What is History?

History is an analysis of the past through the use of secondary commentaries and sources created at the time being researched. Students build a knowledge of events and communicated this through short and longer written answers and by analysing a range of primary sources to reach a valid and supported conclusion. Students learn to explore pictorial, written and other resources and to assess the validity and utility of these sources for a particular question or enquiry.

What will I study?

Students study a core topic on International Relations since 1919. This focuses on questions related to whether the peace treaties of 1919–23 were fair? The success or failure of the League of Nations. The collapse of international peace by 1939. Who was to blame for the Cold War? How effectively did the USA contain the spread of Communism? How secure was the USSR’s control over Eastern Europe, 1948–c.1989? Why did events in the Gulf matter, c.1970–2000?


In addition, all candidates must also study at least one of the following Depth Studies: Germany, 1918–45 and/or Russia, 1905–41

What will I gain from studying the subject?

Students gain an insight into international relations and gain a strong overview of the issues that threatened world peace from 1918 to 2000. They see how the bipolar world of the Cold War gave way to greater confusion and how and why the Middle East has become an increasing area of insecurity and discontent. Students also have an opportunity to look at extreme ideologies (Communism and Nazism) and to see why these gained support and their impact on the countries where they emerged. Students also learn how to write clear arguments and how to assess the validity of materials studied so that they learn the skills of critical analysis and the assessment of what is true and what is false or biased.

How is it assessed?


Unit Modules Weighting Format
1 Core Content and Depth Study 40% External Exam: 2 hours
2 Core Content: Source analysis 33% External Exam: 2 hours
3 Depth Study 27% External Exam: 1 hour


Exam Board: CIE

What do I need?

Students need an ability to be critically engaged with the past and an ability to understand a range of written and visual sources. A facility with forming and supporting an argument is helpful although this develops as the course progresses.


Is History harder than other subjects?

No. However there is a lot to learn and you will need to be able to write clearly and understand how historians judge whether a source is trustworthy or not.