Which History Subject Should You Study in Years 11 and 12?
For some of you, this might be a really easy decision – when I was choosing my subjects for Years 11 and 12, I knew with a fair amount of certainty that I would be studying ALL of the history subjects available to me.
For others though, this decision can be really difficult. You might only have a certain amount of units left, only want to study one history subject or you may not even know if history is what you want to pursue.
To help you out, this article will run through some of the similarities and differences of the history subjects on offer to you.
Let’s start with some similarities.
All history subjects are pretty content heavy. There are a lot of dates, people, events and general contextual information that underly every topic. Not to mention various political and social theories, historians and physical and written sources.
This can be a bit of a dealbreaker for some people – throughout the course of the two years you will be fairly inundated with information. For others though, this is just the promise of some really interesting classes!
Another similarity between the histories is the assessments. Most exams for any history subject in Year 11 and 12 will consist of some form of essay writing or extended response.
You have probably been building up towards these kind of assessments from you mandatory history classes in Years 7-10, but it is definitely something worth considering if you are the kind of person who prefers the shorter question-answer style of assessment.
Now for some differences.
ANCIENT HISTORY primarily focuses on the ways of life in different ancient civilisations.
There is a strong emphasis on archaeology and what can be learnt about ancient societies from physical and written remains. These remains and sources are key to Ancient History. Be prepared for ancient coins, pots, weapons, jewellery, bones, ruins and texts.
You’ll get to have a close look at Pompeii and Herculaneum, two cities that were obliterated by a volcanic eruption in AD79. You’ll also have a chance to learn about two more ancient societies and a key historical personality.
MODERN HISTORY looks at large events that have shaped the world in more recent history. Politics play a more important role here and there is a strong focus on cause and effect.
Historical sources are, of course, still very important in this subject and it is key that you go beyond simply recounting the event.
If you choose to study Modern History, you will be able to study the two World Wars, as well as another international conflict. You will also have a close look at a specific political movement or revolution in recent history.
Finally, HISTORY EXTENSION focuses on the study of history itself.
Here, you will be looking at different historians who have shaped how we study history. You will then apply this knowledge to a particular case study.
A really exciting part of History Extension is your major work, where you will spend the year studying a topic of your choice.
Fortunately for you, History Extension is only offered in Year 12, giving you a bit of extra time before you need to make a decision. In order to study History Extension though, you must be studying at least one other history.
Check out the video below (filmed by two total history nerds!) for a quick summary of the history subjects.