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History GCSE FAQs

Timeline of changes

Q: When does the new subject criteria come into effect?

A: First teaching for the new GCSE History specifications came into effect in September 2016.


Q: What are the changes to the GCSE History specifications?


  • There are new Assessment Objectives for A)1, AO2, AO3 and AO4.
  • Students must study three eras of history: Medieval (500-1500), Early Modern (1450-1750) and Modern (1700-present day).
  • Students must study at least 40% British History (was 25%). Students are required to study the history of a locality and the wider world.
  • There should be a thematic study over time; a period study of at least 50 years; at least one British and one wider world depth study, and a study of a historical environment.
  • There are no longer SHP or Modern World History only specifications.
  • The GCSE qualification will be 100% examined with no controlled assessment.


Q: What resources are available?

A: We have published new GCSE Student Books, a Teacher Handbook (for all the options) and a Kerboodle: Exam Practice and Revision (for all options) matched to the AQA specification. Oxford AQA GCSE History has been written and developed by an expert team led by Aaron Wilkes, an experienced head of history, and Jon Cloake, an author with examining experience. We are also publishing new GCSE Revision Guides, which will be available from spring 2018.


Q: Which topics are available?

A: A full list of titles are available here.


Q: How will the new GCSEs be assessed?

A: First examinations will take place in summer 2018:

  • The new GCSEs will be linear (100% externally examined with no controlled assessment), and all exams at the end of the course.
  • The assessment is a minimum of 3.5.