GCSE History

Why is History important?

Studying history is important because it allows us to understand our past, which in turn allows us to understand our present. It can provide us with insight into our cultures of origin as well as cultures with which we might be less familiar, thereby increasing cross-cultural awareness and understanding.

What is involved in the History course?

The course is made up of three examination units.

Thematic study and historic environment: In this unit, you will study crime and punishment over the last 1,000 years, including investigating ‘historical environment’, where you will cover the case of Jack the Ripper.

Period study and British depth study: This topic will cover 50 years of British history, and you will focus on early Elizabethan England, 1558-88. You will also investigate the Cold War, 1941-91.

Modern depth study: You will study a period of history from the USA, looking specifically at the period from 1954–75, focusing on American conflicts both at home and abroad.

How will you be assessed?

The GCSE History course has 3 separate exam papers. Paper 2 has two separate sections on Elizabethan England and Superpower relations. All papers involve essay writing. There are several smaller questions based on the use of sources.

What can you do with History in the future?

History gives you the opportunity to enter further academic study into further education and beyond. Subjects including A Levels in History, English Literature, Art, Drama, Sociology, Law and Politics often benefit from having studied History for GCSE. People who have studied history are highly regarded and sought after by employers in a great many sectors. Examples include journalism, law, teaching, research and media sectors.

What do you need to do to prepare for the course?

In preparation for the course, you should complete some research on the topics that would be taught. The first module taught in year 10 will cover Early Elizabethan England 1558 – 1588. Some research into this topic would be beneficial.

How do I find out more?

You can visit the Edexcel GCSE History specification, which can be found here:

Need to know

Success at GCSE will need a great attitude towards revision for the final exams. Many of the skills that you will learn and develop will involve fact recall. History is a fantastically interesting subject.

Student/Staff/Famous Person quote about the subject

The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.
–Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

What do you think he meant by this quote?