What’s it all about?
Historians are fearless explorers of the past. They investigate past politics, societies, cultures, languages, health, art, education, money, conflicts and more, look at how things have developed over time and connect the dots to understand how we got where we are today. Historians are trained to look for bias and prejudice in all the evidence they study. They know that human beings often have strong views on many subjects, which may affect the statements they make. There is no other subject that deals so well with sorting out what is useful and reliable evidence and what must be sifted out than History.
What skills will I need to be successful?
As a history student, you will never experience the events that you study; instead you have to build up a picture from the evidence that has been left. You have to become skilled at asking questions, sometimes awkward questions; you have learned not to take everything at face value. You have to develop empathy and understanding of the actions and achievements of others; you have to be prepared to put your case and argue it well; you have to use evidence to draw conclusions and make judgements. It is also very important to be well-organised, and willing to make detailed notes from your lessons and research.
Where can it take me in the future?
History A Level is required to study History at university, and it is seen as excellent preparation for degrees in English Literature, Law, Politics and many others. It combines well with most essay-based subjects, and can also give a good alternative perspective for students taking more scientific or mathematical routes. The skills of a good historian are highly desirable in many different careers and A Level History is excellent training for any career where you have to use evidence or make decisions, especially where those decisions affect other people.