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History A-Level

The AS and A-Level History A course has been designed to help students understand the significance of historical events, the role of individuals in history and the nature of change over time so that students will develop a deeper understanding of the past through political, social, economic and cultural perspectives.  We believe that the topics we have selected will not only cultivate an interest in history, but it will also equip students with the knowledge and skills required to succeed as historians.  Our aim is to create independent learners, critical thinkers and decision-makers – all personal assets that can make them stand out as they progress to higher education and/or the workplace.

OCR AS and A-Level History students will study two topics that have a chronological range of at least 200 years and contain a British study and an enquiry topic in addition to a non-British study.  The British study we have chosen to study is ‘Unit Y143: Britain c.1930–1997’ and the enquiry topic is ‘Churchill 1930–1951’.  The non-British study is ‘Unit Y243: The French Revolution and the rule of Napoleon 1774–1815’.


The OCR AS and A-Level History course is a two-year qualification that is assessed through written examinations and a historical investigation. AS History not only provides a strong stand-alone qualification, it is also fully co-teachable with the A-Level.  Consequently, the content for the AS and the first year of the A-Level is identical and similarly the skills required for AS questions are closely linked to those in A-Level questions.  The overall qualification awarded is solely based on the marks attained during the A-Level (second year) course although the content in this unit is based on what has been studied over the course of both the AS and A-Level units.

  • British Period Study and Enquiry Topic – 1 hour 30 minutes examination in two sections: For section A, learners will always have to analyse and evaluate three sources which set the sources in their historical context and answer two compulsory source-based questions, worth a total of 30 marks. The sources selected for examination will be a range of types of written sources, contemporary to the period. For section B, learners will answer one question from the ‘Period Study’ element which will require them to recall, select and deploy appropriate knowledge and communicate this clearly and effectively. Learners will be expected to demonstrate abilities to explain, assess, analyse and consider the relationships between key features of the period studied in order to reach substantiated judgements.  This is worth 20 marks.
  • Non-British Study – 1 hour 30 minutes examination in two sections: For section A, learners will be required to answer one traditional ‘Period Study’ essay from a choice of two, worth a total of 30 marks. For section B, learners will answer one question which will require them to assess the strengths and limitations of a historian’s interpretation related to the key issues that have been specified as AS Interpretations topics.  The interpretations set will be quotations (usually 1 to 2 sentences in length) from historians, and will be fully attributed with the publication title and date. Knowledge of the historical context and the wider historical debate should be used to analyse the interpretation and to evaluate its strengths and weaknesses. This is worth 20 marks.

Who Can I Contact for Help?

The course is taught through the use of exposition, discussion and group work that will lead to written exercises and source analysis. There is a wide range stimulating material relevant to these topics such as key texts, books, biographies, first-hand accounts, visual material and websites for students to access independently although homework will be set regularly and is an integral part of the course.

Students will be expected to participate in a mature manner and to take responsibility for their own learning with the support of their subject teachers.  Students will complete all work set by staff within the required time and priority should be given to school work and Independent Learning. Where lessons are unavoidably missed, it is the responsibility of the student to ensure that their subject teachers are notified and that all work is caught-up as soon as possible.  Resources such as work booklets, pens and file paper should be brought to all lessons and students should strive to make the most of their lessons by being involved at all times and contributing to class discussions.

In return, students can expect that their subject teachers will provide clear feedback on assessed work within a week so that it can be acted upon to guarantee continual progress. In addition to this, subject teachers will deliver innovative lessons and produce appropriate resources so that students are successful although a premium will be placed on students to complete Independent Learning.

If there are specific issues for students, subject teachers will endeavour to help in-person or through email correspondence: and  Students should not hesitate to make contact at the earliest opportunity to rectify any problems.