GCSE:History Overview

HISTORY (OCR Specification 1937)

The theme of GCSE History is Modern World History – a look at the countries, ideas, individuals and events which have shaped the twentieth century and helped create the world in which we live.

Why study History?
History is about people — real people whose lives were sometimes exciting, like being a ‘flapper’ in the 1920s, and sometimes frightening, like sharing a muddy war-torn trench with rats, and feeling sick with fear waiting for the enemy to attack. Whatever their lives were about, there is a fascinating, and sometimes tragic, story behind them. As well as being exciting, this course will help you develop skills which will be useful in a wide range of jobs or in the further study of History.

You will study:
• International Relations, 1919-1989 (the core)
Topics include:
The Peace Settlements at the End of the First World War
Keeping the world at peace in the 1920s and 1930s
Aggression and the move to war in the 1930s
Conflict between the USA and the USSR after 1945: the Cold War
The Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War
The rise and fall of Communism in Eastern Europe
• How British society changed, 1906-1918:
Liberal Reforms; Votes for Women; Life during the First World War
• A Study in Depth : Germany 1919-1945
• USA 1919 – 1945 (for coursework)
The International Relations and Germany topics are studied during Yr10r.
The British Society and USA topics are studied in Yr 11.

You will learn the following skills:
• How to interpret and evaluate pieces of information (sources);
• How to communicate and apply your knowledge;
• How to describe and analyse the key features of the period studied;
• Critical thinking and problem solving.
You will have the opportunity to study photographs, films, videos, CD ROMs, newspapers and original written sources. There is an attractive new text written specially for this course.

There are three aspects to your assessment: a) coursework and b) and c) two written exams .

(a) Coursework
You will write two assignments of about 1250 words each on the USA 1919-1945. Assignment 1 focuses on Roosevelt and the New Deal of the 1930s; it consists of three short essay-style questions which require explanation and analysis. Assignment 2 focuses on an investigation of Prohibition (the ban on alcohol in 1920s America) based on a number of sources. The coursework will be completed during the Spring Term of Yr 11.

(b) Paper 1 (2 hours)
The paper is divided into three sections:
Section A: You will answer one question from a choice of two on the core; these questions are usually based round a historical cartoon and consist of three short sections.
Section B: You will answer one question from a choice of four on the core; each question consists of three related sections, and tests factual knowledge, understanding and the ability to produce a balanced argument.
Section C: You will answer one compulsory source-based question, plus one structured question from a choice of two on Germany 1919-1945.

(c) Paper 2 (1 hour 30 minutes)
This paper has 5-7 compulsory questions set on a range of sources and is a detailed investigation of an historical issue taken from Britain 1906-1918. The paper tests your ability to use and criticize primary and secondary source material, employing your detailed knowledge of the topic and the techniques of source-evaluation. History is about real people doing real things. It is a challenging, interesting and demanding study. It can be hard work – there is plenty of reading, writing and learning involved – but the rewards are considerable for anyone prepared to make the effort.

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