History B A Level at Sir John Hunt Community Sports College
The Two-Unit AS
The Advanced Subsidiary GCE is both a ‘stand-alone’ qualification and also the first half of the
corresponding Advanced GCE. The AS GCE is assessed at a standard appropriate for candidates
who have completed the first year of study (both in terms of teaching time and content) of the
corresponding two-year Advanced GCE course, ie between GCSE and Advanced GCE.
From September 2013 the AS GCE is made up of two units that are externally assessed and form
50% of the corresponding four-unit Advanced GCE.
There are four units at AS, of which candidates do two: either Unit F981: Historical Explanations-
British History with Unit F984: Using Historical Evidence – Non-British History; or Unit F982:
Historical Explanations – Non-British History with Unit F983: Using Historical Evidence – British
Units F981 and F982 are concerned with the theory and practice of historical explanation – of
ideas, actions and events – located within topics spanning 20–40 years.
Units F983 and F984 are concerned with the theory and critical use of historical evidence and the
construction, revision and validity of interpretations, using examples located within period studies
of about 100 years. The focus will be on testing interpretations, using in-context, evidence-based
Each unit contains four options. Each set of options contains one Medieval, one Early Modern and
two Modern (one predominantly 19th century and one 20th century) topics.
The two AS units studied by candidates complement each other and provide a coherent and
worthwhile course of study in themselves. Candidates are required to study both British and non-
British history thus ensuring breadth. Depth is provided by different approaches to explanation in
Units F981 and F982, while change and development are studied in Units F983 and Units F984.
Together, the two units studied by candidates also require them to learn about a range of
appropriate historical perspectives, for example cultural, economic, ethnic, political, religious and
The AS course also requires candidates to demonstrate their ability to explain ideas, actions and
events in the past; to analyse and evaluate a range of historical source material; and to analyse
and evaluate how aspects of the past have been interpreted and represented in different ways.
From September 2013 the Advanced GCE is made up of two mandatory units at AS and two
further units at A2. The A2 Units F985 and F986 are externally assessed; and Unit F987
(coursework) is internally assessed and externally moderated.
There are three units at A2, of which candidates do two: either Unit F985 Historical Controversies
– British History or unit F986 Historical Controversies – Non-British History and Unit F987
Units F985 and F986 are concerned with the nature, origins and consequences of historical
controversy. Having tested interpretations in Units F981 or F982, candidates will learn in Units
F983 or F984 that historians will always disagree to some extent and that this does not necessarily
amount to a problem. Candidates will therefore be concerned with an appreciation and explanation
of, rather than adjudication between, the competing views of historians.
Units F985 and F986 each contain four options. Each set of options contains one Medieval, one
Early Modern, one Mid-Modern and one 20th century topic. Candidates choose one option from
the four offered.
Unit F987, the Personal Study, is concerned with the theory and assessment of historical
significance. Candidates will be required to propose and produce a personal study of 3,000 words
and a research diary of 1,000 words. Each study must be concerned with the significance of
events, people or sites – either over time or across time, or both.
It is intended that, in the personal study, candidates demonstrate their understanding of
explanation, historiography, and the critical use of the evidence they have gathered over the three
previous units. The assessment of both A2 units is thus synoptic and designed to stretch and
challenge candidates, to enable them to show an understanding of the topics and to demonstrate
the skills and knowledge essential to the subject.
A number of strategies can be adopted when choosing a route through the specification to
construct a coherent and worthwhile course of study.
• A chronological approach, providing candidates with wide coverage of different periods as well
as the histories of different countries – eg Charlemagne; Lancastrians and Yorkists; the debate
over Britain's 17th century crises; and a Personal Study of the significance of a 20th century
individual or event from outside Britain.
• A focused approach, providing candidates with the opportunity to study different aspects of a
period – eg the 16th and 17th centuries via Protest and Rebellion in Tudor England; Luther
and the German Reformation; the debate over Britain's 17th century crises; and a Personal
Study of the significance of a 17th century individual or event from outside Britain.© OCR 2013
GCE History B v3
• A concentrated approach, providing candidates with considerable geographical contrasts – eg
Russia in turmoil; the impact of war on British society and politics in the 20th century; different
American Wests; and a Personal Study of the significance of an individual or event taken from
Africa or the Far East.
• An approach focusing on different types of protest and rebellion can be taken – eg
Robespierre and the French Revolution; Radicalism, Popular Politics and Control; the debate
over Britain's 17th century crises; and a Personal Study of the significance of a revolutionary
individual or event taken from an earlier period.
• An approach focusing on issues of diversity of societies – eg poverty in Elizabethan England;
race and American society; the debate over the Norman Conquest; and a Personal Study of
the significance of an individual or event in a society/or societies where issues of diversity
were of crucial importance, such as in the Middle East.
How to apply
If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Sir John Hunt Community Sports College directly.