This one day course will focus on practical strategies for teachers to be able to maximise outcomes from students whose target for their AQA GCSE History is the crucial Grades of 4 and 5. Together we will look at the skills students need to attain these critical levels, particularly Grade 5, in the new GCSE specification. The course will offer excellent, proven advice and teaching strategies that enable mid-ability students to understand historical events and ideas so as to succeed in the classroom and in the AQA examinations.


  • Develop a greater understanding of what AQA examiners are looking for at Grades 4 and 5
  • Explore strategies to support students in attaining Grades 4 and 5
  • Enhance your teaching with a sharp focus on examination success for mid-range students
  • Take away strategies to challenge mid-performing students
  • Gain an insight into the GCSE examinations and awarding process and how you can use this to improve the results of mid-ability students
COURSE DATES London Monday 11 March 2019
London Tuesday 9 July 2019
  • All teachers of AQA GCSE History
  • Directors of Learning
IN-SCHOOL You can also book this as an In-School Course
  • A specially prepared folder of 50+ pages full of detailed notes, practical advice and guidance
  • Notes prepared by the educational experts leading the course
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance
  • Two course restaurant lunch
  • Refreshments throughout the day
  • Guaranteed high quality venues


10.00 – 10.30am
Reflecting on the 2018 Examinations and Grades 4 and 5

  • AQA Grade boundaries and examiners’ reports: key areas, common themes and issues for mid-range students
  • Reflections on what students did well and the challenges for students aiming for Grades 4 and 5
  • Improving teaching and learning: what did AQA examiners say about performance at the middle of the mark range?

10.30 – 11.30am
Moving From Level Two to Level Three in the AQA mark schemes

  • What makes a ‘Grade 5’ answer?
  • From simple to developed thinking – the key things students need to do to accumulate marks
  • Supporting students making the transition from Grade 3 to Grades 4 and 5 – teaching strategies to maintain motivation and progress

11.30 – 11.45am
Discussion: coffee break

11.45 – 1.00pm
Exploring the 8 Mark Questions

  • Securing performance on the “low tariff” questions
  • How to get mid-range students to retain and utilise contextual knowledge effectively
  • Strategies for helping students deal with AQA source based questions
  • Working with interpretation questions – challenges and ideas for mid-ability students

1.00 – 2.00pm
Lunch and informal discussion

2.00 – 3.00pm
The Historic Environment Question

  • The demands of the Historic Environment question for mid-range students
  • Applying what we’ve learned to the Historic Environment question
  • Resourcing the Historic Environment and keeping Grade 4 and 5 students on track
  • The demands of the 16 mark AQA questions on mid-range learners and how to ensure success

3.00 – 3.15pm
Discussion: afternoon tea

3.15 – 3.45pm
Revision Hacks for Your Excellent Students

  • Dealing with the depth and range of the AQA History specification
  • Ways to encourage independent learning that counts with mid to less able students
  • Helping learners decode the questions and produce effective answers
  • Ensuring students meet the standard: teaching and learning ideas that enable students to achieve Grades 4 and 5 in both Papers

Summary and depart

Dr Paul Johnson

Paul is an experienced examiner, Deputy Head and trainer with more than 35 years’ teaching experience in a range of educational contexts. He is a Senior Examiner with a leading examination board, a former Principal Moderator and the author of a number of text books and articles on the craft of history teaching. He could recently be heard on BBC radio giving advice on Revision Hacks for parents and students.

View all courses led by Dr Paul Johnson >