A Levels: Classical Civilisation vs. History?

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username1306252
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Hi! So I've picked three of my AS Level choices but I'm at a massive loss as to what to choose for my fourth.

My definites are: English Lit, RS: Philosophy and Ethics, and French.

By the way, as a definite "arts" person, I am steering clear from all maths/sciencey subjects *shudder* (including psychology)

I always assumed I'd take History, but now we're really ploughing into the GCSE work I'm finding it increasingly difficult to cope. I never could do History that well, but as I needed a fourth, I half-heartedly chose it as what I thought was my only option, once maths/sciences/further maths/economics etc was eliminated.

However, now I'm thinking about the possibility of Class Civ. I didn't do it at GCSE, though. Plus, stupidly, at my sixth form open evenings I didn't look round that department (as I assumed I'd do History!) so I know nothing at all about what it's like.

Things to consider:

- I have no particular preference for ancient or modern history.
- I love learning about background in Latin, but hate learning great long texts by heart.
- I hate source analysis in History as I have no technique! This is the main thing holding me back about History, as I think in more of an English way.
- I do not want to be an archaeologist.
- English Literature is my favourite subject as I love putting my own interpretation on existing texts.
- I don't mind writing essays (my English love showing once again) but am conscious of the fact that due to my other choices there will be a lot of them!
- I am good at Latin in that I "get" the language (I can see the link to English/French, and find etymology of words really interesting)

Essentially, it's a case of, do I want to throw myself into the unknown or play it safe and do a subject I have done at GCSE but that I do not like?
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TSR Learn Together
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Milostar
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(Original post by ellieanor)
Hi! So I've picked three of my AS Level choices but I'm at a massive loss as to what to choose for my fourth.

My definites are: English Lit, RS: Philosophy and Ethics, and French.

By the way, as a definite "arts" person, I am steering clear from all maths/sciencey subjects *shudder* (including psychology)

I always assumed I'd take History, but now we're really ploughing into the GCSE work I'm finding it increasingly difficult to cope. I never could do History that well, but as I needed a fourth, I half-heartedly chose it as what I thought was my only option, once maths/sciences/further maths/economics etc was eliminated.

However, now I'm thinking about the possibility of Class Civ. I didn't do it at GCSE, though. Plus, stupidly, at my sixth form open evenings I didn't look round that department (as I assumed I'd do History!) so I know nothing at all about what it's like.

Things to consider:

- I have no particular preference for ancient or modern history.
- I love learning about background in Latin, but hate learning great long texts by heart.
- I hate source analysis in History as I have no technique! This is the main thing holding me back about History, as I think in more of an English way.
- I do not want to be an archaeologist.
- English Literature is my favourite subject as I love putting my own interpretation on existing texts.
- I don't mind writing essays (my English love showing once again) but am conscious of the fact that due to my other choices there will be a lot of them!
- I am good at Latin in that I "get" the language (I can see the link to English/French, and find etymology of words really interesting)

Essentially, it's a case of, do I want to throw myself into the unknown or play it safe and do a subject I have done at GCSE but that I do not like?
You should go for something you're really interested in and keen on, otherwise you'll not have the motivation to get through the difficult times. Do you still enjoy history?

You should definitely try to address the issues with source analysis by asking for tips on TSR in the Study Tips forum, or asking your teacher. Once you get over that you'll find history much more pleasant! Wouldn't that also be involved in Classical Civ?
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gonewandering
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I'm a great lover of history and went on to do it at University, but I ABSOLUTELY HATED the GCSE History course. We did the history of medicine and I found it extremely boring and monotonous subject. However it was completely different at university.
So I would say don't discount History based on the fact that you disliked it or found it difficult. If you enjoy or are interested in a subject outside of school, you should be able to make it work. Source analysis is a big part of History, and I would guess it is a big part of Classical Civilizations too, but it, at university at least, it is very very different to GCSE.

If I were you, I would email or go and see the teachers that teach History and Classical Civilizations. Ask them what subjects you look at during the course, how it will be assessed etc. Alternatively go on the Exam Board's website direct - AQA for example http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects - and see what the courses involve. You can also see how much of the grading relies on the source analysis there as well.
It would be much easier for you to make your mind up knowing specifically what areas of Classical Civilization or History you will be looking at, rather than generalising about such wide and varied subjects as a whole. There may be something that really grabs you; or there maybe something that really puts you off. Either way, you would have made your mind up.

