We follow Edexcel Modern History A. It is split into four parts that are all examined in the summer of Year 11.
The USA, 1954–75: conflict at home and abroad
The Civil Rights Movement, 1950-75:
You will learn about protests such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott and Little Rock High School, the role of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, the protests of Black Power and the Black Panthers, and opposition to the Civil Rights Movement from groups such as the Ku Klux Klan.
America and the war in Vietnam:
In this part of the course, you will discover why America got involved in the war in Vietnam, the events of the war itself, why many people protested against the war and how and why the Americans finally left Vietnam.
The Cold War, 1941–91
In this unit, you will find out how the world came close to war for over 40 years during the Cold War, despite the fact that the USSR and the USA had fought together against Hitler during the Second World War. You will find out how the world came close to war during the Cuban Missiles Crisis, why the Berlin Wall was built, how the world started talking again after the Cuban Missiles Crisis, but how war in Afghanistan in 1979 worsened relations. You will then find out why the 1980s became a dangerous time due to the arms race and projects such as “Star Wars”, but how by 1991 the Cold War was over.
Crime and punishment in Britain c1000 to today
In this unit, you will find out about how crimes have been investigated, how suspects have been tried, and how criminals have been punished. This will start in the Middle Ages with trial by ordeal and then move on to look at how people accused of heresy, treason and witchcraft were treated by the law between 1500 and 1700; there will be a particular focus on the case of the Gunpowder Plot and the witch trials of Matthew Hopkins. The unit then moves on to look at how crimes such as smuggling and highway robbery became more common between 1700 and 1900, and why the police force was introduced in the early 19th century by Robert Peel. Finally, we will look at how crime and punishment has developed to what we know today. This includes how science and technology have become important in policing, “new” crimes such as drug offences and race crime, and developments in punishment, such as the abolition of capital punishment. There will be a particular focus on the impact of the case of Jack the Ripper and why the execution of Derek Bentley in 1953 was so important to the abolition of capital punishment.
Some of this will be familiar from year 8, when you gained an overview of some of these topics. For your GCSE, you will look into these topics in more depth. You will start by looking at how people reacted to a woman being their queen, and how Elizabeth dealt with this. You will then move on to look at the threats that Elizabeth had to face with as queen. This will include why Mary, Queen of Scots was such a threat to Elizabeth, why so many people, especially from the north of England, plotted to kill Elizabeth, and the attempted invasion by the Spanish Armada and how they were defeated.
How to achieve an excellent grade in History
You will need to:
Ensure that you revise thoroughly!
- Use the revision guides and flash cards that you have been given by your teacher.
- As the GCSE course is still quite new, there are limited resources online. However, the BBC Bitesize revision pages are being updated and already have some good revision resources about Elizabeth I, the Cold War and Vietnam (https://www.bbc.com/education/examspecs/zw4bv4j).
- Attend any intervention classes that you are invited to.
- Always answer questions in lots of detail; include specific information and clear explanations to support your response, because vague comments will not earn you marks. “I know this to be true because it happened” is not ok!!!
- Try to make links in your answers.
- Remember that balanced answers earn higher marks – show both.
- Answers at the top grades often have a balanced and well-explained conclusion, too.
- Finally, remember that you need to leave enough time to complete all the questions if you are to get a good grade, so always time yourself when writing an answer. Don’t spent lots of time on a question you find easy, because you might run out of time for the rest of the questions.