OCR GCSE History A Paper 2 Black Death Advice & Help

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dwbailey
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Knowledge
Well first of all, you need to have atleast some knowledge of the Black Death although you mat be given background information on the exam.
Symptoms
Bubonic plague
Pneumonic plague
Flu like symptoms
Buboes on groin and neck
Actual causes
Fleas
International trade
What did people believe caused it?
God
Alignment of the planets – Saturn in particular
Miasma – bad smells
Jews
Why spread so quickly?
Cramped conditions in towns
Shortage of food – left people weak, lack of vitamins
Poor public health – but it was improving
No understanding of germs
Lack of medical knowledge
Impact
Population death – difficult to say with accuracy – probably a third
Shortage of labour
Rural to urban migration
Peasants Revolt eventually
Timeline
June 1348: Black Death arrives at Weymouth, Dorset.
Sept 1350: First pestilence dies out.

ESSENTIAL THINGS TO DO...
A – Answer the question
Explicitly use the words in the question to form your sentence, e.g. if it says Why are you surprised?, you say “I am surprised..”

R – Refer to the source
Whether it’s a picture or a written source you explicitly refer to it. Pick out something specific (if it’s a picture refer to a bit, if it’s written refer to a quote)

K – Knowledge
Bring in some contextual knowledge to support your answer that is NOT in the source. Don’t panic if you can’t it’s less important than in Paper 1.

X – Cross reference
Cross reference to other sources on the exam paper, even if they aren't explicitly mentioned in that question.

NOTE: Look at the total number of marks for the q. Roughly one properly
explained point per two marks (e.g. 4 to 5 lines).

Question type: What can we learn from….

Example questions:
- What impression does Source X give about XXXXX?
- How much can you learn about XXXX from Source X?

Focus of the question:
- Making inferences

Sentence starters:
- “Source A tells me… [direct link to a specific aspect of the source]. From this I
can infer…”
- “From Source A I can learn that…”

Top tips:
- Make at least ONE inference per two marks which directly link to the source
- Refer to specific bits of the source

Question type: How useful is…


Example questions:

- Which source is more useful X or Y?
- How useful is this source to a historian investigating XXXX?
- Which source is more useful X or Y?
- Study Source B. How useful is this source about evidence of ….? Use the source and your own knowledge to
explain your answer.
- Does Source A prove that… (prove questions are the same as utility!)

Focus of the question:
- Assessing the usefulness of source/s

Sentence starters:
- This source is useful because it shows … from this it can be inferred
- Source B is limited because it does tell us about … [insert your own knowledge / cross reference with another source on the paper]
- To conclude this source is useful to a [limited / great] extent because …

Top tips:
- All sources are useful but to different extent
- Refer to both sides of the argument – useful and not
- Use the source directly and your contextual knowledge
- Cross reference the source with another source from the examination paper to place it within its historical context and support your final judge
- Refer to typicality e.g is this source a one‐off/exception to the rule or is it a good example of how things were. To answer this you have to compare the source to own knowledge/other sources on the paper.

Question typeow far do you trust….

Example questions:
- How far do you trust this source?

Focus of the question:
- Considering trust in the source

Sentence starters:
- “I can trust Source A to an extent… [direct link to a specific aspect of the
source].
- “The extent to which Source A is trustworthy is debateable…”

Top tips:
- Explain why you trust and don’t trust the source
- Refer to specific bits of the source
- Cross reference at least one source with another form the examination paper to support your judgement
- To judge whether a source is trustworthy or not it this means is it reliable. To figure this out, consider motive/purpose and authorship, what was happening at the time, is the source corroborated by your own knowledge or other sources

Question type: Are you surprised by…
Example questions:
- Are you surprised by Source X?
- Does Source C make you surprised at … in Source D? Use the source and your own
knowledge to explain your answer.

Focus of the question:
- Surprising nature of the source

Sentence starters:
- I am surprised by … because … [insert a reference to the sources] This infers …
[that is supported by your own knowledge]
- However am I not surprised by… [direct reference to a specific aspect of the
source and support by your own knowledge]

Top Tips:
- Explain both sides – what you are and are not surprised by
- Use the sources directly and your contextual knowledge
- Cross reference at least one source with another form the examination paper to
support your judgement

Question type: Why was this source published…
Example questions:
- Why was this source published at the time?
- Study Source G. Why was source G published at this time? Use the source and your own knowledge to explain your answer.

Focus of the question:
- Consideration of publication

Sentence starters:
- Source G was published in … [insert the date] to … [use your knowledge to explain the historical context of the source]
- Sources G was published to inform people that … [big point]
- This is shown in Source G by … [direct link to the source and support with your own knowledge]

Top Tips:
- Use the provenance of the source, especially the date
- Directly use details from the source
- Use your own knowledge to explain the historical context of the source


Question type: Comparison questions
Example questions:
- How far does Source X prove that Source Y was wrong?
- How far do these sources disagree?
- How different are these two sources as evidence about XXXX?
- Does Source X make you surprised at Source Y?
- How similar are Sources E and F on …? Use the source and your own knowledge to explain your answer.

Focus of the question:
- Source comparison / similarities and differences

Sentence starters:
- Sources E and F are similar on … [big point]
- Source E states that … [direct link to the source] This is supported by Source F … [direct link to the source]
- However Sources E and F are different on … [big point]
- Source E states … [direct link to the source] Whilst Source F explains … [direct link to the source]

Top Tips:
- Explain at least one similarity and one difference
- Use the sources directly

Question type: The big beast question
Example questions:
- Statement. How far do the source support?
- Study all the sources. How far do the sources on the paper support the statement ….?
Use the source and your own knowledge to explain your answer. Remember to
identify the sources you use.

