St Bees School



Course Overview 

The Cambridge IGCSE History syllabus looks at some of the major international issues of the 19th and 20th Centuries, as well as covering the history of particular regions in more depth. The emphasis is on both historical knowledge and on the skills required for historical research.

Learners develop an understanding of the nature of cause and effect, continuity and change, similarity and difference and find out how to use and understand historical evidence as part of their studies.

Course Modules 

The twentieth century: international relations since 1919

The content focuses on the following Key Questions:

  • Were the peace treaties of 1919–23 fair?
  • To what extent was the League of Nations a success?
  • Why had international peace collapsed by 1939?
  • Who was to blame for the Cold War?
  • How effectively did the United States contain the spread of Communism?
  • How secure was the USSR’s control over Eastern Europe, 1948–c.1989?
  • Why did events in the Gulf matter, c.1970–2000?

In addition, all candidates must also study at least one of the following Depth Studies:

  • The First World War, 1914–18
  • Germany, 1918–45
  • Russia, 1905–41
  • The United States, 1919–41

How You Will Be Assessed 

All candidates take three components. All candidates take Paper 1 and Paper 2, and choose either Component 3 or Paper 4.

All candidates take:

  • Paper 1- Written paper, 40% of overall grade (60 marks), 2 hours
    Candidates answer two questions from Section A (Core Content) and one question from Section B (Depth Studies). All questions are in the form of structured essays, split into three parts: (a), (b) and (c).
  • Paper 2- Written paper, 33% of overall grade (50 marks), 2 hours
    Candidates answer six questions on one prescribed topic taken from the Core Content. There is a range of source material relating to each prescribed topic. The prescribed topic changes in each examination session.

All candidates will take

  • Component 3 - Coursework, 27% of overall grade (40 marks)
    Candidates produce one piece of extended writing based on a Depth Study from the syllabus or a Depth Study devised by the Centre. Internally assessed/externally moderated.

University Courses and Career Paths 

In a word - plenty! Universities and employers tend to appreciate the evidential, critical, analytical and balanced essay writing skills that are encouraged in the study of History and this can enable access to a number of vocations including; teaching, the law, journalism, archiving, conservation management, archaeology, diplomacy, civil service and work in government.