What and how will I study?
The course (which follows the AQA specification) consists of three topics, two examined and one coursework:
- The Tudors: England 1485-1603 (exam)
- America: a nation divided c1845-1877 (exam)
- Russian rulers, 1856-1964 (coursework)
Each week, we study the two exam topics, and you will start the coursework towards the end of the first year.
You will be given notes for each topic and will read them in advance of the lesson. This way of working is really important: when you come to the lesson, you will already know quite a bit about the topic and we can use lesson time to have discussions and debates rather than spending time on basic information.
What makes a good History student?
First of all, you will enjoy studying the past!
Good History students like reading about, discussing and debating the past. You will not always expect clear answers, and you understand that there are many interpretations of events that happened long ago.
You are prepared to use resources to extend your knowledge beyond the notes and lessons: online lectures, articles from good history web sites, books from the classroom. You are curious, open-minded and willing to challenge your own ideas.
It doesn't matter whether or not you have studied anything about the topics above: some in the class will have studied, say, Elizabeth or the American West, but others won't have. It doesn't matter. The A-level will take everyone into new territory!
How can I prepare for A-level History?
Below are some tasks that will introduce you to the exam topics and some resources.
You can find a wealth of resources online, especially for the Civil War topic - American universities and organisations are very generous (and well-funded!).The Digital History site and the Ken Burns documentary series (below) are excellent for exploring the America topic.
For the Tudors, why not try History Extra (linked to the BBC History magazine) for short articles and podcasts?
Just dive in and find something that interests you - and see where it takes you. If you keep a note of what you read and what you find out (a History diary?), please show it to me when you come in September: I'd love to see what you have discovered!