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What is History AS and A2 like?

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    I'm in year 10 and I was thinking of doing History for my A-Levels but I'm not sure on the content and difficulty, if anyone could give me a little insight that'd be really helpful.

    And, will it be useful for Medicine at university?

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    I'm in Year 11 who is going to be studying History AS from September!
    From what I've heard, it's quite difficult with many essays and lots of content to remember, but if you enjoy it you should go for it as it is a well respected subject!
    Uni's sometimes like you to have an essay based A-level for Medicine to show you are 'well rounded'. Look on their entry requirements to find out what subjects they require!

    Hope I helped
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    It depends on the exam board and your school, but I am studying AQA AS history and we are doing Russia 1855-1917 and Britain 1957-1975.

    I'm not sure how useful it would be for medicine. It is a very respected subject but medicine is obviously more science based. I am not looking to do medicine so I can't really comment on that.

    The course that I am doing isn't too challenging, but this is probably in part due to the fact that I got an A* at GCSE and we were studying a similar period of Russian history, therefore I already knew some of the content.

    It is a step up from GCSE but if you are generally good at essay-based subjects then you'll be fine.
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    Being good at writing essays won't be enough. If you work hard and put the effort in, it's relatively easy, but that's pretty much the same as saying it's difficult as hell

    I'm not sure if it's useful for Medicine, but it's a very respected A Level subject (there's a reason for that!) and - I'm told - universities like it.
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    I am doing AQA AS history and find the content easy , however there is soooooo much to learn and if you don't put the effort in (like me), you will do badly... I got a D in my January exam although I get As to Bs in my mocks because I didn't revise enough -.-
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    Got my final year 12 history exam on Tuesday. I'm on the OCR board, and we're doing Elizabethan and Civil rights in America 1865-1970, I can tell you now if you don't like or enjoy history don't take it, it's not a broad subject like Maths where you can pick it up and revise it even if you hate it. If you hate History, you will have no motivation to revise it and without content revision you haven't got a chance in passing. Learn what your school does for the AS/A2 courses before taking it, but you never know you might pick up something you never thought you'd like- in my case Elizabethan England.

    My exams are split into two, with one being 2 essay titles and the other being a page of sources and an interpretation, the latter is absolutely ridiculous in terms on the amount of time you get, and pushing out a half decent answer means you need to write like your arse is on fire, but I took English literature so the essay writing isn't that hard. I know next year half of the course is coursework based, so that's decent if you're into that kind of thing.

    In regards to medicine? I'm not so sure, you'd probably be better off taking your science subjects with Math, but History is a respectable A level, and can set you up for Law quite nicely- but as mentioned, only take it if you have a real passion for it, or you'll drop it before year 13.
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    I am doing OCR History A and I hate it with a passion. Obviously there are all different units you can choose but we do both the English and German reformations and well, let's just say I'll be dropping it next year. The content is fine but it is really difficult to get the exam technique e.t.c. right.

    As regards to medicine, someone in my history class is also hoping to do medicine with it as one of her AS Levels and apparently medical schools like it because it shows your communication skills and so on, however I'd email them to see what they'd recommend.
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    I am doing AS history (and thankfully only have one exam on Tuesday then no more history EVER!!).
    At GCSE I literally didn't revise and had awful Coursework/Controlled Assessment; but did amazing on the two exams and still got A* overall.

    HOWEVER AS History is practically impossible in comparison. The essay paper is not too bad, you just need a reasonable memory and be able to compare points think did all right on that last week. But the sources paper is evil and so hard, the technique is completely different to GCSE and I just can't get my head round it. I am praying and hoping for a C on AS History overall due to impossibility of the sources paper for me.

    BTW did both GCSE and AS on OCR A.
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    I'm doing Edexcel AS History (nearly done with it now) and I pretty much agree with the comments above.

    You need to enjoy History to succeed at it. I didn't particularly enjoy it much this year, which is why revision has been such a pain!

