History A Level without a GCSE in the subject?

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twhiddy
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I'm taking English Lit and I hear History is a really good traditional subject to go with it. I know I'll work hard enough to catch up on the basics and I love reading so I feel I'll be able to tackle a textbook. Although I don't want to be bombarded with work, so I wanted to know if it's advised to do History A Level without having a GCSE in the subject?
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mauricesylvester
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I did History GCSE and got a D, so I obviously didn't take it as A level. My school however doesn't require GCSE to take the A-Level course, so they obviously don't deem it essential.

Not very useful, but hopefully it might help.


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username1292215
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(Original post by twhiddy)
I'm taking English Lit and I hear History is a really good traditional subject to go with it. I know I'll work hard enough to catch up on the basics and I love reading so I feel I'll be able to tackle a textbook. Although I don't want to be bombarded with work, so I wanted to know if it's advised to do History A Level without having a GCSE in the subject?
I took History at GCSE and got an A*. However the step up in difficulty is big so I don't really find my GCSE History helpful with A level history. Especially as answers have to be more detailed in A level.

So you will be fine as long as you have an interest in history and like writing.
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javari112
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Yeah you can! I'm currently doing A Level history, and although I did it at GCSE, I have friends that didn't, and they're doing fine. The content for history is honestly not that difficult - especially if you enjoy the topic - it's literally a case of memorization. BUT answering exam questions will be difficult without GCSE knowledge, especially the source questions. With exam technique, I feel like you pretty much build upon what you already know from GCSE, e.g. you can get away with using the same stock phrases in GCSE source questions, and still get a decent mark (which is what I did) but that's certainly not the case at A Level - your answers have to be much more sophisticated. Ultimately, if you think you'd enjoy history then take it, but you will have to work on exam questions. Don't pick it cause you think it'll look good, because you'll end up hating it!
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Exceptional
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I didn't do it at GCSE and got an A at A-level. My modules were AA (AS), and A*B at A2. The consensus in my class was that GCSE didn't help them at A-level.

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Blancosdos
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(Original post by Exceptional)
I didn't do it at GCSE and got an A at A-level. My modules were AA (AS), and A*B at A2. The consensus in my class was that GCSE didn't help them at A-level.

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Greetings fellow TSR member

I would like to enquire what exam board did you do at A Level(i'm in the same predicament as OP,because i didn't do GCSE History either,although i do find the subject interesting)
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Exceptional
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(Original post by Blancosdos)
Greetings fellow TSR member

I would like to enquire what exam board did you do at A Level(i'm in the same predicament as OP,because i didn't do GCSE History either,although i do find the subject interesting)
OCR, which isn't done too readily. But my school has switched to AQA now because it's supposedly easier.

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twhiddy
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(Original post by Exceptional)
I didn't do it at GCSE and got an A at A-level. My modules were AA (AS), and A*B at A2. The consensus in my class was that GCSE didn't help them at A-level.

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wow! what exam board are you doing?
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twhiddy
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(Original post by javari112)
Yeah you can! I'm currently doing A Level history, and although I did it at GCSE, I have friends that didn't, and they're doing fine. The content for history is honestly not that difficult - especially if you enjoy the topic - it's literally a case of memorization. BUT answering exam questions will be difficult without GCSE knowledge, especially the source questions. With exam technique, I feel like you pretty much build upon what you already know from GCSE, e.g. you can get away with using the same stock phrases in GCSE source questions, and still get a decent mark (which is what I did) but that's certainly not the case at A Level - your answers have to be much more sophisticated. Ultimately, if you think you'd enjoy history then take it, but you will have to work on exam questions. Don't pick it cause you think it'll look good, because you'll end up hating it!
Thank you for such a detailed answer! I feel like i'll enjoy it because I love reading historical fiction (obviously the course will be the real historical happenings!). In the new year I'll go back to school and further inquire on the course syllabus. I feel like History will really help me with essay writing for my choice in taking English Lit!
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Exceptional
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(Original post by twhiddy)
wow! what exam board are you doing?
Check the post above this for an answer.

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twhiddy
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(Original post by Exceptional)
Check the post above this for an answer.

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Thank you! Did you find catching up with the content hard having not done GCSE?
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Exceptional
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(Original post by twhiddy)
Thank you! Did you find catching up with the content hard having not done GCSE?
Nope because as you'll find out during the A-level, exam technique and essay writing skills are the things that'll get you the marks necessary for high grades.

Plus, history is incredibly broad. The topics you cover at A-level are unlikely to be the same as GCSE, and even of they are, it doesn't give a significant advantage.

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twhiddy
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(Original post by Exceptional)
Nope because as you'll find out during the A-level, exam technique and essay writing skills are the things that'll get you the marks necessary for high grades.

Plus, history is incredibly broad. The topics you cover at A-level are unlikely to be the same as GCSE, and even of they are, it doesn't give a significant advantage.

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Is the exam solely based on essay writing? Because essays are the only types of exams I seem to be successful in, unlike exams based on remembering things.
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Exceptional
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(Original post by twhiddy)
Is the exam solely based on essay writing? Because essays are the only types of exams I seem to be successful in, unlike exams based on remembering things.
You need knowledge, but it's nothing in comparison to the quality of your exam technique to secure a good grade. All the knowledge I needed for my 2nd AS exam fit on a page of A4. A2 consisted of an exam that allowed all of your notes to be brought in with you, and the other aspect was made of coursework.

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twhiddy
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(Original post by Exceptional)
You need knowledge, but it's nothing in comparison to the quality of your exam technique to secure a good grade. All the knowledge I needed for my 2nd AS exam fit on a page of A4. A2 consisted of an exam that allowed all of your notes to be brought in with you, and the other aspect was made of coursework.

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Thank you so much for all your help!!
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Blancosdos
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(Original post by Exceptional)
OCR, which isn't done too readily. But my school has switched to AQA now because it's supposedly easier.

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Oh.My new college does OCR History
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