The structure to use when answering history questions

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Report Thread starter 5 years ago
I have my OCR history exam on June 1st and I was wondering what structure to use when answering 6 and 10 or 16 mark questions. I was also wondering how many types of questions there will be in the OCR history exam mark wise.
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Report 5 years ago
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e.g. Describe events in the Rhineland in 1936

Here, you just get one mark for each relevant point.
This might be a general point (German re-occupation), a background clarification (Versailles had demilitarised it) or - preferably - a fact (19 Germany battalions crossed the Rhine; they had orders to retreat if opposed)

Number or bullet the four points to make it clear there are four.
Perhaps put a fifth if you can 'just to make sure'.

2. EXPLAIN HOW OR WHY - 6 marks
e.g. Explain why Hitler wanted to unite Germany and Austria.
(Remember that 'why' needs reasons, 'how' needs ways.)

The markscheme gives you up to three marks if you can give three (undeveloped) reasons, and the markscheme gioves examples of the kind of point/reason it would be prepared to accept:
eg ‘It was the place where Hitler was born.’
‘To develop a Greater Germany.’
‘To unite German speakers.’
‘To defy the Treaty of Versailles.’
‘Austria was economically weak.’
‘It was part of his foreign policy.’
Thus writing any three of those would have gained you 3 marks (which is 50% which is a 'C'-grade answer).

However, to gain higher marks, you will need to EXPLAIN HOW the point you are making led to the effect they have specified.

Thus, one reason that Hitler wanted to unite with Austria is because it would undermine the Treaty of Versailles. So I would be telling my pupils toEXPLAIN HOW uniting with Austria did undermine the Treaty ... and for good measure I would be asking them to throw in a fact (as you do for PEEparagraphs).
In reality, if you do not know how to explain, you might get away with developing your idea by adding further information.

The markscheme gives this example of a 'developed' explanation:
‘Hitler’s aims as stated in Mein Kampf were to create a Greater Germany and to overthrow the Treaty of Versailles. Anschluss had been forbidden by the Treaty and so a union would help him achieve his aims.’... and its says that two of those will get you full marks.

To be honest, I think that's a bit 'light' and I would advise that you do three like that to make sure, or - if you can - two really fully-developed, fully-explained reasons.

e.g. How far was the Treaty of Versailles responsible for the outbreak of war in 1939? Explain your answer

The lowest-level response to this question would simply be to treat it as a 'Explain how the Treaty of Versailles was responsible for the outbreak of war' type of essay (as I explained how to do above).
Amazingly, you can get up to four marks just giving 'reasons-it-was-important', and up to six marks if you can 'explain'/develop those ideas.

However, you will see that, to answer the question properly, you need to see that this is a question with two possible answers - yes it was very important, or no it was not important.
So you need a 'on the one hand... on the other...' structure for this essay.

So START by saying:
"On the one hand it could be argued that the ToV was very important in the outbreak of WWII..."
And then bash away at your reason-plus-explanations showing how the ToV helped cause WWII.

Next, however, write:
"On the other hand..."
and then list and explain/develop all the reasons it was NOT important (including all the other causes of the war).

This will get you up to 9 marks, actually.
You get the tenth for a conclusion which weighs the two sides and comes to an explained/justified conclusion one way or the other (e.g. "Thus the ToV WAS the most important factor because..."
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Report Thread starter 5 years ago
thx I appreciate the help very useful

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