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GCSE History

Why History at GCSE?

History is a great subject to study regardless of what you want to do at A Level and beyond.  It gives you lots of key skills that are useful in all areas but also helps you to make sense of why we live the way we do.

What do we study?

At present, GCSE history students study OCR Modern World History. This course, looking at events after 1890, gives students the chance to study a wide breadth of places but also a variety of types of history.

In Year 10, students start with political and military history by looking at the Cold War, 1945-75. This unit examines how relations between the USA and USSR deteriorated and then two of the most significant events of this period: the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War. Students then study social history as they look at Britain 1890-1918. This unit is focused on source skills and looks at the achievements of the Liberal Government, the fight for female suffrage and British life during the First World War. The year finishes with America 1919-41- a study on which the controlled assessment is based.

In Year 11, after completing the controlled assessment work started in Year 10, students complete a in-depth study of Germany 1918-45. This is a comprehensive study that includes many different types of historical enquiry. Students are able to discuss questions such as ‘Why did the Weimar Republic fail?’ and ‘How far did the Nazis improve ordinary people’s lives?’ Students will then have the opportunity for extensive revision to ensure they are well prepared for the GCSE examinations.

Pupils are expected to:
1. Demonstrate detailed  knowledge and understanding of the past
2. Provide well-explained arguments on issues such as causation, change/continuity and significance
3. Make effective use of contemporary source evidence to reach conclusions and develop explanations
4. Analyse, evaluate and make substantiated judgements about interpretations, including how and why interpretations may differ
5. Write in standard English and make use of appropriate specialist vocabulary.

The exams are divided as follows:
Paper 1 (45% of final mark): Germany 1918-45 and the Cold War 1945-75
Paper 2 (30% of final mark): Britain 1890-1918
Controlled Assessment (25% of final mark): America 1919-41

Please click on the links below for the current GCSE specification and also schemes of work

GCSE Specification





Please click on the links below for past papers




Mark schemes

Question papers