History (OCR)

Are you interested in investigating why things happen? Or how people’s views and actions have shaped the past that we are taught? Are you intrigued as to why some people are willing to die for their beliefs?

If you like interpreting, analysing and evaluating evidence as well as analysing people’s ideas and actions, then studying History could be the subject for you.

Course Content & Assessment

Year 1:

The following 2 units of study will be taught in the first year of the A Level (Year 12)

Unit 1 Y106 (25% of total A Level):

The Early Stuarts and the Origins of the Civil War 1603–1660

This option is a British period study and enquiry which comprises the following:
Period study:

  • James I and Parliament
  • James I and religion
  • Charles I 1625-1641
  • Charles I and the victory of parliament 1640-1646

Enquiry Topic:

  • Failure to achieve a settlement 1646-1649
  • Commonwealth and protectorate
  • Restoration of Charles II

Unit 2 Y216 ( 15% of the total A Level):
The USA in the 19th Century: Westward expansion and Civil War 1803–c.1890.

This option is a non-British period study which comprises the following:

  • Westward expansion; causes and impacts
  • Native Americans
  • The growth of sectional tension 1850–1861
  • The Civil War

Year 2:

The following units of study will be taught in the second year of the A Level (Year 13)

Unit 3 Y319 (40% of the total A Level):

Civil Rights in the USA 1865–1992

This option is a thematic study as well as a depth study (historical interpretations)

Thematic study:

  • African Americans, 1865-1992
  • Trade Unions and Labour Rights, 1865-1992
  • Native American Indians, 1865-1992
  • Women, 1865-1992

Depth study:

  • Civil rights in the ‘Gilded Age’ c.1875–c.1895
  • The New Deal and civil rights
  • Malcolm X and Black Power

Unit Y100 (20% of the total A Level):

Non exam assessment: Topic based essay

For this option students will carry out independent research in order to write a 3000-4000 word essay (coursework).

The essay question students select will be from as aspect of their Unit 3 study.

This will be completed in class and at home with a clear deadline for completion and gradual deadlines to ensure that students can complete the task.


Students will be consistently assessed using exam questions. Student’s progress will be tracked and monitored across the two years.

In the second year of the A Level, students will also be assessed regularly on the units of study they completed in Year 12 alongside their Year 13 units, in order to ensure they are prepared for their final examinations (2 examinations).


Independent learning as well as collaborative learning dominate History lessons. You will also be involved in giving presentations, debating with your peers, role-play, making short films and attending events and conferences. You will need to read widely and further develop the literacy and concept skills required to be successful in this subject.

Your Future

Universities value the skills of communication, analysis and evaluation that historians bring to their studies. Historians enter a variety of careers and professions – from law and journalism to business and the public sector. A truly remarkable number have gone on to become the movers-and-shakers of modern-day Britain.

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