History – A Level

Course outline – OCR A Level History A (H505)

Paper 1: British period study and enquiry – England 1547-1603: Later Tudors (Unit Y107)

Marks Duration Weighting
50 1 hour 30 mins 25%

Question 1: Four sources given – assess how far they support a particular view (30 marks)

Question 2: Choose one of two essay questions (20 marks)

Mid-Tudor Crisis

  • Edward VI: issues of minority monarchy, radical Protestant change, the Kett and Western Rebellions, Lady Jane Grey and the Devise for the Succession.
  • Mary I: the Spanish marriage, Wyatt’s Rebellion, Catholic restoration and the burnings of Protestants, issues of female monarchy.

Elizabethan England

  • Religious Settlement: Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity, disagreements from Puritans and Catholics, role of Archbishops, the Catholic threat (including plots of Mary Queen of Scots).
  • Elizabethan government: managing parliament, the Privy Council and factions.
  • The importance of key figures: Leicester, Burghley, Walsingham, Norfolk.
  • Relations with France, Scotland, Spain and the Netherlands.
  • Issues of female monarchy – marriage prospects, naming an heir.
  • Elizabethan economy and overseas trade.
  • Elizabethan social policy, including the Poor Laws.
  • Later years of the reign – Essex Rebellion, royal prerogative.

Paper 2: Non-British period study – The Cold War in Europe 1941-1995 (Unit Y223)

Marks Duration Weighting
30 1 hour 15%

Choose from two sets of questions. Either 1a AND 1b or 2a AND 2b

Question (a): Which of the following (two options given to assess the impact of (10 marks)

Question (b): Essay question (20 marks)

Origins of the Cold War

  • Tensions in the Grand Alliance: conferences – Yalta, Potsdam, Tehran; personal relations between Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt.
  • Capitalism vs Communism.

Development of the Cold War (1946-1955)

  • Soviet control of Eastern Europe.
  • American intervention – Truman Doctrine and Marshall Aid.
  • Conflicts over Germany – Berlin blockade and airlift, East and West Germany.
  • NATO and Warsaw Pact.

The Cold War (1956-1984)

  • Crises in Europe – impact of Hungarian Rising, Czech Crisis, events in Poland.
  • Developments in Germany – Berlin Wall, inclusion in NATO.
  • Rivalries – Arms race; Space Race.
  • Negotiations – SALT Talks, Détente.

The End of the Cold War (1984-1995)

  • Social and economic problems in USSR.
  • Gorbachev – glasnost; perestroika.
  • Afghanistan
  • Reunification of Germany

Paper 3: Thematic study and historical interpretations – Civil Rights in the USA 1865-1992 (Unit Y319)

Marks Duration Weighting
80 2 hours 30 mins 40%

Question 1: Evaluate two interpretations and decide which is the most convincing (30 marks)

Question 2: Three possible questions, choose two (25 marks)

African Americans

  • 19th century – position in 1865 at end of Civil War; Reconstruction; white reaction and discrimination.
  • Role of African Americans – Booker T. Washington, WEB DuBois, Martin Luther King, Jr., Black Panthers.
  • Role of federal and state governments.
  • Anti and pro-civil rights groups.

Trade Union and Labour Rights

  • Impact of New Immigration and industrialisation on union development.
  • Role of federal governments in supporting/opposing union and labour rights.
  • Impact of World Wars.
  • Significance of the 1960s.
  • Significance of the Reagan era.

Native American Indians

  • Impact of Plains Wars (1854-1877)
  • Impact of the Dawes Act.
  • Acquisition of US citizenship in 1924.
  • Impact of the New Deal.
  • Native Americans and the Supreme Court.


  • Position after Civil War.
  • Impact of Prohibition campaign.
  • Campaigns for women’s suffrage.
  • Impact of World Wars and the New Deal.
  • Rise of feminism, radical feminism, opponents.
  • Abortion debates – Roe vs Wade.
  • Campaign for the Equal Rights Amendment.
  • Changing economic and employment opportunities.

NEA: Topic based essay

3,000-4,000 word essay. Non-exam assessment. Essay written based on Cold War unit. Unit Y100

(Replaces one Cold War lesson for final part of the year 12 – ad hoc sessions as needed in year 13)

20% of marks