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Why History?     

History allows pupils to analyse complicated issues from a variety of political, economic, social cultural and religious viewpoints. It allows students to develop balanced arguments and present logical conclusions.

History develops comprehension of information and allows you to present your ideas and conclusions both orally and in writing thus improving your communication skills.

History is vital in helping you understand the world you live in and opens the way to a variety of careers.

Employers like History students because they can offer a wide range of important skills such as being skilled in researching information, providing balanced interpretations and understanding different points of view. History students can analyse problems and quickly offer several solutions to a problem. They learn from past experiences and can take a broad view of an issue.  They are able to argue a case well both orally and in writing.

Summary of content

The WJEC AS and A level in History is both distinctive and attractive, giving learners the opportunity to:

  • study the history of more than one country or state including both British and at least one outside the British Isles
  • study specific aspects of the past in breadth and in depth
  • study change and/or development over a period of time both long term (at least 100 years) and short term
  • study the nature and purpose of history as a discipline and how historians work


AS - Unit 1 - Period Study

Written examination: 1 hour 30 minutes

20% of qualification

Learners study one period of around 100 years. The focus of study in this unit is on developments and changes over a broader timescale and learners study a range of significant topics each spanning a substantial duration. This unit encourages learners to appreciate a range of historical perspectives including political, social, economic, religious or cultural, where appropriate.

Learners will be required to study one of the following period studies:

  1. Government, rebellion and society in Wales and England c.1485-1603
  2. Government, revolution and society in Wales and England c.1603-1715
  3. Politics, protest and reform in Wales and England c.1780-1880
  4. Politics, people and progress in Wales and England c.1880-1980
  5. Political and religious change in Europe c.1500-1598
  6. Europe in the age of absolutism and revolution c.1682-1815
  7. Revolution and new ideas in Europe c.1780-1881
  8. Europe in an age of conflict and co-operation c.1890-1991

AS - Unit 2 - Depth Study Part 1

Written examination: 1 hour 45 minutes

20% of qualification

Unit 2 comprises the first half of a complete depth study which is continued in Unit 4. In Unit 2 learners study the earlier part of one depth study, focusing on the complexity of issues affecting society. The depth study requires candidates to study a shorter aspect of history in much greater depth. This unit encourages learners to use a wide range of different types of historical evidence. These should include appropriate source material, primary and/or contemporary to the period, and historical interpretations.

History in depth

  1. The mid Tudor crisis in Wales and England c.1529-1570
    Unit 2 (AS): Part 1: Problems, threats and challenges c.1529-1553
    Unit 4 (A2): Part 2: Challenges facing Mary and Elizabeth c.1553-1570
  2. Royalty, rebellion and republic c.1625-1660
    Unit 2 (AS): Part 1: The pressure on the monarchy and the drift to the civil war c.1625-1642
    Unit 4 (A2): Part 2: Civil war, commonwealth and protectorate c.1642-1660
  3. Reform and protest in Wales and England c.1783-1848
    Unit 2 (AS): Part 1: Radicalism and the fight for parliamentary reform c.1783-1832
    Unit 4 (A2): Part 2: Protest and campaigns for social reform c.1832-1848
  4. Politics and society in Wales and England c.1900-1939
    Unit 2 (AS): Part 1: Politics, society and the war: Wales and England c.1900 -1918
    Unit 4 (A2): Part 2: Economic and social challenges in Wales and England c.1918 -1939
  5. Religious reformation in Europe c.1500-1567
    Unit 2 (AS): Part 1: The outbreak and spread of the reformation in Germany c.1500- 1531
    Unit 4 (A2): Part 2: The spread of protestantism and counter reformation c.1531-1564
  6. France in revolution c.1774-1815
    Unit 2 (AS): Part 1: France: the causes and course of revolution c.1774-1792
    Unit 4 (A2): Part 2: France: republic and napoleon c.1792- 1815
  7. The crisis of the american republic c.1840-1877
    Unit 2 (AS): Part 1: Sectional differences and the road to civil war c.1840-1861
    Unit 4 (A2): Part 2: Civil war and reconstruction c.1861-1877
  8. Germany: Democracy to dictatorship c.1918-1945
    Unit 2 (AS): Part 1: Weimar and its challenges c.1918-1933
    Unit 4 (A2): Part 2: Nazi Germany c.1933-1945

A2 - Unit 3 - Breadth Study

Written examination: 1 hour 45 minutes

20% of qualification

Learners will be required to study a range of two nominated themes each of which will cover around 100 years of historical change and development.

Learners will be required to consider the diverse nature of society at this time and the origins, nature and impact of political, social, economic, cultural and religious developments, if appropriate.

Learners will be required to study one of the following breadth studies:

  1. Wales: resistance, conquest and rebellion c.1240 -1415
  2. Poverty, protest and rebellion in Wales and England c.1485-1603
  3. Reformation and discovery: Europe c.1492-1610
  5. Royalty, revolution and restoration in Wales and England c.1603- 1715
  6. France: Ancien regime to napoleon c. 1715-1815
  8. Parliamentary reform and protest in Wales and England c.1780-1885
  9. Social change and reform in Wales and England c. 1890-1990
  10. The American century c.1890-1990
  11. Changing leadership and society in Germany c.1871-1989
  12. Changing leadership and society in Russia c.1881-1989

A2 - Unit 4 - Depth Study Part 2

Written examination: 1 hour 45 minutes

20% of qualification

This is the second half of the chosen depth study, the first half of which has been studied in Unit 2.

A2 - Unit 5 - Historical Interpretations

Non-examination assessment (60 marks)

20% of qualification

Learners investigate an issue of historical debate through a study of different historical interpretations. See page 66 of the specification for more detail on this unit.

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