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Exam Board and Specification Codes: Edexcel (9HI0)

History provides students with an understanding of the forces that have shaped the modern world.

Study of political systems and empires that have now fallen gives important insight into our own way of life and the factors that could change it in the future. Students examine communist governments in the 20th Century, the origins of the Cold War and the development of the British Empire.

It is a valuable academic subject that develops students’ abilities to assimilate and analyse large amounts of information, understand differing viewpoints and perspectives, structure detailed essays that argue from evidence, and examine evidence to make judgements about its usefulness and reliability. These are all skills that enable university study and contribute more broadly to a range of careers including law.


What is covered by the course?

Year 1

Component 1 - The Soviet Union: From Lenin To Yeltsin 1917-91

This is covered in a thematic approach across the period 1917-85:

  • Soviet government
  • Industrial and agricultural change
  • Control of the people
  • Social developments

Additionally, the fall of the USSR c.1985-91 is studied as a historical interpretation

Component 2 - The German Democratic Republic 1949-90

The study of Communist government is developed through a study of the German Democratic Republic, looking at key developments;

  • Establishing and consolidating Communist control
  • The development of the East German state
  • Life in East Germany
  • Growing crises and the collapse of Communist rule
Year 2

Component 3 - Historical Interpretations of The Origins of The Cold War 1945-53

The study of interpretations of the origins of the Cold War Superpower rivalry through the works of a range of historians;

  • Was it the Soviet Union or the USA that was responsible? 
  • Was it Stalin or Truman? 
  • Was it an inevitability in the unique circumstances of the time – the destruction of Germany?

Component 4 - Britain: Losing and Gaining an Empire 1763-1914

The study of how Britain lost one empire in North America through the American Revolution and then gained a far wider and diverse empire over the following century. It combines breadth and depth studies over the whole period;

  • The changing nature and extent of trade
  • The changing nature of the British navy
  • The loss of the American colonies
  • Canada, Australia, India, the Nile Valley

How is it examined?

Paper 1 - Written Assessment (2 hours and 15 minutes)

  • This unit is examined through a combination of essay and source-based questions
  • There are two essay questions from a selection of four on depth and breadth aspects of the Soviet Union 1917-85
  • There is a source question on historians’ interpretations as to why the Soviet Union collapsed under Gorbachev in the years 1985-91
  • 30% of the total A-Level

Paper 2 - Written Assessment (1 hour and 30 minutes)

  • This unit is examined through a combination of essay and source-based questions
  • There is one essay from a choice of two on developments in the GDR over the period 1949-90
  • There is a source question on the value of two accounts on a particular event or development in the GDR during the years 1949-90
  • 20% of the total A-Level

Paper 3 - Written Assessment (2 hours and 15 minutes)

  • This unit is examined through a combination of essay and source-based questions
  • There are two essay questions from a selection of four on depth and breadth aspects of the British Empire, 1763-1914
  • There is a source question on the value of an accounts on a particular event or development of the British Empire, 1763-1914
  • 30% of the total A-Level

Paper 4 - Externally Set Assessment

  • Origins of the Cold War coursework
  • This is marked internally and moderated externally by the examination board
  • 20% of the total A-Level

Related university courses & careers? 

International Relations, Politics, Law, Economics, English Literature, Foreign Languages, Philosophy.

Leading to a wide range of careers opportunities such as Law, Teaching, Journalism and the Media, Academic Research, Administration and Management. Essentially, any career where analytical thinking is highly valued.

Suggested literature & resources 

‘Communist States in the 20th Century’ by Steve Philips et al. (Pearson)
‘A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution’ by Orlando Figes (Pelican)
‘Comrades: Communism: A World History’ by Robert Service (Pan)
‘Britain: Losing and Gaining an Empire, 1763-1914’ by Nikki Christie & Brendan Christie (Pearson)
‘The Decline and Fall of the British Empire 1781-1997’ by Piers Brendon (Vintage)
‘The Cold War’ by John Lewis Gaddis (Penguin)


Lower School

Kensington Park School (Years 7-11),
40-44 Bark Place,
London,
W2 4AT

Tel: +44 (0)20 7616 4400


Sixth Form

Kensington Park School Sixth Form,
59 Queen's Gate,
South Kensington, London,
SW7 5JP, UK

Tel: +44 (0)20 7225 0577


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