Edexcel GCSE History Paper 2: change to exam paper layout

9 November 2018

This update contains some important news about a change to the layout of Edexcel GCSE History Paper 2, which will come into effect for exams in summer 2019 onwards.

Read more

After listening to your feedback and reviewing our operational processes for the summer 2018 exam series, we have decided to split Paper 2 into two physical question and answer booklets that will be taken on the same day, in the same sitting.

The combined Paper 2 period study and British depth study will now comprise two separate question and answer booklets: the first part being the period study, and the second the British depth study. As well as the two question and answer booklets for Paper 2, candidates will also be provided with a separate information sheet on the day of the exam which includes key information such as the total exam time for the paper.

At the start of the exam, candidates will be provided with the information sheet and the two question and answer booklets. The total exam time for Paper 2 will remain 1 hour 45 minutes so candidates will have exactly the same time to respond to the questions as in summer 2018.

There are no changes to the Paper 2 topics or questions themselves, the timing of the examination or the application of the mark scheme.

We are updating the specification and sample assessment materials to reflect this change. New versions will be available on the qualification specification page by early December.

Why are we making this change to Paper 2?

The advantage of this change for students is that they will only be provided with questions for topics they have studied - eg students entered for Early Elizabethan England 1558-88 will only see questions relevant to this topic. Feedback from last summer suggested that some students were confused by the presence of two British depth topics and some even attempted to answer questions for the topic they were not prepared for. We hope that there will be more clarity in the new paper design for your students.

Having two separate question papers makes it easier for us to allocate examiners to specific topics within Paper 2. It also means that differences in demand between the British depth topics can be taken into account more precisely during the awarding process.

New paper codes

In order to make this change we have amended the paper codes.

Paper 2 British depth studies will continue to be referred to as Papers B1-B4 in the specification (the B stands for British):

  • B1: Anglo-Saxon and Norman England, c1060-88
  • B2: The reigns of King Richard I and King John, 1189-1216
  • B3: Henry VIII and his ministers 1509-40
  • B4: Early Elizabethan England 1558-88

The Paper 2 period studies will no longer be called papers 20-29 in the specification and instead will be referred to as Papers P1-P5 (the P stands for Period):

  • P1: Spain and the ‘New World’, c1490-c1555
  • P2: British America 1713-83: empire and revolution
  • P3: The American West, c1835-c1895
  • P4: Superpower relations and the Cold War 1941-91
  • P5: Conflict in the Middle East, 1945-95

In Paper 2 students will continue to sit one period study (P1-P5) and one British depth study (B1-B5).

The Paper reference codes for the combined topics are as follows:

Paper 2 reference Period study British depth study
2A P1: Spain and New World
B1: Anglo-Saxon and Norman England
2B P1: Spain and New World B2: King Richard I and King John
2C P1: Spain and New World B3: Henry VIII and his ministers
2D P1: Spain and New World B4: Early Elizabethan England
2E P2: British America B1: Anglo-Saxon and Norman England
2F P2: British America B2: King Richard I and King John
2G P2: British America B3: Henry VIII and his ministers
2H P2: British America B4: Early Elizabethan England
2J P3: The American West B1: Anglo-Saxon and Norman England
2K P3: The American West B2: King Richard I and King John
2L P3: The American West B3: Henry VIII and his ministers
2M P3: The American West B4: Early Elizabethan England
2N P4: Superpower relations B1: Anglo-Saxon and Norman England
2P P4: Superpower relations B2: King Richard I and King John
2Q P4: Superpower relations B3: Henry VIII and his ministers
2R P4: Superpower relations B4: Early Elizabethan England
2T P5: Conflict in the Middle East B1: Anglo-Saxon and Norman England
2U P5: Conflict in the Middle East B2: King Richard I and King John
2V P5: Conflict in the Middle East B3: Henry VIII and his ministers
2W P5: Conflict in the Middle East B4: Early Elizabethan England

Changes to entry codes

We have also amended the entry codes. New entry codes are now in operation for summer 2019 entries. You must make sure you provide your exams officer with the correct code in order to ensure your students receive the correct combination of Paper 2 topics.

The new entry codes consist of two letters (eg AA) to differentiate them from the old alphanumeric codes (eg A2); to remove any possibility of incorrect entries based on the old codes; and to differentiate them from the above Paper reference codes.

As before, the first digit of the new entry code is a letter determined by the combination of Paper 1 and Paper 3 topics:

Paper 1: Thematic study and historic environment Paper 3: Modern depth study Entry code digit 1
10: Crime and punishment / Whitechapel 30: Russia and the Soviet Union A
10: Crime and punishment / Whitechapel 31: Weimar and Nazi Germany B
10: Crime and punishment / Whitechapel 32: Mao’s China C
10: Crime and punishment / Whitechapel 33: USA conflict at home and abroad D
11: Medicine / British sector of Western Front 30: Russia and the Soviet Union E
11: Medicine / British sector of Western Front 31: Weimar and Nazi Germany F
11: Medicine / British sector of Western Front 32: Mao’s China G
11: Medicine / British sector of Western Front 33: USA conflict at home and abroad H
12: Warfare / London and the Second World War 30: Russia and the Soviet Union J
12: Warfare / London and the Second World War 31: Weimar and Nazi Germany K
12: Warfare / London and the Second World War 32: Mao’s China L
12: Warfare / London and the Second World War 33: USA conflict at home and abroad M

The second digit is now a letter determined by the choice of specific Paper 2 topics. It corresponds to the Paper 2 reference code for each combination of topics.

