History: Democracy & Dictators A Level

(equivalent to one A Level)

A Level | OCR

Studying History Democracy and Dictators, over the two years you will cover Russia from Tsars to communism, the Wars of the Roses and Germany before and after World War II, as well as completing an independent coursework question.


The History Department is one of the largest departments in College and provides a stimulating learning environment in which students not only develop their knowledge and understanding but also gain strong academic skills. You may choose from two different History courses. Each course covers at least 200 years. Please also see History: Revolutions and Rebellion.

Unit Topic
Unit 1 England 1445-1509: Lancastrians, Yorkists and Henry Vll 
Unit 2 Democracy & Dictatorships in Germany 1919-1963
Unit 3 Russia and its Rulers 1855- 1964 
Course details

What are the entry requirements?

A minimum of five GCSEs at grade 4 or above including History, if taken. However, newcomers to the subject will also be welcomed, provided that they have gained some good passes in other subjects, especially English. 

How will I be assessed?

Assessment %
Written exams 80%
Coursework 20%

You will be assessed on your ability to write essays, use historical sources and analyse modern historical interpretations.

What extra work can I do?

Wider reading and critical reflection on it are vital for success at the highest level. The Department issues a reading list as well as recommending, when appropriate, further reading to support History A level and Extended Project work in progress.

What skills will I learn?

The principal means of assessment at Advanced Level History include the extended answer, or essay based responses, and source analysis responses. The course will prepare students to succeed fully in these areas, both in terms of the content required and the techniques and approaches used to interpret that content in the light of key historical problems. Students should expect to read, write and analyse issues on a frequent basis. The aim is to develop rational, critical, and independent thinkers who can handle source material and essay questions with confidence, presenting their insights with persuasion and sophistication.

What is the department like?

The History Department is amongst the largest in the College. This year we have over 400 students on our two separate courses across the two-year groups. Given the size of the Department, students can choose one of two courses. By a combination of committed and enthusiastic teaching and a responsiveness to the needs and interests of our students, we aim both to maintain our high standards of achievement in public examinations and to develop a lasting interest in the subject. Our high standards of achievement are evidenced by consistently strong results and departmental value-added scores indicate that the Department adds strong positive value to the progression and attainment of students.

We encourage keen Historians to work on an Extended Project in their second year which allows them to pursue an area of particular interest to them whilst still benefiting from supervision within the department. This can stretch students further than the traditional A Level and is a particularly attractive qualification for university admissions tutors for the most competitive courses at the most competitive institutions. As a result of their experience of History at Godalming, many students choose to read the subject at major British universities, including Oxford and Cambridge.

To support learning, a variety of different teaching approaches are adopted. We have an excellent collection of up-to-date material, both in the Department and in the College Library. We also make use of the increasing amount of information technology that is now available to develop learning. Work done in the classroom is supported by other activities, such as day visits to Hampton Court, and lectures in London on relevant issues, delivered by university experts. Cultural and historical enrichment trips abroad to destinations such as Poland and Berlin also broaden and deepen the experience of the History student at Godalming College.

Future Careers and Progression

What are the progression routes for this qualification?

History is taken by students doing a wide range of other subjects, in both the Arts and Sciences. At this level, History can be a truly complementary subject, extending and balancing a programme of study drawn from any part of the College curriculum.

Our students go on to a wide range of courses and careers. A considerable number will take a degree in the subject, or a related field, such as English, Law, Economics, Philosophy, Theology or Politics, where an A-Level in History is certainly an advantage.

In addition to a wider angled view of many contemporary events and issues, those trained in History have developed skills of critical analysis and judgement; these are highly valued in many professions, including Law, Management, Finance, Journalism and Politics.

+ Enrichment programmes
Case studies
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"Studying D&D at Godalming has really solidified my passion for history, particularly the Russia course which was different from other periods of history I had studied before and taught in an engaging and cohesive way. It has really inspired me to study modern history further." ~ Olivia Thompson

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