    But I think it's mostly down to the topics my school chose, I'm hoping if I carry on with A2 History it'll be much more stimulating, as we're doing Germany!

    Be warned though - there's a plethora of information you'll need to memorise and then regurgitate during the exam!

    And I'm hoping to apply for Medicine as well. I think universities will like the fact that my subjects are slightly varied. Maybe?

    This was posted from The Student Room's iPhone/iPad App
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    There's a lot of content to learn - you need to make sure you put in the effort to learn it and have a good revision strategy. And you obviously need to be good at writing essays.
    I suggest finding out what county/period your sixth form/college will be teaching because I think it's easier to learn if you're interested in it. Like at AS we had one exam on the USSR, which I loved because I found it really interesting, but the other exam was on British history 1906-1951 and oh my god it was so incredibly dull. At A2 we have one exam and we did coursework. For the coursework, you do get taught content but you need to be willing to put in a lot of effort to find your own material as you choose your own question (or at least you do with AQA). It's challenging but great.
    I'm not sure about its relation to medicine. Look up entry requirements - I'm pretty sure some places won't mind what your 3rd/4th subject is though so it might be good for showing different skills from the ones you get from doing all sciences.
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    I did AS and A2 and I found it okay (I got an A both years), although I can see why some people would hate it. There is a lot to learn, and it's in quite a lot of depth. The courswork at A2 is a battle too, so long. But if you're interested like I was, it's not too difficult. You definitely need to know how to write a good essay!

    I was on AQA I think, and we did Russia 1886-1939 at AS, Tudor History at A2 and Germany 1846-1946 for coursework.
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    I did AQA history, which at AS level was America 1890's - 1945, and Britain 1890 till about the same time.
    However, my school was on the accelerated cirriculum, meaning I did these in year 11. Despite this, I personally found History to be relatively easy, as long as you can analyse sources and such well, and are able to link factors - if you can do that, which I'm sure you can, it should hopefully be a diddle. :-)
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    I only got a B at GCSE but managed an A in my AS January exam, I actually find it easier than GCSE probably because I never listened at GCSE and therefore lacked understanding.
    I would definitely do it at A-level as it is respected and can be used for a variety of uni courses
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    I all depends on what exam board you're doing, ask your teacher. Im doing OCR History B, and I dont think its that bad.
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    Definitely does depend on the exam board and what you're actually learning about. I'm doing AQA, Britain 1483-1529 and Nazi Germany 1933-45, history is definitely a respected subject and, actually, it's good to pick ONLY if you're interested in History

    This was posted from The Student Room's iPhone/iPad App
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    AS is relatively easy, A2 is a bit of a step up and its been quite difficult this year, especially with the added pressure of coursework. You need good essay skills, and as others said, its pretty content heavy.
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    Didn't notice the step up, but it's hard to get the hang of the essays. You do have to learn a lot, and you'll probably remember about only a tenth five years later because there's just so much to cram in. Quotes, facts for every question, then what actually happened....
    It's about three times as much work as my other two subjects combined. But that doesn't say so much since the other two aren't exactly stringent. Still, I wouldn't call it easy. Even if you have the perfect audio memory and excellent attentiveness in class and everything...you still have to sit down and learn a lot of stuff, so you can't just revise a few days before the exam and stroll out with an A or B. Well, a B, maybe, who knows.
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    It's hell.

    I love history, and until about a month ago was going to take it at university.

    But AS History is horrible.
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    (Original post by Josh_Dey)
    I'm in year 10 and I was thinking of doing History for my A-Levels but I'm not sure on the content and difficulty, if anyone could give me a little insight that'd be really helpful.

    And, will it be useful for Medicine at university?

    Go for it. You better have 2 good teachers and 4~5 hours of lessons a week with them. And equal that with homework+reading otherwise you can't cope. Well that's what it's like for us, we're just pushed too much if that isn't the case for anyone else.
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    I wanted to drop it as soon as I started it but I wasnt allowed, and now I have to sit a 90 minute exam tomorrow that I havent revised for.


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Updated: May 21, 2012
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