Peter Symonds College

Study at PSC

History is one of the most popular courses at Peter Symonds. Students study three exam units over the two years on the A Level course as well as writing a 4,000 word piece of coursework.

Our students have a choice of three History routes, all of which will result in an A Level History qualification. They will be taught and examined in the same way and you should make your choice on the basis of which period you think will interest you the most. Although we anticipate the majority of students choosing to follow the same route through the two years it may be possible for Route B students to switch at the end of the first year if they wish.

Course Content

Year One:

  • Unit 1: Breadth Study - The Civil War, Cromwell, Restoration & Revolution: Britain 1625-1701
    In your breadth paper you will learn about Britain under the Stuarts. After the Tudor era Britain underwent a century of change and upheaval with civil war, a period of republic, restoration of the monarchy and revolution. At the same time as this upheaval the Stuart age saw considerable change in the lives of the individuals through developments in trade, culture and religion as the foundations of modern Britain were laid.
  • Unit 2: Depth Study - The French Revolution, 1774-99
    The French Revolution has become the standard by which all modern revolutions are measured. You will study the whole course of the revolution, from its early idealistic beginnings through the descent into anarchy and terror and then finally the rescue or betrayal (depending on your perspective) by Napoleon Bonaparte.

Year Two:

  • Unit 3 - Germany 1871-1990
    During the second year we will explore the role played by revolution, change and continuity in nineteenth and twentieth century Germany, from unification in 1871 under Bismarck through the Nazi period, the division after the war, and up to reunification in 1990.
  • Coursework Option
    The coursework unit is an opportunity for students to engage in real historical debate. You will be required to take three contrasting opinions on a particular historical issue and weigh up the strengths and weaknesses of the arguments using your own research and evidence. Route B (Modern) students will be able to choose to focus on either the Abolition of the Slave Trade or the Cold War.

Methods of Teaching

A variety of methods are used to teach the course, including class discussion and debate, group work, and presentations. This year we also ran a one-day conference on the Stuarts involving a range of academics and authors.

The nature of the course also means that student will engage with evaluating contemporary sources and will be required to research events and analyse different historical interpretations with some degree of independence

Methods & Patterns of Assessment

  • Unit 1: Written examination 2 hours and 15 minutes (30% of total A Level mark)
  • Unit 2: Written examination 1 hour 30 minutes (20% of total A Level mark)
  • Unit 3: Written examination 2 hours and 15 minutes (30% of total A Level mark)
  • Unit 4: Coursework assignment of 4000 words (20% of total A Level mark).

Where Could It Take Me?

History is useful for any career which involves researching and analysing information and expressing arguments based upon evidence. Good examples of this are careers in the Civil Service, banking and accountancy, politics, social and business administration, teaching, journalism and law management.

Financial Implications

Students are required to purchase text books for the units that they study. They will also be given the opportunity to participate in educational visits and trips. We currently run overseas trips to Paris and Berlin as well as one day visits to the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the National Portrait Gallery and Chalke Valley History Festival. The College has a Student Support Fund for anyone who has difficulty meeting these costs.

Entry Requirements

5 GCSEs at grade 4 or above, including Mathematics and English.

It is not a requirement to have studied History at GCSE provided you have an interest in the subject.

Most Recent Results

Below is a summary of the most recent set of results for this subject:

Grade: A* A B C D E U Total
Total: 2 20 31 26 18 3 2 102
Percentage 2.0 19.6 30.4 25.5 17.6 2.9 2.0