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History at The Bishop's Stortford High School

Course description

Examination Board: OCR B.

'If you would understand anything, observe its beginning and its development.'


Over the two-year course students study four modules, which not only focus on different topics but also develop different historical skills. History is quite simply a way of thinking about the world - a subject which combines academic rigour and hard work with genuine fun and intrigue! It offers the opportunity to study fascinating characters and events from the past allowing students to immerse themselves in periods and places that are both completely different and yet fundamentally similar to today.

In Year 12, students analyse the contrasting paths to modernity of Britain and Russia. We delve into the concept of revolution - comparing the fervour in St Petersburg in the early C20th with the relative absence of radicalism and the moderate evolutionary changes in C19th London.

What makes a good historian?

The successful History student will combine a thirst for knowledge with an inquisitive and questioning mind. They will be excited by unravelling the mysteries of the past. They should be willing to read around the subject and must enjoy challenging ideas and developing their own arguments. Ideally they should enjoy the process of writing essays -embracing them as opportunities to develop an analytical response to a complex issue - making links and seeing trends in past societies. Above all a good historian is someone who wants to ask 'why?'

What can I expect to learn in History?

As well as an insight into the past, and therefore a greater understanding of the present, History aims to provide students with analytical skills which can be applied in many varied contexts. A good historian will learn to understand, appreciate and evaluate different perspectives and interpretations. They will also learn to think independently, develop their own arguments and justify their opinions with both evidence and reason.

History is easily combinable with a number of subjects at TBSHS and beyond including Government and Politics, English Literature, Philosophy, Geography and Psychology. However a large number of students also combine History with Mathematics and Sciences as the use of evidence, logical thinking and academic approach are very similar.

Course content

AS History

Unit F982 - Historical Explanation - Russia in Turmoil 1900-1921 (25%).

Unit F983 - Historical Evidence - Radicalism and Control 1780s-1880s (25%).

A2 History

Unit F985 - Historical Controversies - British Imperialism 1850-1950 (30%).

Unit F987 - Historical Enquiry - A Personal Study (20%).

Entry requirements

B grade or above in GCSE History.


Examinations: 80% (Two exams in the summer of Y12, one in the summer of Y13).

Coursework: A Personal Study in Y13 makes up 20% of overall A-level grade.

Future opportunities

Careers whichf ollow from a degree in History are hugely varied, including Law, Journalism, Business Management (10% of the directors of FTSE 100 companies have History degrees), Education, Research, Public Relations, Politics, The Civil Service, The Diplomatic Services and Consultancy. However, as a highly valued academic discipline, a strong History degree opens many surprising doors in unexpected areas.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact The Bishop's Stortford High School directly.

Last updated date: 26 May 2015
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