kiiten
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Hi,

Im doing AQA AS level history but im not doing well and dont get support from the teachers. Im doing the Tudors and Russia. Does anyone have any exam structure or technique?
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Freddy Eddy
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Hi.

Are you actually going to be preparing for the AS exams or are you just preparing for the exams in two years time? At my college, we are doing no AS exams in linear subjects and so are solely focusing on the exam technique for the full A Level. The AS papers are slightly different so what I have may not be 100% relevant.

I am doing the crusades and the wars of the roses btw
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kiiten
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(Original post by Freddy Eddy)
Hi.

Are you actually going to be preparing for the AS exams or are you just preparing for the exams in two years time? At my college, we are doing no AS exams in linear subjects and so are solely focusing on the exam technique for the full A Level. The AS papers are slightly different so what I have may not be 100% relevant.

I am doing the crusades and the wars of the roses btw
The teacher has assumed that everyone is doing the full a level and the mock i am doing in Jan is for a level. BUT, yes i am doing AS level but we wont be going over exam technique for a few months yet. - sorry if that confused you.

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Freddy Eddy
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What I have mainly applies to the breadth study and not the depth study. I believe the 25 mark questions are very similar on both, only dealing with different lengths of time, but the 30 mark questions are quite different as in the depth study the provenance of the sources has to be considered.

For the 25 mark essay questions; these are all answered in generally the same way. Sometimes you will be given a time period that you have to compare the start and the end whilst others will be more looking at the general period that they give you. IIRC, the time period given will be around 30 years and you must have lots of key information from throughout this period. The structure will always be the same, however.

I'll use an example question from my topic to help me explain this better.

‘The military skill of Western Christians was key to their successes against their Muslim opponents.’Assess the validity of this view with reference to the years 1095 to 1119.

Introduction:
This is really important. What you must do here is give a clear view to the question. This line of argument must then be sustained throughout the essay. For the question given, you would have to say how valid this view is (basically whether or not you agree with it) and then put forward other reasons for, in this case, reasons for Crusader success 1095-1119.

Including the issue given in the question, you should have 3-4 arguments. You then should have enough knowledge to write a paragraph on each of these lines of argument. Of course, it should already be mentioned in the introduction which argument you find the most convincing. In this case, I would say that Muslim disunity was a bigger reason for Frankish success and I would also consider external aid from the likes of Byzantium and Italian city states.

Main Body:

We have our 3 arguments for reasons for Frankish success; those being Military Strength, Muslim Disunity and External Aid. The first paragraph will always be the one considering the issue in the question, which in this case is Frankish Military Skill.

Each paragraph must do several things. First of all, you will need to keep the question in mind. You must use a large range of precise evidence, and be able to use this evidence to counter-argue points that you have made. You then must evaluate what you write throughout.

At the beginning, end and preferably middle of each paragraph, you will have to mention the question. An easy way to do this would just take a snippet from the question, using the examiners language, and just keep mentioning it. In this case, I would use the wording 'key to Frankish success' a lot. This is useful for keeping you on track, making sure that you are actually answering the question given. The only way you can really get a U in the exam is if you don't answer the question given; don't go through the trauma of a family member a few years ago when she worked very hard and got a U in an exam.

You must then use evidence to back up each of the arguments that you have. The evidence you have must be precise! I have been told that at least 40 precise (and accurate) pieces of information must be used in order to get the best marks. Much revision should be spent on getting such details in your head. If you know your material perfectly, it will flow onto the page allowing you to spend more time getting on to the actually difficult evaluation. The information must also be from throughout the time period given by your question, showing that you have an awareness of the historical context. It is also useful to know the arguments of certain historians and use them in your essay. A place where this is particularly useful in the crusades topic would be the Segregation vs Harmonious Relationship argument regarding Frankish settlement in Outremer. Thanks for reminding me to revise the Historian's names.

You are then going to counter-argue that. Obviously, the argument that you find the fewest number of flaws in is going to be the one that you say is the most convincing, but that doesn't mean that it has no flaws. You must have specific facts to back up your counter arguments.

