GCE A Level 9752/8814 History Syllabus

Understanding the JC A Level History Syllabus

When studying for the A Level history paper, it is first and foremost important for students to be aware of the syllabus requirements, so as to recognize the relevance and significance of studying various issues. This is a new syllabus, set to be implemented in 2017, hence it is important for students to be aware of the changes. By going through the syllabus with the students, we hope the students understand what it is required of them, both in terms of content as well as the concepts required to learn.

GCE A Level 9752 History Syllabus 2017

Understanding the JC A Level History Syllabus

When studying for the A Level history paper, it is first and foremost important for students to be aware of the syllabus requirements, so as to recognize the relevance and significance of studying various issues. This is a new syllabus, set to be implemented in 2017, hence it is important for students to be aware of the changes. By going through the syllabus with the students, we hope the students understand what it is required of them, both in terms of content as well as the concepts required to learn.

Areas of study for JC History

The scope of learning for H1 and H2 History students shares some similarity, but the examination format varies. Therefore, it is important for students taking H1 or H2 History to understand the areas of study before embarking on their revision.

For H2 History Syllabus (9752)

For H2 History, the areas of study is organized into two parts: Paper 1 and Paper 2, in which the former relates to International History, whereas the latter involves the History of Independent Southeast Asia

Paper 1: Shaping the International Order (1945 – 2000)

Theme I: Understanding the Cold War, 1945–1991 (SBQ)
Theme II: Understanding the Global Economy, 1945–2000 (Essay)
Theme III: Safeguarding International Peace and Security (Essay)

Paper 1 relates to the study of the two superpowers in the 20th Century, namely US and USSR. Students will explore the roles and interactions of the superpowers as well as other historical actors that influenced the development of the international order, following the Second World War. Students will explore the significance of roles for local and regional historical actors in the political, social, and economic aspects.

Paper 2: The Making of Independent Southeast Asia (Independence – 2000)

Theme I: Search for Political Stability (Essay)
Theme II: Economic Development after Independence (Essay)
Theme III: Regional Conflicts and Cooperation (SBQ)

Paper 2 relates to the study of newly independent states in Southeast Asia. Students will explore how key individuals and organizations respond to the influential factors that shaped the Southeast Asia we now know. Throughout the study, students will examine three different aspects that determine how countries are developed, such as the push for political, economic, and social stability in the tumultuous post-war period.

For H1 History Syllabus (8814)

For H1 History, students will only focus on the study of the International History, which is similar to the topics covered in Paper 1 for H2 History.

International History (1945 – 2000)

Theme I: The Political Effectiveness of the United Nations (SBQ)
Theme II: The Cold War and How it Shaped the World (Essay)
Theme III: The Development of the Global Economy (Essay)
Theme IV: Conflict and Cooperation (Essay)

H1 History students are required to sit for one paper only, which will assess their ability to answer questions that relate to International History. Students will examine the historical developments that shaped the course of events leading up to the establishment of the international order in the post-WWII world. The areas of study will enable students to comprehend the interconnectedness the historical events that shaped the multi-polar world.

Examination Format for History

How will students be tested on the History papers?

Generally, students who are taking either variants are expected to write essays and answer a series of source based questions (SBQ) within a given timeframe. In view of the changes to the H2 History syllabus, there is a clear distinction between the exam format for H2 and H1 History students, seen in terms of the topics covered and how the questions are set. H2 History students are required to complete two papers, whereas H1 History students only sit for one paper. Although H2 History students must study more topics, the depth of assessment is similar for H1 History students for the International History theme.

H2 History (9752) Exam Format

Paper 1: Shaping the International Order (1945 – 2000)

For Paper 1, students must complete one source-based case study (SBQ) and two essay questions. For the SBQ, students will study the given sources and answer a series of questions. The sources relate to Theme I (Understanding the Cold War).  Then, students must answer 1 out of 2 essay questions from Theme II (Understanding the Global Economy). Again, students have to answer 1 out of 2 essay questions from Theme III (Safeguarding International Peace and Security).

Students must complete Paper 1 in 3 hours. It carries 100 marks and occupies 50% of the overall grade.

Paper 2: Making of Independent Southeast Asia (Independence – 2000)

For Paper 2, students must attempt one source-based case study (SBQ) and two essay questions, which is the same format as Paper 1. The key difference is the topics tested. For the SBQ, students will answer questions that relate to Theme III (Regional Conflicts and Cooperation). For the essay questions, students must answer at least one question for Theme I (Search for Political Stability) and Theme II (Economic Development after Independence).

Students must complete Paper 2 in 3 hours and it holds 100 marks or 50% of the total grade.

H1 History (8814) Exam Format

For H1 History, the examination only involves one paper, which is separated into two sections: Section A (SBQ) and Section B (Essay).

Section A: Source Based Question (SBQ)

FoSection A requires students to read a set of sources and answer sub-questions that relate to Theme I (The Political Effectiveness of the United Nations).

Section B: Essay Writing

Section B requires students to answer three out of the given five essay questions. The essay questions will relate to Theme II (The Cold War and How it Shaped the World), Theme III (The Development of the Global Economy), and Theme IV (Conflict and Cooperation).

Section A occupies 25% of the overall grade, whereas Section B holds 75% of the total grade. The H1 History exam lasts for 3 hours.

For more information, please refer to SEAB syllabus for 2017 H2 History syllabus (9752) or H1 History syllabus (8814).

Skills & Examination Techniques

What skills do you need to excel in JC History?

To excel in A Level History, it is imperative for students to accumulate knowledge in an exam-oriented way and cultivate the essential thinking and writing skills. Although studying History is commonly recognized as a content-driven process, our tutors disagree that students must memorise facts and regurgitate the exact dates and description of key events. Instead, students must learn to discern useful knowledge from the examples and elaboration.

To prepare for the A Level History examination, students must learn to organize their materials, seen in terms of key terms, timeline (sequence of events), factor identification, impact analysis, and evaluation. These areas of discussion are essential as students will be tested in specific areas for the fundamental questions. Furthermore, students must learn to integrate knowledge and obtain a macro view of the topics to prepare for the more challenging types of essay questions and SBQs.

Histroy Examination Trends

Trends of the GCE A Level examination for JC History

Source Based Case Study (SBQ)

For the SBQs, students must learn to read the extracts with the purpose of identifying the key areas that enable them to answer the questions. Students must annotate important phrases by identifying terms, events, individuals, or organizations. Occasionally, the questions will require students to apply contextual knowledge. This implies that students must possess a strong foundation in the comprehension of historical issues and roles to be aware of the nuances in the text.

Essay Writing

For the essay writing component, the A Level History questions are increasingly cross-themed, meaning that students can no longer spot topics as before. Instead, students are expected to understand and evaluate the issues involved and are expected to write a cohesive argument. Increasingly, the questions require much more critical thinking and analytical skills than often must be found and honed beyond the classrooms of schools. Finally, students must be aware of the ever-changing demands and wants of the Cambridge examiners. To facilitate this, our history tutors will make use of the examiners’ report to help the students understand the dynamics of A level marking.

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