Also you don't mention future plans.
If you wanted to study history or classical civilization at university, studying one over the other at A-Level isn't really a disadvantage as most either don't require you to have studied history at A-Level, or require only a history based course -which of course they both are. So in that respect, its interchangeable and you could study 1 at A-Level and the other at university should you so wish.
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jenniferkaytie
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Hi I do Ancient History and have carried it on for A2, I also do English lang and lit, the good thing about that is you tend to have pretty good essay structure, which is great for any kind of history. The bonus with AH is that its interesting, especially the Sparta aspects, and because there are very few sources for this, you get away with saying ''our sources on this are very limited, but what we do have suggests that...'' and although source analysis is boring, and important, there is actually very little on this, in a 25 mark essay, only around 5 marks would come from the source
If there is anything more specific you wanna ask about it, just message me with it, and if you want examples of resources then I'll attach them in some way
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username1306252
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(Original post by Milostar)
You should go for something you're really interested in and keen on, otherwise you'll not have the motivation to get through the difficult times. Do you still enjoy history?

You should definitely try to address the issues with source analysis by asking for tips on TSR in the Study Tips forum, or asking your teacher. Once you get over that you'll find history much more pleasant! Wouldn't that also be involved in Classical Civ?
Thank you for your help! You're right, I can see myself really struggling with History A Level if I've already spent hours and hours per day getting worked up over this one little controlled assessment.

I honestly do not know what skills Class Civ requires! I presume sources will be involved a bit, but I suppose I only need to learn how to do it and then I'll be fine. I feel as if I must have missed some year 7 History lessons!
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username1306252
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(Original post by gonewandering)
I'm a great lover of history and went on to do it at University, but I ABSOLUTELY HATED the GCSE History course. We did the history of medicine and I found it extremely boring and monotonous subject. However it was completely different at university.
So I would say don't discount History based on the fact that you disliked it or found it difficult. If you enjoy or are interested in a subject outside of school, you should be able to make it work. Source analysis is a big part of History, and I would guess it is a big part of Classical Civilizations too, but it, at university at least, it is very very different to GCSE.

If I were you, I would email or go and see the teachers that teach History and Classical Civilizations. Ask them what subjects you look at during the course, how it will be assessed etc. Alternatively go on the Exam Board's website direct - AQA for example http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects - and see what the courses involve. You can also see how much of the grading relies on the source analysis there as well.
It would be much easier for you to make your mind up knowing specifically what areas of Classical Civilization or History you will be looking at, rather than generalising about such wide and varied subjects as a whole. There may be something that really grabs you; or there maybe something that really puts you off. Either way, you would have made your mind up.

Also you don't mention future plans.
If you wanted to study history or classical civilization at university, studying one over the other at A-Level isn't really a disadvantage as most either don't require you to have studied history at A-Level, or require only a history based course -which of course they both are. So in that respect, its interchangeable and you could study 1 at A-Level and the other at university should you so wish.
Ah, thanks for your opinion! I'm planning on doing English Lit at uni or maybe French, definitely not History or Class Civ. If I could just take the three subjects I am certain of, it would be great, I just need something else to fill this gap!

The exam board website isn't very helpful, it just says one of the modules is archaelogy but I don't know what that entails?

I've managed to get hold of a "taster session" which is on Thursday, so hopefully that will be a bit more informative. Thank you!
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username1306252
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(Original post by jenniferkaytie)
Hi I do Ancient History and have carried it on for A2, I also do English lang and lit, the good thing about that is you tend to have pretty good essay structure, which is great for any kind of history. The bonus with AH is that its interesting, especially the Sparta aspects, and because there are very few sources for this, you get away with saying ''our sources on this are very limited, but what we do have suggests that...'' and although source analysis is boring, and important, there is actually very little on this, in a 25 mark essay, only around 5 marks would come from the source
If there is anything more specific you wanna ask about it, just message me with it, and if you want examples of resources then I'll attach them in some way
Oh, thank you! I am generally good at essay structure, so if that's helpful then yay! Also, I'd love an example of a resource, if that's okay?
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masonboyowen
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(Original post by ellieanor)
Hi! So I've picked three of my AS Level choices but I'm at a massive loss as to what to choose for my fourth.

