History IGCSE

History IGCSE

Interpret and understand how historical events have shaped our world, through questions such as: ‘What happens when democracy fails?’ or ‘Why did the Holocaust take place?’. Explore international relations, the USA, British Society and Germany (1918-45) and understand some of the seismic shifts in 20th Century history.

Why St Mary's

You will enjoy plenty of opportunities to learn about a wide number of topics and countries, through the study of international relations, and key events in the USA, Britain, and Germany in the last century.

Supported and inspired by specialist teachers, you will build your understanding of how historical events have shaped today's world.

Our enriched learning opportunities can include:

  • Regular, tailored support for all students through opportunities to practise key skills, individual feedback and one-to-one support through drop-in sessions at History Extra

  • Lively and varied lessons with plenty of debate taught by teachers who write and regularly publish for GCSE History magazines

  • Support in developing independent research and thinking skills in preparation for coursework and for further study after GCSE

Course overview

You will prepare for two exams (Paper 1 and 2)

Paper 1 - Depth Studies (1 hour 30 minutes)

  • Germany: development of a dictatorship (1918-45)
  • A world divided: superpower relations (1943-72)

Paper 2 - Investigation and Breadth Studies (1 hour 30 minutes)

  • The USA (1918-41)
  • Society, rights and equality in Britain, 1914-2010



  • Paper 1 - 1.5 hours written examination (50% of the qualification)
  • Paper 2 - 1.5 hours written examination (50% of the qualification)
At a glance
You will enjoy this course if you ...
  • Enjoy the challenge of explaining why things happened

  • Have an interest in the past

  • Like making sense of information and using it express your own opinions

  • Don't mind that there isn't always a 'right' or 'wrong' answer

What our teachers say...

“People think history is set in stone, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Our understanding of the past is constantly and rapidly changing. This makes the study of history surprising, sometimes shocking, but always fascinating and intriguing.”

“Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others.” Rosa Parks, USA Civil Rights Activist

By studying past events, history enables us to move forward and to learn from past mistakes. History shows us what it is to be human, it encompasses the devastation of war, the triumph of hope over adversity and reveals the fabric upon which today’s society is built.

History opens up a whole world of opportunities for the future and is widely-valued by employers and universities alike. Studying History allows students to develop and become confident in vital skills such as:

  • analysis and synthesis of complex ideas
  • creating an effective argument
  • thinking critically about evidence
  • carrying out independent research
  • structuring extended written arguments

Girls who study History at A Level can go on to study it a university level. History is also a strong supporting subject for, and has links to, a wide range of courses including: Law, Politics and International relations, English, Geography, Philosophy, Modern Foreign Languages and Sociology. Girls who have studied History have gone on to equally diverse careers in: law, teaching, the civil service, education, journalism, heritage, librarianship and archival work, advertising, and politics.

Our results

Achieve the results you need to fulfil your dreams.

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Beyond St Mary's

Our Senior School students go on to pursue exciting futures.

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