History A-Level

These Edexcel courses offer a fascinating insight into modern History allowing you to gain an in-depth understanding of developments that have shaped the World over the past two centuries. Each of the units offered is distinctive and seeks to address a diverse yet complimentary range of historical issues and skills. If you have an enquiring mind and enjoy intellectual debate, then this is the subject for you!

Entry requirements

The entry requirements for this course are 5 GCSEs at grades 4-9 (or BTEC equivalents) with at least a grade 4 in English and Maths.

Course Content

History A Level is designed to be taken over two years with all examinations taken at the end of the course.


Year 12

Unit 1: Breadth study with interpretations—Russia, 1917–91

  • How and why did Russia become the World’s first ever Communist state?

  • How did Stalin eliminate his opponents?

  • How did Communism change Russia’s industry and agriculture?

  • Why did Communism come to a sudden end in 1989?


Unit 2: Depth study -The German Democratic Republic—1949—1990

  • How was east Germany established and developed?

  • What was life in east Germany like under Communism?

  • Why did Communism collapse between 1985—90.


Year 13

Unit 3: Themes in breadth with aspects in depth The British Experience of Warfare c.1790—1918

  • The Napoleonic Wars, the Crimean War, The Boer War and WWI.

  • How the organisation of the military changed between 1790—1918

  • How war has affected ordinary people between 1790—1918.


Unit 4: Coursework

Students will carry out an independently researched historical enquiry into the Nazi state and the Holocaust. The focus is on students analysing and evaluating three differing interpretations of the development of the ‘final solution’. Students will engage with the works of eminent historians and develop an in depth understanding of one of the most significant and harrowing developments in History.


All three examinations for A-Level History will be taken at the end of Year 13.


  • Paper 1- Breadth study with interpretations ( 30% of A Level) written examination lasting 2 hours and 15 minutes.

  • Paper 2 - Depth Study  (20% of A Level) written examination lasting 1 hour and 30 minutes.

  • Paper 3 - Themes  in breadth with aspects in depth (30% of A Level) Students will answer one source based question, one depth essay and one thematic essay.

  • Coursework – (20% of A Level) You will be required to submit your work during the spring term of Year 13.

Approaches to Teaching & Learning

Learning about History at AS/A-Level allows you to take greater independence in your studies and go into much far more depth. To support you in this we employ a wide range of teaching and learning approaches. These include note-taking, discussion, debates, presentations and participation in group work. The focus is very much on exploring historical controversies, interpretations, debates and producing well structured lines of argument. We combine this with frequent exam practice and our own passion for the subject to equip you with the skills and understanding necessary to succeed.

Future Prospects

History links well with other subjects at Level 3 and provides a pathway into a variety of higher education and degree courses. The study of History is very useful for a number of careers and is a well established subject at our most prestigious universities in the UK.

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Birchwood Community High School
Brock Road, Birchwood
Warrington, Cheshire, WA3 7PT