and then reunited in 1990 following the fall of Communist East Germany.

In addition, you will develop your analytical, evaluative and research skills through the coursework you will undertake, which focuses on the historical controversies of Germany’s responsibility for the outbreak of war in 1914 or to what extent the Holocaust was planned.

This course is an award of EDEXCEL. Visit the EDEXCEL website to read the full course specification.

Specific entry requirements

GCSE Grade 5 or above in History and English Language.


Assessment is 80% examination and 20% coursework.

Progression opportunities

A Level History is a highly valued subject at university and beyond. The development of your skills as a historian may enable progression into careers as diverse as law, journalism, media, marketing, management and teaching. More specialist careers might include museum curator, archaeologist, archivist or researcher.

Meet the A Level expert

Sherridan Cocker

Sherridan has an Honours degree in Combined Humanities from the University of Sheffield, a PGCE from Sheffield Hallam University and has been lecturing at degree level and teaching A Levels since 2003.

Sherridan said: “History is a core subject that fits in really well with other A Levels. It will give you the desirable skills you need for progression onto university or work, including research, extended writing and an understanding of topical and historical issues.”

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