My definites are: English Lit, RS: Philosophy and Ethics, and French.

By the way, as a definite "arts" person, I am steering clear from all maths/sciencey subjects *shudder* (including psychology)

I always assumed I'd take History, but now we're really ploughing into the GCSE work I'm finding it increasingly difficult to cope. I never could do History that well, but as I needed a fourth, I half-heartedly chose it as what I thought was my only option, once maths/sciences/further maths/economics etc was eliminated.

However, now I'm thinking about the possibility of Class Civ. I didn't do it at GCSE, though. Plus, stupidly, at my sixth form open evenings I didn't look round that department (as I assumed I'd do History!) so I know nothing at all about what it's like.

Things to consider:

- I have no particular preference for ancient or modern history.
- I love learning about background in Latin, but hate learning great long texts by heart.
- I hate source analysis in History as I have no technique! This is the main thing holding me back about History, as I think in more of an English way.
- I do not want to be an archaeologist.
- English Literature is my favourite subject as I love putting my own interpretation on existing texts.
- I don't mind writing essays (my English love showing once again) but am conscious of the fact that due to my other choices there will be a lot of them!
- I am good at Latin in that I "get" the language (I can see the link to English/French, and find etymology of words really interesting)

Essentially, it's a case of, do I want to throw myself into the unknown or play it safe and do a subject I have done at GCSE but that I do not like?

Find out what topics are done at AS and A2 for history and Class Civ (just ask the teachers if you see them around) - I hated the look of A-level history and did class civ which had 2 modules where it just treats greek and roman literature like eng lit and there is little to no source analysis, mainly appreciation and understanding context (you may find the technique easier than the source criticism in history)

Personally I think history is more of a highly regarded subject but I think classics can be the more interesting and I know all my mates who do history or english do well at class civ as well :L (i'm a bit biased since im applying for classics at uni)

But yeah just find out more about the courses and just do what you enjoy, if you are thinking of History at uni then I'd say do that, if you want to do english i'd say classics

hope this is any help :P
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username1306252
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(Original post by masonboyowen)
Find out what topics are done at AS and A2 for history and Class Civ (just ask the teachers if you see them around) - I hated the look of A-level history and did class civ which had 2 modules where it just treats greek and roman literature like eng lit and there is little to no source analysis, mainly appreciation and understanding context (you may find the technique easier than the source criticism in history)

Personally I think history is more of a highly regarded subject but I think classics can be the more interesting and I know all my mates who do history or english do well at class civ as well :L (i'm a bit biased since im applying for classics at uni)

But yeah just find out more about the courses and just do what you enjoy, if you are thinking of History at uni then I'd say do that, if you want to do english i'd say classics

hope this is any help :P
I've done a bit of research, and the sixth form I'm hoping to go to actually doesn't do the archaeology bit, they just do the Greek and Roman texts as you said! That sounds much better than History imo. Thank you for your informed Classics opinion, I was hoping there'd be some kind of Class Civ experts vs. History experts war going on in the thread but hey, as long as I can make an informed choice I'm happy. I've actually submitted my choices now and I went for Class Civ, so hopefully it'll be as good as you seem to think! Thank you for your help, and everyone's, too!
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lucas13
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look at wiki
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masonboyowen
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(Original post by ellieanor)
I've done a bit of research, and the sixth form I'm hoping to go to actually doesn't do the archaeology bit, they just do the Greek and Roman texts as you said! That sounds much better than History imo. Thank you for your informed Classics opinion, I was hoping there'd be some kind of Class Civ experts vs. History experts war going on in the thread but hey, as long as I can make an informed choice I'm happy. I've actually submitted my choices now and I went for Class Civ, so hopefully it'll be as good as you seem to think! Thank you for your help, and everyone's, too!
haha it's fine good luck with them, the texts are definitely not as deathly dull as learning about WW I AND II for the umpteenth time :P
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username1306252
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(Original post by masonboyowen)
haha it's fine good luck with them, the texts are definitely not as deathly dull as learning about WW I AND II for the umpteenth time :P
oh my god you're right, we've been doing WW1 since year 6 >____<
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jazhiggs97
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Hi there.