Paper 2 reference Period study British depth study Entry code digit 2
2A P1: Spain and New World
B1: Anglo-Saxon and Norman England A
2B P1: Spain and New World B2: King Richard I and King John B
2C P1: Spain and New World B3: Henry VIII and his ministers C
2D P1: Spain and New World B4: Early Elizabethan England D
2E P2: British America B1: Anglo-Saxon and Norman England E
2F P2: British America B2: King Richard I and King John F
2G P2: British America B3: Henry VIII and his ministers G
2H P2: British America B4: Early Elizabethan England H
2J P3: The American West B1: Anglo-Saxon and Norman England J
2K P3: The American West B2: King Richard I and King John K
2L P3: The American West B3: Henry VIII and his ministers L
2M P3: The American West B4: Early Elizabethan England M
2N P4: Superpower relations B1: Anglo-Saxon and Norman England N
2P P4: Superpower relations B2: King Richard I and King John P
2Q P4: Superpower relations B3: Henry VIII and his ministers Q
2R P4: Superpower relations B4: Early Elizabethan England R
2T P5: Conflict in the Middle East B1: Anglo-Saxon and Norman England T
2U P5: Conflict in the Middle East B2: King Richard I and King John U
2V P5: Conflict in the Middle East B3: Henry VIII and his ministers V
2W P5: Conflict in the Middle East B4: Early Elizabethan England W

Example of how to calculate entry code

Entry code digit 1

Medicine / British Sector of Western Front AND Weimar and Nazi Germany = first entry code digit F

Entry code digit 2

Superpower relations AND Early Elizabethan England = second entry code digit R

The entry code for this combination would be FR.

Entry code calculator

To help confirm entry codes we are working on an entry code calculator which will be available on our qualification page in December.

We have also notified your exams officer of this change and our account specialists are on hand to help them with any queries relating to this.

The change will be reflected in the online Information Manual, which exams officers refer to for key information. The relevant section of this document can be found here:

{{ gatDoctitle }}

{{invalidUserName}}
{{invalidUserMail}}
{{errorMessage}}

FAQs

When will this change come into effect?

The change comes into effect immediately for the summer 2019 exam series. The new entry codes are now in operation and the specification and sample assessment materials will be updated to reflect this change by early December.

Will the timetabling of the exam change as Paper 2 is now in two parts?

No - the exam will still take place on the afternoon of 6 June 2019.

Will there be any changes to the examination time for Paper 2?

No – there will be no changes to the total examination time for Paper 2.

Students will continue to have 1 hour 45 minutes to answer the questions in their chosen period study and British depth study options – the questions will just be separated into two question and answer booklets.

How will question papers be packaged for centres?

Paper 2 exam papers will come in three separate packs.

  • Pack 1 – the candidate information sheet containing key information such as total exam time and the combination of topics for examination.
  • Pack 2 – the period study question paper and answer booklet for the option entered.
  • Pack 3 – the British depth study question paper and answer booklet for the option entered.

On the day of the exam candidates must be provided with one copy of each document. Centres entering candidates for different options within Paper 2 need to ensure that each student is provided with the correct combination of Paper 2 topics.

How will the exam questions be numbered?

The structure of Paper 2 will be the same as in summer 2018.
Period study will be the same as 2018 and consist of questions 1-3.

The numbering of the questions for British depth study will however be slightly different in 2019, and will consist of question 1 parts (a), (b) and (c)(i) and (ii).

Can students be given each section of Paper 2 at a time to answer in the examination?

No – both period study and British depth study booklets must be handed to the students at the beginning of the examination along with the information sheet. It is up to students how they divide their time across the booklets. However as period study and British depth study are worth 32 marks each, students may wish to allocate 50 minutes for each area of study, and five minutes to check their responses.

Does the information sheet need to be handed in at the end of the examination?

No – candidates only need to hand in their completed question paper and answer booklets for the Period Study and Depth Study. They do not need to hand in the information sheet.

Should invigilators collect both booklets at the end of the exam or collect them as and when candidates complete each part?

Both booklets should be collected at the end of the exam.

Do candidates need to attach the two question paper and answer booklets together at the end of the examination?

No - the question and answer booklets should be packed and returned to Pearson separately as they will be scanned and marked separately. The candidates’ marks for each part will be combined at a later date when the responses have been marked.

Are any further changes to the specification likely?

There will be no further changes to the specification for examination in Summer 2019. We will continue to listen to your feedback and carefully analyse performance data in future series.

Why is it necessary to change the entry codes?

The entry code must have two digits and there are not enough codes available with an alphanumeric system to cover all of the individual topics. We also wanted to avoid the possibility of someone making an incorrect entry using old codes so the decision was taken to use two letters (eg AA) instead.

Will each topic in the specification be marked and awarded separately?

Yes – all topics will be marked and awarded separately. In summer 2018 we recruited examiners to mark across the early-modern British depth studies or medieval British depth topics. We will now be able to recruit examiners for each individual topic in the specification.

Will students get a total mark for each part of Paper 2?

No - the students’ total mark for Paper 2 will be their combined mark for the Period study and British depth study.

The notional grade boundaries for Paper 2 will be reported at Paper level for each possible combination of period study and British depth study.

Teachers will still be able to use ResultsPlus to see how students have performed on individual questions across Paper 2.

Subject advisor

Mark Battye

History
Call me :
UK: 020 7010 2186
Intl: +44 (0)20 7010 2186
Twitter :
Mark Battye, History subject advisor
What do you think?
Close