Pearson Edexcel A-Level History: Aiming for A and A*

Course Code:


This new course is designed for all teachers of Pearson Edexcel A-Level History. The aim of the course is to help teachers to fine-tune students’ performances so that they can achieve the highest grades. The course will outline what is expected of high ability students and explore ways to build your teaching practice around this. The course will demonstrate practical teaching and learning ideas and approaches for developing key skills and knowledge through which able students can enhance higher level skills. We will analyse what is expected at the top end of the mark range and explore active strategies to build your teaching practice around this to effectively stretch and challenge students. It will also provide guidance on effective revision strategies and examination techniques through which high achieving students can stand out and ensure that they succeed in the final examinations.


  • Focused on identifying the demands of Grades A & A* and providing materials to help teachers prepare students effectively
  • Emphasis on teaching approaches which are most effective with able students
  • Focus on teaching approaches which stretch and challenge beyond A-Level
  • A detailed look at the different demands and types of questions
  • Materials will be provided that will allow teachers to cover the course in innovative and student-friendly ways that push the highest ability students

Grades A & A*: Key student behaviours

10.00 – 10.45am
  • The structure of the specification and using it to plan for success for the top end students
  • Exam Feedback: what does it tell us about the standards set for the top learners? How can we teach to this effectively?
  • Grades A & A*: what are the differences between these?
  • Key attributes of Grade A & A* students in the classroom and how to identify these students
  • Helping students make the links throughout the whole specification and inspiring the A* Historian
  • Developing high end skills
  • Which skills are the very hardest for A-Level historians?
  • Avoiding potential hazards: what can cost a top student their A grade?


11.45– 11.00am

Sources – The key challenges for A/A* students

11.00 – 12.00pm
  • Going beyond an assertion of value and providing an A/A* convincing argument of value
  • Avoiding formula: when to analyse tone and emphasis
  • Considering limitations and ensuring balance; effective interrogation
  • The role of cross-referencing in high level responses
  • Strategies for achieving top grades in the exam


Interpretations – The key challenges for A/A* students

12.00 – 1.00pm
  • Consideration of sub arguments in relation to the key argument; demonstrating accurate synopsis at A/A*
  • Potential advantages and pitfalls in the use of omission and how this can detract from a highlevel response
  • Promoting and supporting academic confidence in the effective evaluation of interpretations
  • Achieving A and A* on Interpretation questions


1.00 – 2.00pm

Stretching and Challenge Able Students in High quality responses for essays

2.00 – 2.45pm
  • The importance of student awareness in appreciating the differing demands of breadth and depth questions, and how to embed this in classroom practice
  • Hints to ensure the response is led with coherent judgement throughout
  • Achieving sophistication in essays; focus on the characteristics of A/A* responses
  • Handling historiography at a high level
  • Building vocabulary and developing high end skills.

Afternoon Break

2.45– 2.50pm

Finishing Touches for Grade A/A* Students

2.50– 3.15pm
  • The significance of setting a challenging question and the role of the student within this; promoting student driven ownership of the coursework and how this impacts on high-level  performance
  • What constitutes a fully analytical response for the A/A* candidate?
  • The prominence of effective selection and integration of sources and interpretations in producing a persuasive study

Exam Tactics for Reaching the Highest Grades

3.15 – 3.45pm
  •  What are the biggest challenges of the course for the A/A* learner?
  • Retention, recall and deployment. Hints for embedding chronology and coverage of key content
  • Varying commentary practice to stretch the most able
  • Revision ideas to help students produce high grade essays


London | Thursday 30 November 2023
London | Monday 18 March 2024

Please select your preferred date

London | Thursday 30 November 2023
London | Monday 18 March 2024

This course, tailored to suit, can be delivered in your school. Discuss this further with our CPD team on 01625 532974 or click below to make an enquiry.


Dr Robin Bunce: With more than ten years’ teaching experience, he has been leader of History at Long Road Sixth Form College, and a senior examiner for a major exam board. Robin is also he author of a number of History text books for publishers including Hodder and Pearson. Beyond A-Level, Robin has contributed to the Runnymede Trust’s initiatives to diversify the curriculum, and he is pursuing historical research at Homerton College, University of Cambridge.


  • Teachers of Pearson Edexcel A-Level History
  • Subject Leaders
  • Faculty Area Leaders


  • All teachers of AQA A Level History
  • Teachers looking to improve exam results
  • Heads of History
  • Heads of Humanities

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