I currently do English Literature, History (Medieval and Tudor), Classical Civilisation, Physics, with GCSE Astronomy and Ancient Greek.
The etymology of words is always very interesting, and if you're interested in it, I'd suggest Class Civ over History, because you learn numerous Latin phrases (though this might be determined by what course you'll do. There are 13 different AS courses, and I currently do Cicero: Life and Times, and The Odyssey by Homer) without having to learn huge clumps, and I've found so far that I've learnt many things that can also apply to my other subjects.

However, I'm leaning more towards History suggestion wise. Though both are respected A-Levels for pretty much ALL humanities subjects at university, History can lead into so many different subjects further on in life and, if you're worried about the sources, you have two source questions, 20 marks and 40 marks, and they're an extension of what you do at GCSE. You don't have to be good at GCSE History, though it might help, as the person who got the lowest GCSE mark in my A Level class is definitely finding it the hardest... but you can't let GCSE put you off! Try looking at some exam papers and some of the wider reading for History before you make your choices, and I can highly suggest reading around Classical Civilisation too.

If it's the essays that concern you, remember: the humanities ARE essay writing, and if you're good at it, your A Levels will be enjoyable and you'll learn to curb your writing style too, and to be able to write in numerous styles is a great skill if you're interested in the humanities. I took Physics to break up the essay writing, but I've now found myself wanting to drop it after AS and I can't way to just write essays! Also, with History GCSE, you're not near your exams yet and you'll be surprised how much you can improve your essay writing/source analysis with practise, and this is what I suggest: practise for history is the key!

Good luck with whatever you choose!
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JCalexander
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I currently do classical civilizations at A/S and I am doing the Life and Times of Cicero and the Athenian Imperialism modules. We do not do source analysis so if you hate that then you will find classics enjoyable. The two modules I do are more concerned with the history of it rather than the culture or language so we don't need to know any classical language as we just learn a few phrases (I needed to learn a few Latin phrases for Religion, ethics and philosophy as well).

I have really enjoyed but have found it quite easy seeing as I was an average A/B GCSE student but have had nothing but A's in every assessment.

My advice is see what modules the college you are going is offering and do the same for history and make up your mind based on that.


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ScienceConfusion
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Hi there, for A level, I do English Literature, RE (Ethics and Acts of the Apostles), History and Classical Civilisation. I never actually did either history or classical civilisation at gcse so it was completely new to me, I did subjects like Art and Drama. I really love both history and classical civilisation, the stuff is similar enough and classical civilisation is very English related, so if you're good at English you'd like it! History to be honest is faaaaar more technical at a level, (I'm sitting my AS exams atm) and it's a lot of learning, we do Germany (sources) and Russia which is my fav as it's just straight forward essays. It's my bulkier subject, but it's so interesting, and if you learn everything off you'll do alright. I hope! For classical civilisation, I do Athenian democracy (exam was yesterday and it was straightforward enough) and for unit 2, homer's oddysey and I'm sure you'd enjoy it, though I find it a bit less predictable and harder but far more interesting. My school didn't actually offer it at a level, so I just taught myself the course and then entered to sit it in school, which meant no classes or homework, and I think it'll be fine, which really shows how manageable it is.It's probably my favourite a level. It does require less work than history, as we'd sooooo many essays throughout the year, but since cc isn't on my timetable, I'm not sure what it'd be like during the year. I think history and classical civilisation compliment each other really well, and the disadvantage of history for me is how much technique is needed both for sources and essays. It also depends on the marker quite a bit, and I have no idea what I'll get in the exam. It's pretty challenging and it's like the opposite of a level english as there's no independent thought it's just really rote learning (yawn). Classical civilisation is less technique. Is there any way you could do both? Like over one of your 3 definite subjects? If not then I would encourage you to pick classical civilisation, though I'm sure you'd be good at history also. Just since it'd probably be marginally easier, Good luck!!
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