Important update on Edexcel IGCSE History

Important update on Edexcel IGCSE History

Edexcel’s International GCSE in History has now been accredited for use by state-funded schools in the UK and is called the Edexcel Certificate in History. During the process of accreditation, the qualifications regulator, Ofqual, asked for a small number of changes to be made to the existing International GCSE specification. In order to guarantee the validity of the assessment of both courses in the future, Edexcel is updating the existing 2009 International GCSE in History specification to be identical to the Edexcel Certificate in History for first teaching from September 2012.

On 29 February, Edexcel published Issue 3 of its International GCSE History specification which includes several changes to the current one (Issue 2).  For first teaching in September 2012, Issue 3 of the IGCSE History specification will be assessed for the first time in June 2014.

What are these changes?

The key changes to be aware of are two-fold: 1) to content; and 2) to assessment.


  • In Paper 1, formerly Section A, options are now grouped into three chronological groups. Students are required to study a maximum of one option from each group. There are also forbidden combinations of groups to ensure that learners study history related to more than one country.
  • Two options have been removed from the specification:

A8: A divided union: Depression and recovery in the USA 1929-45

C1: Revolution and change in Europe 1789-1848.

  • A number of options have been extended and content in the specification has been revised accordingly. These options are:

Paper 2 A1: The French Revolution c1780-94

Paper 2 A2: The origins and causes of the First World War 1905-18

Paper 2 B4: Conflict, crisis and change: The Middle East c1919-c1994

Paper 2 B5: Conflict, crisis and change: China c1911-c1989

Paper 2 B6: Change in Africa from colonialism to independence 1939-2000.


The specification will now be assessed by means of two one-and-a-half-hour examination papers rather than a single two-and-a-half-hour paper.

The first examination that will be set on this revised International GCSE specification will be in June 2014. There will be no change to the papers that will be sat in June 2012 and June 2013 for the International GCSE in History, as students are already being prepared for these assessments. The Edexcel Certificate in History is not available for first assessment until June 2014.

How do these changes affect the Oxford Open Learning IGCSE History course?

The changes will affect both the content and assessment elements of the course.


OOL’s current IGCSE History course includes four modules based on 4 options in the specification:

  1. Development of Dictatorship: Germany, 1918-45
  2. A Divided Union: Depression and Recovery in the USA, 1929-45
  3. Colonial Rule and the Nationalist Challenge in India, 1919–47
  4. Change in Africa: from Colonialism to Independence, 1945–2000

The option: ‘A Divided Union: Depression and Recovery in the USA, 1929-45’ will be examined for the last time in June 2013 and then withdrawn. It will therefore be withdrawn from the OOL course at the end of August 2012 and replaced with a new option: ‘A Divided Union: Civil Rights in the USA, 1945-62’, ready for teaching from September 2012 in line with the new specification.

The option: ‘Change in Africa: from Colonialism to Independence, 1945–2000’ will be extended in line with sub-topics in the specification.


The mock examination included in the course will change in format to conform with assessment changes in the specification so there will be two one-and-a-half hour papers instead of a single two-and-a-half hour paper.

Would you like to study IGCSE History with Oxford Open Learning?

Find out more about the course by visiting our website, or contact one of our student advisers.  Your call is free.



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