GCSE History
Historians are often asked: what is the use or relevance of studying History?

The answer is that History is inescapable. It studies the past and the legacies of the past in the present. It connects things through time and encourages its people to take a long view of such connections. All people and peoples are living histories. Communities speak languages that are inherited from the past. They live in societies with complex cultures, traditions and religions that have not been created on the spur of the moment. People use technologies that they have not themselves invented. So understanding the links between past and present is absolutely basic for a good understanding of the condition of being human. That, in a nutshell, is why History matters. It is not just ‘useful’, it is essential.

Why Choose This Subject At GCSE?

In all cases, understanding History is integral to a good understanding of the condition of being human. That allows people to build, and, as may well be necessary, also to change, upon a secure foundation. Neither of these options can be undertaken well without understanding the context and starting points. All living people live in the here-and-now but it took a long unfolding history to get everything to this point. And it is History that frames both the past and the present.

Summary of the Course

Paper 1: Thematic study and historic environment

Students take one of the following options: *chosen option

  • 10: Crime and punishment in Britain, c1000–present and Whitechapel, c1870–c1900: crime, policing and the inner city
  • 11: Medicine in Britain, c1250–present and The British sector of the Western Front, 1914–18: injuries, treatment and the trenches
  • 12: *Warfare and British society, c1250–present and London and the Second World War, 1939–45

Paper 2: Period study and British depth study

Students take one of the following British depth study options:

  • B1: Anglo-Saxon and Norman England, c1060–88
  • B2: The reigns of King Richard I and King John, 1189–1216
  • B3: Henry VIII and his ministers, 1509–40
  • B4: *Early Elizabethan England, 1558–88

Students also take one of the following period study options:

  • 20/21: Spain and the ‘New World’, c1490–c1555
  • 22/23: British America, 1713–83: empire and revolution
  • 24/25: The American West, c1835–c1895
  • 26/27: *Superpower relations and the Cold War, 1941–91
  • 28/29: Conflict in the Middle East, 1945–95

Paper 3: Modern depth study

Students take one of the following modern depth studies:

  • 30: *Russia and the Soviet Union, 1917–41
  • 31: Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918–39
  • 32: Mao’s China, 1945–76
  • 33: The USA, 1954–75: conflict at home and abroad
How is This Subject Assessed?

Paper 1: Written examination: 1 hour and 15 minutes 30%* of the total GCSE
Paper 2:Written examination: 1 hour and 45 minutes 40%* of the total GCSE
Paper 3: Written examination: 1 hour and 20 minutes 30%* of the total GCSE


Edexcel GCSE (9–1) History

GCSE History