What is A-Level History?

Hopefully students at Isaac Newton Academy who study History will enjoy the fascination of people, patterns and change in the past.  History combines the excitement of exploration and discovery with the sense of reward born of successfully confronting and making sense of complex and challenging problems. An A-Level History course allows you to further study events you know something about to a deeper level, and learn about new events and people, building on skills developed at KS3 and GCSE. 

The purpose of historical inquiry is not simply to present facts but to search for an interpretation of the past. Historians attempt to find patterns and establish meaning through the analysis and evaluation of evidence.  Students of history will be required to construct a reasoned argument, listen to and assess the opinions of other people, and examine critically a wide range of primary sources.  

The exams will assess your skills at:

  • Recall and application of knowledge of historical events studied.
  • Constructing a reasoned argument based on careful selection of evidence and explanation.
  • Critical analysis and evaluation of a wide range of historical sources both primary and secondary, and events for their significance.
  • Using historical inquiry skills for forming careful and complex interpretations of the past. 

At INA A-Level History students will study the following topics:

Paper 1:  Germany and West Germany 1918-1989                                       (30% of the final grade)

This option comprises a study in breadth, in which students will learn about key political changes experienced in a unified Germany and then in West Germany after the Second World War and the impact of these changes on German economic, social and cultural developments.  The focus of study is on developments and changes over a broad timescale and so the content is presented as themes spanning a significant duration: 1918–89. This option also contains a study in depth of historical interpretations (opinions) on a broad question, which is contextualised by, and runs parallel to, the themes: how far Hitler’s foreign policy was responsible for the Second World War

The exam is 2 hours 15 minutes long, and the paper is out of 60 marks. 

Types of questions you can expect:

Essay style:  How far do you agree that the nature of the government of the Federal Republic in the years 1949-69 was completely different from that of the Nazi regime?  16 marks


Paper 2:  The Rise and Fall of Fascism in Italy 1911-1946                             (20% of the final grade)

This option comprises a study in depth of the turbulent years in Italy that saw the collapse of the liberal state, the creation of a fascist dictatorship and a return to democracy in the aftermath of the Second World War. Students will gain an in-depth understanding of the extent and nature of the profound political, economic and social changes experienced by the Italian people in the years c1911–1946 and how the failure to create a stable, democratic Italian state in the early twentieth century led to the rise of a new political ideology and a personal dictatorship. 

The exam is 1 hour 30 minutes long, and the paper is out of 40 marks. 


Paper 3:  Rebellion and disorder under the Tudors, 1485–1603                 (30% of the final grade) 

This option comprises two parts: the Aspects in breadth focus on long-term changes and contextualise the Aspects in depth, which focus in detail on key episodes.

Together, the breadth and depth topics explore the nature of rebellion and disorder under the Tudors and the way the various challenges were met, the nature of change in government over the period and the changing relationship between the Crown and key sections of society. The option enables students to explore the way in which, despite a shaky start, the Tudors were able to establish their dynasty as one of the most powerful England has seen.

The exam is 2 hours 15 minutes long, and the paper is out of 60 marks. 

These are examined topics and the exams are at the END of YEAR 13.


  • Students complete a single assignment on a question set by the History department. 
  • This question is yet to be confirmed, but will be communicated as soon as agreed.  It will not be linked to sections of Paper 1. 
  • The assignment will assess the ability to carry out a historical enquiry, analysing and evaluating historical interpretations, and organising and communicating the findings.
  • The assignment is 3,500 words in length. 
  • 20% of the final grade.