Title of the qualification achieved at the end of the course
GCSE History (AQA)
What will you learn/How will you be taught?
In History we explore a variety of time periods, people and events. We look at what changed, what didn't change; what caused the change and what the consequence of it was; how significant that change, event or person was; and we identify similarities and differences within what we've studied. This is done by new information being revealed each lesson and an opportunity for you to assess it, evaluate it and make your own judgement. We use sources (from the time) and interpretations (from after) to reach these judgements. Studying the past allows us to use anything and everything to learn more about it! Tapestries, architecture and manuscripts for the Norman course; personal accounts and paintings for the American West course; cartoons, photographs, and video footage for the WW1 course; and anything from the last 2000 years for the Health course! This means that what we explore can be different every lesson.
We develop your skills in inferring from a source - this is where you suggest what the source is saying, which might be different from everyone else’s ideas. History encourages you to be unique, to say what you think and justify it. The four exam papers require you to answer a range of questions that cover all the skills taught. Some are short and expect you to suggest from a source, others are longer and need you to evaluate (weigh up) the impact of a factor. This is personal - what you think - and so studying History is not prescriptive, but about what you get out of it.
Why study this subject?
If you want to know 'why' and 'how' History is the subject for you. If you like collecting evidence and reflecting on what you know and think, then these are the skills used when studying History. Essentially, we study human beings and, therefore, any career that involves empathy, understanding and communication will benefit from you taking this GCSE. You are encouraged to question what you know, how things were, what is the truth. You will become a master at articulately explaining something and justifying it using evidence. This is a brilliant skill for many careers. You will improve your ability to write at length. You evaluate what you know, the impact of the person/event, the evidence at hand (sources) to reach a judgement; again, this is perfect for many professions. Perhaps most importantly, History will develop how you look at events/people from different perspectives which is a brilliant life skill to have. You should study it for your GCSE option because it is fascinating and you’ll always find something of interest in the course. It is relevant to you and the world around you; you might find some similarities with today, examples of repeated history and, long-term, this is the perfect subject for many professions from being a lawyer to costume/set designer, journalist to social worker. I’m not sure why this subject would not be suited to you.