Focus of the question:
- Source interpretation

Sentence starters:
- I agree with this statement because … [big point] This is evidenced in Source … where it states … [support with your own knowledge]
- Source … also shows that …
- However Source … is against / opposed to … It states / infers …This is shown in Source … by … [direct link to the source] [support with your own knowledge]
- Source … also disagrees because …

Top Tips:
- Do this question first
- Clearly identify the sources you use i.e. in Source A
- Use sources which agree and disagree with the statement – at least two for each side of the debate
- Use your own knowledge to explain the historical context
- Have a clear conclusion
- There are two bonus points for reference to reliability. Only mention this twice!
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sam-bst
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Thanks! Very helpful... Couple of questions:

how can you talk about reliability all the time, like for a manuscript from the time?
what can you say if it's a secondary source?
how do you cross reference effectively?
How do you include all the sources on the final question if some aren't relevant?

thanks!!!
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dwbailey
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(Original post by sam-bst)
Thanks! Very helpful... Couple of questions:

how can you talk about reliability all the time, like for a manuscript from the time?
what can you say if it's a secondary source?
how do you cross reference effectively?
How do you include all the sources on the final question if some aren't relevant?

thanks!!!
Hello, well, you have to think, reliable for what? Ok so here's an exam scenario. You sit down and you see a medieval manuscript of people burning clothes. You aren't likely to get asked reliability for this sort of source at all which is why I'm using it.
Ok well what can it be reliable for?
Well it's from the time, ok that's one thing, but it's weak. What from the time does it show? Does it show they still blamed the supernatural and looked for them for cure? Does this cross reference with your knowledge and can it's views show in the source cross reference with other sources on the paper? Write, write, write. This paper is all about writing VALID and SUITABLE responses. So you have to think, what way can this question be asking me to interpert?
So lets look at why it might not be reliable. Well, we all know during medieval times there was a dual approach to cause and cure and the church played heavy in this. But does the manuscript show any other views?! MAKE VALID INFERENCE HERE. IT IS RELIABLE FOR SHOWING BUT HOWEVER IT ISNT FOR...
Looking at both sides will pick you up marks and will slap that examiner in the face, thinking you're a worthy candidate of high marks!

Reply 2:
I'm going to be honest I don't think you will get an awful lot of secondary sources in the exam but there is always the chance you will get them. e.g. "a historians account". It really depends on what the questions asking you. It will often ask if you're suprised by the source which I have mentioned to you how to answer. Fact of the matter is, don't get caught up on who wrote the source, does the examiner care or give you marks for it by saying a historian wrote it? No, this exam is about using the sources, dont use a source in your answer? say hello to low band 1.

Reply 3:
How to cross reference EFFECTIVELY?! well ok. Here's the situation, in the exam there will always be one or two sources that share the same view OR DISAGREE (YOU CAN CROSS REFERENCE TO PROOVE RELIABILITY) whether it'd be the amount of bishops that died from the death that another source disagrees with (this was on 2003 paper, one disagreed with other, great for questioning reliability, it was a reliability question also.... funny huh?), OR whether it be to sources showing that supernatural causes and cures still exist, CROSS REFERENCE BABY. I have made a not in my first answer (edited) that shows you where to cross reference.

Reply 4:
When I first saw this question I must say I was surprised and I have never seen this happen before but there is a first time for everything cause OCR are some sneaky people. Well, if this was to happen I would make a radical inference THAT IS VALID and leave it at that to whether it agreed or not. YOU DON'T HAVE TO USE THEM ALL. I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH. YOU ONLY NEED 2 SOURCES FOR EACH SIDE IF THIS SCENARIO EVER HAPPENS.
Hope this answered your questions.
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possum_box
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(Original post by sam-bst)
Thanks! Very helpful... Couple of questions:

how can you talk about reliability all the time, like for a manuscript from the time?
what can you say if it's a secondary source?
how do you cross reference effectively?
How do you include all the sources on the final question if some aren't relevant?

thanks!!!
Wooo e-high-five man! Doing the same exam as you tomorrow! Luckily, its no where near as long as the other one- thank god- my arse was burning after 2 hours in a hot exam hall. So wish you good luck!

PS- in question 10 all the sources bear some relevance, but if you think one of them is dodgy- then say it. Higher marks for being perceptive and linking effectively!
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97ameerah
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What do you need to know about the black death I need help do we need to know about the individuals from medicine through time or not!!
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dwbailey
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(Original post by 97ameerah)
What do you need to know about the black death I need help do we need to know about the individuals from medicine through time or not!!
You need to know about the black death only - causes, where it started, what people thought caused it (natural and supernatural), what actually caused it, and its impact.
This video covers the black death for gcse
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=St9mvUIXxR4
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sam-bst
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Okay you are literally amazing! Final questions as you seem very knowledgable, how do you stop from repeating yourself on each question? Also, how do you get top marks in the what can you learn...questions? Like, I gather you need to include what you don't learn, but how do you do that well?

Seriously you are very very kind!

Very last thing, any top tips to get an a*?
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97ameerah
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How do you revise black death
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97ameerah
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How about the 10 mark question
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sam-bst
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Just remember some of the info this thread, and they give you a background knowledge box. It's a source paper and not a knowledge paper!
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