Cambridge International AS & A Level History

AS & A Level History is a flexible and wide-ranging syllabus covering modern history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The syllabus builds upon skills gained at Cambridge and develops lifelong skills including understanding issues and themes within a historical period.

The emphasis is again on both historical knowledge and on the skills required for historical research. Learners develop an understanding of cause and effect, continuity and change, similarity and difference, and use historical evidence as part of their studies. Both at AS and A Level learners can select from topics on European, American or International history.

Teachers choose which periods to focus on, allowing them to build a course that reflects their learners’ interests and staff specialisms, or which is relevant to the local or regional context.

We recommend students that register to this course, have an IGCSE certificate in First Language English with a minimum mark of C or an IGCSE certificate in English as a Second Language with a minimum mark of A. If registering students have completed a curriculum that is not Cambridge International in grades 9 and 10, they will be required to sit an entrance examination at our High School Campus.

Link to full Syllabus:

Key Benefits

Cambridge International AS & A Level History is accepted by universities and employers as proof of knowledge and understanding of History. Successful candidates learn to evaluate historical evidence, present clear and logical arguments, assess different interpretations of an argument and develop an understanding of historical concepts such as cause and effect, similarity and difference and continuity and change.

Our approach in Cambridge International AS & A Level History encourages learners to be:

  • confident, developing the ability to analyse, explain and evaluate historical issues and arguments
  • responsible, acquiring knowledge and skills through independent reading and enquiry –
  • reflective, reflecting on their growing understanding of how history works and making links with new areas of study
  • innovative, improving their historical understanding through dealing with sources and interpretations of past events from different perspectives
  • engaged, developing their interest in history and broadening their knowledge and understanding of different perspectives.

Key Concepts

Key concepts are essential ideas that help students develop a deep understanding of their subject and make links between different aspects. Key concepts may open up new ways of thinking about, understanding or interpreting the important things to be learned.

The key concepts for Cambridge International AS & A Level History are:

  • Cause and consequence

The events, circumstances, actions and beliefs that have a direct causal connection to consequential events and developments, circumstances, actions or beliefs. Causes can be both human and non-human.

  • Change and continuity

The patterns, processes and interplay of change and continuity within a given time frame.

  • Similarity and difference

The patterns of similarity and difference that exist between people, lived experiences, events and situations in the past.

  • Significance

The importance attached to an event, individual or entity in the past, whether at the time or subsequent to it. Historical significance is a constructed label that is dependent upon the perspective (context, values, interests and concerns) of the person ascribing significance and is therefore changeable.

  • Interpretations

How the past has been subsequently reconstructed and presented by historians.

Recognition and Progression

Cambridge Internationals expertise in curriculum, teaching and learning, and assessment is the basis for the recognition of Cambridge International programmes and qualifications around the world. Every year thousands of students with Cambridge International AS & A Levels gain places at leading universities worldwide. They are valued by top universities around the world including those in the UK, US (including Ivy League universities), Europe, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

UK NARIC, the national agency in the UK for the recognition and comparison of international qualifications and skills, has carried out an independent benchmarking study of Cambridge International AS & A Level and found it to be comparable to the standard of AS & A Level in the UK. This means students can be confident that their Cambridge International AS & A Level qualifications are accepted as equivalent, grade for grade, to UK AS & A Levels by leading universities worldwide.

Cambridge International AS Level History makes up the first half of the Cambridge International A Level course in History and provides a foundation for the study of History at Cambridge International A Level. Depending on local university entrance requirements, students may be able to use it to progress directly to university courses in History or some other subjects. It is also suitable as part of a course of general education.

Cambridge International A Level History provides a foundation for the study of history or related courses in higher education. Equally it is suitable as part of a course of general education.

Examinations take place in June and November.


The following are the preferred resources at Istanbul International School:

  • Cambridge AS/A Level History 9389 Coursebook
  • Variety of resources determined by teacher