Skip to content ↓

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 topics that have a chronological range of at least 200 years and contain a British study, an enquiry topic, a thematic study and also 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’.  Students will study a thematic study over a period of at least 100 years, and three in-depth studies of events, individuals or issues that are key parts of the theme as part of ‘Unit Y306: Rebellion and Disorder under the Tudors 1485–1603’.  The NEA will be undertaken on a topic of the student’s choosing.


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.

Britain c.1930–1997 (Enquiry Topic: Churchill 1930–1951)

Enquiry Topics: Churchill’s view of events 1929–1940; Churchill as wartime Prime Minister and Churchill and international diplomacy 1939–1951.

British Period Study Topics: Conservative domination 1951–1964; Labour and Conservative government’s 1964–1979; Thatcher and the end of consensus 1979–1997 and Britain’s position in the world 1951–1997.

50 marks (25% of total A-Level) - 1 hour 30 minute paper.

The French Revolution and the Rule of Napoleon 1774–1815

Key Topics: The causes of the French Revolution from 1774 and the events of 1789; the Revolution from October 1789 to the Directory 1795; Napoleon Bonaparte to 1807 and the decline and fall of Napoleon 1807–1815.

30 marks (15% of total A-Level) - 1 hour minute paper.

Rebellion and Disorder under the Tudors 1485–1603

Key Topics: The main causes of rebellion and disorder; the frequency and nature of disturbances; the impact of the disturbances upon Tudor governments and the maintenance of political stability.

Depth Studies: Pilgrimage of Grace; The Western Rebellion and Tyrone’s Rebellion.

80 marks (40% of total A-Level) - 2 hour 30 minute paper

Topic-Based Essay (Non-Examined Assessment)

Students will complete a 3000–4000 word essay on a topic of their choice. This is an internally assessed unit group which focuses on AO1, AO2 and AO3 through one piece of written work. Half of the marks will be awarded for AO1, and thus the essay should be driven by use of knowledge and understanding to reach substantiated judgements. A range of primary (AO2) and secondary (AO3) sources should be evident, critically analysed and used to support analysis.

40 marks (20% of total A-Level) - 3000–4000 word essay.

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:, or  Students should not hesitate to make contact at the earliest opportunity to rectify any problems.