Sarah Ward This issue of Modern History Review

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Volume 17, Number 4, April 2015

Exam focus

OCR: Nazi Germany

Sarah Ward

This issue of Modern History Review included an article on resistance in Nazi Germany (pp. 2–5). Here Sarah Ward looks at a sample exam question on the topic of Nazi Germany, supplying a sample candidate answer with examiner commentary and assessment.


Candidates for AS history study a period of either British or European and world history. Each study topic contains six key issues. Questions are set on three of the key issues, and some questions may draw on material from more than one key issue. Candidates are expected to demonstrate a good depth of factual knowledge which should be used to support an argument and make a balanced judgement about the issue in the question.

Candidates are expected to adopt an analytical approach to their responses. It is advised that you use your opening paragraph to set out your view. You should follow this through and develop your argument throughout the rest of the essay. You must make sure that your conclusion agrees with your introduction. Strong answers will reinforce the line of argument suggested in the first paragraph.

Candidates should also be aware that marks for AO1a are for the use of knowledge and not simply its deployment. This means knowledge is rewarded most highly when it is used to drive the argument forward. Simple description will not be awarded high marks. Higher-level answers will make judgements about the issues under discussion, with the strongest answers making interim judgements at the end of each paragraph, before reaching an overall conclusion.

As outlined in this issue of Modern History Review, Nazi Germany is the focus of two AS modules in OCR’s specification. These are module F962, study topic 8: Democracy and dictatorship in Germany, 1919–63, and module F964, study topic 4: Dictatorship and democracy in Germany, 1933–63.

Here we will consider unit F962, Democracy and dictatorship in Germany, 1919–63. In the exam you must answer two out of three questions. Each is worth 50 marks. There are 100 marks available in this examination. The exam is 1 hour 30 minutes long and you are advised to spend 45 minutes on each question — this includes time for planning.

We will look a sample question in the style of OCR F962 European and world history period studies. There is a sample candidate answer with examiner commentary in red, followed by an assessment.

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