History A Level: OCR


Year 12: AS Unites

Unit F961 Option A: Medieval and Early Modern 1035–1642

Topic: Henry VIII to Mary I, 1509–58

Length: 1.5h written paper

Weighting: 25% of total A Level

The question paper for this option contains three essay questions. Students answer two of the three questions in essay form.

Topics covered:

  • What were Henry VIII’s aims as king from 1509 to 1529?
  • Why did Wolsey rise and fall during the period 1515–29?
  • How significant was the work of Thomas Cromwell?
  • How successfully did Henry VIII govern from 1540 to 1547?
  • How effective was government during the reign of Edward VI?
  • How effective was Mary I’s government?


Core Text: Henry VIII to Mary I: Government and Religion, 1509-55


Unit F964 Option B: Modern 1774–1975


Dictatorship and Democracy in Germany 1933–63


Length:1.5h written paper

Type: Document studies unit.

Weighting: 25% of total A Level


This option is concerned with the establishment and experience of Nazi and Communist dictatorship in1933–34 and 1945–49 respectively, and the imposition and experience of Democracy in West Germany after the Second World War. Candidates will be expected to consider the nature of, and reasons for, change, divergence and continuity in political, economic and social structures in Germany during the period.

Key Topics:

  • How effectively did Hitler establish and consolidate Nazi authority 1933–45?
  • To what extent did the Nazis transform German society?
  • To what extent and in what ways did communism transform the GDR?
  • How far did Western democratic structures (political, economic and social) succeed in the Federal Republic?

Core Text: Democracy and Dictatorship in Germany 1919-1963

Year 13: A2 Unites


Unit F965: Historical Interpretations and Investigations

Weight: 20%

This is a coursework unit, with two 2,000-word pieces – one focusing on Interpretations and the other focusing on Investigations. It is worth 20% of the total A Level. The purpose of the unit is to enable candidates to assess different historical interpretations and to carry out an historical investigation.


Topic: Britain under Margaret Thatcher 1979–90

Focus: why there was a change in direction in post-war British politics under Thatcher, the extent of the ‘revolution’ in social, economic and foreign policy and why Thatcher fell from power.


  • How far was Thatcher’s success a result of Labour’s failure and the breakdown of postwar consensus?
  • Did Conservative policies towards the economy, the welfare state and trade unions amount to a revolution, or were their effects exaggerated?
  • To what extent was Britain’s position in the world changed by Thatcher’s foreign policy?
  • Did Thatcher’s fall from power come about mainly as a result of her style of government or real disagreements about policy?


Unit F966 Option A: Medieval and Early Modern 1066–1715


Topic: Rebellion and Disorder under the Tudors 1485–1603

Length: 2 hours

Type: 2h written paper

Weighting: 30% of total A level

This theme focuses on the nature and extent of rebellion and disorder in England and Ireland during this period. The following revolts and rebellions should be studied: Lovel, Simnel, Yorkshire, Warbeck, Cornish, Amicable Grant, Kildare, Pilgrimage of Grace, Western, Kett, Northumberland, Wyatt, Shane O’Neill, Northern Earls, Fitzgerald, Geraldine, Tyrone O’Neill, Oxfordshire, and Essex.


  • The main causes of rebellion and disorder: political factions, the succession, religion, taxation, famine, inflation, enclosures, social issues.
  • The frequency and nature of disturbances: regional variations, objectives, size, support, leadership, organisation; differences between rebellions in England and Ireland; reasons for limited success and/or failure of rebellions.
  • The impact of disturbances upon Tudor governments: their response to the threat of disorder at the time and subsequently (eg changes in government strategy, policies, legislation, propaganda); the extent to which rebellions presented a serious threat to the government.
  • The maintenance of political stability: the role of local and central authorities, especially the Crown, the Church, nobility, gentry, lieutenants, sheriffs, JPs; popular attitudes towards authority.


Core Text: Rebellion and Disorder Under the Tudors 1485-1603