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History A Level at West Somerset College

Course description

This course is suitable for anyone who is enthusiastic about and interested in History.

The course aims to challenge students, to build upon their enjoyment and enthusiasm and, most of all, expand their understanding and appreciation about the importance of events, issues and individuals in shaping Britain and the world of today, especially the way countries and societies have changed through time. As well as extending historical knowledge, the course aims to develop the skills of thinking, analysing, evaluating and debate. It is a course which considers the methods used by historians to interpret and understand the past, as well as an examination of the ways in which the past has been interpreted and represented. It is therefore an excellent preparation for a very wide range of courses and careers beyond the obvious.

Why study this course?

History A Level not only helps you to develop historical skills, but also other important skills that are useful in both academic and vocational work. It helps you to build up skills in research, independent study, extended writing, the use of evidence, as well as, debating and developing an argument. The skills of assimilating and analysing information and formulating and communicating arguments are considered highly desirable by employers.

History also complements a wide range of other subjects, for example: the literacy and communication skills developed fit in well with English, Sociology and Psychology courses, whilst the analytical skills complement Maths and the Sciences very well. Linguists and Geographers will also notice links and corresponding skills, particularly in developing a broader international outlook.

Course content

In your first year of study you will study two topics – Russia, 1917-91: From Lenin to Yeltsin and Mao’s China, 1945-76 – both of which are exam based. In the second year you will study your third exam based topic, ’The British Experience of Warfare 1790-1918’, and complete a piece of coursework centered around the origins of the First World War, with a particular focus on the culpability of Germany in causing the war.

Entry requirements

In addition to the general entry requirements for A Level, which is five subjects at grade C/5 or above including English and Maths, it is desirable to have a B or above in HISTORY or a comparable subject (such as English or Geography).

Students who have a keen interest in the past and are eager to discuss and debate challenging historical issues will love A-Level History. You will need to be well-motivated, capable of working independently and have sound literacy skills.


All assessment takes place at the end of this two year course (summer of Year 13). The

A Level History course is assessed by sitting three externally examined written papers and an internally assessed piece of coursework. All examinations are assessed in the summer of Year 13, whilst the coursework will be internally assessed by Easter of that year.

Future opportunities

As well as professions directly associated with the subject itself, for example, teaching, archiving and archaeology, History A Level is considered highly beneficial in many fields including accountancy, law, journalism, politics, market research, advertising and diplomacy and just about any other career that you can think of! History A Level is extremely well-regarded by universities and will be looked upon favourably by admissions tutors in Britain and across the globe. Students in recent years have progressed into: Law, Politics, Psychology, Banking, Business and even Medicine.

Further information

You will be provided with course text books, given the opportunity to purchase recommended revision guides, as well as, have access to an extensive library, which includes a range of historical articles and historians’ interpretations.

You can expect an engaging and dynamic course delivered by experienced professionals with a track record of excellent A-level results. Your History lessons will include a wide range of learning activities with a strong focus on discussion and debate. You will be very well supported through quality teaching; frequent, meaningful oral and written feedback and individual guidance in the study of this challenging and highly rewarding subject. Indeed, we pride ourselves on a strong, open and honest working relationship between teachers and students. Our students are kept informed of their progress via continuous examination practice.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact West Somerset College directly.

Last updated date: 03 October 2017

Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 2 years