The final, and most difficult, thing that you will have to do throughout your essay is the evaluation. You need to explain why each piece of evidence you have contributes to, in this case, Frankish success against the Muslims. This is the most difficult. It is also good to evaluate using the time period given, saying something like 'External aid was only useful in the early part of the time period until Bohemond's taking of Antioch in 1098, therefore it cannot be concluded that external aid was key through all of 1095-1119'

As a more concise and ordered thing for the main body paragraphs:
  • Say how significant the reason was to the issue in the question.
  • Use knowledge to support this reason and use examples from across the time period.
  • Evaluate this knowledge to show how it supports the argument.
  • Counter-argue using knowledge to show weaknesses of the reason.
  • Evaluate the entire reason then refer back to the question.
Do that 3 or 4 times, depending on the question. I would always consider the issue in the question first, no matter what. Afterwards, it is personal preference, though I prefer to use my strongest argument next.

Conclusion

This must again say how important the issue in the question is and say which argument is strongest. It is probably a good idea to show why it was stronger than all other reasons too, addressing them individually.

If you can blend evidence, counter-argument, evaluation and reference back to the question you should have fantastic essays. Please be aware that I have by no means cracked it and am mainly just reiterating what I have been told. Also be aware that I am a random guy on the internet and not the Gospel . Your teachers are useful resources so make sure that you make great use of them. The use of the crusading examples was mainly for my own benefit btw; substitute your own examples in if you want

I have probably waffled far to much now. I will see what things I have for the source essays tomorrow.
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kiiten
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Thank youu!! 😊 im not really sure if im doing a breadth or depth study or both. But i think i will probably get a 25 mark ques like you said where you assess the validity of a statement. For other ques you are given 2 sources (AS) and i think you have to talk about how informative they are about a paticular subject. At GCSE i was told to discuss content, origin and purpose but at a level we havent been properly told a structure (plus i moved schools).
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Freddy Eddy
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(Original post by kiiten)
Thank youu!! 😊 im not really sure if im doing a breadth or depth study or both. But i think i will probably get a 25 mark ques like you said where you assess the validity of a statement. For other ques you are given 2 sources (AS) and i think you have to talk about how informative they are about a paticular subject. At GCSE i was told to discuss content, origin and purpose but at a level we havent been properly told a structure (plus i moved schools).
You will be doing both. IIRC, the Tudors will be the breadth study and Russia the depth. What content have you done so far?

Remember that you have to have precise evidence, reference to the question, evaluation and a counter-argument to all of your points. The argument should be sustained throughout the work.

Edit: I believe that the full A Level source questions have 3 sources.
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kiiten
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(Original post by Freddy Eddy)
You will be doing both. IIRC, the Tudors will be the breadth study and Russia the depth. What content have you done so far?

Remember that you have to have precise evidence, reference to the question, evaluation and a counter-argument to all of your points. The argument should be sustained throughout the work.

Edit: I believe that the full A Level source questions have 3 sources.
Yes they do but for AS you only look at 2 sources. Russia - i have studied the exact same content at GCSE, for a level im just starting the civil war (in class). Tudors - just done religion, humanism and arts.
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hhealey13
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(Original post by Freddy Eddy)
What I have mainly applies to the breadth study and not the depth study. I believe the 25 mark questions are very similar on both, only dealing with different lengths of time, but the 30 mark questions are quite different as in the depth study the provenance of the sources has to be considered.

For the 25 mark essay questions; these are all answered in generally the same way. Sometimes you will be given a time period that you have to compare the start and the end whilst others will be more looking at the general period that they give you. IIRC, the time period given will be around 30 years and you must have lots of key information from throughout this period. The structure will always be the same, however.

I'll use an example question from my topic to help me explain this better.

‘The military skill of Western Christians was key to their successes against their Muslim opponents.’Assess the validity of this view with reference to the years 1095 to 1119.

Introduction:
This is really important. What you must do here is give a clear view to the question. This line of argument must then be sustained throughout the essay. For the question given, you would have to say how valid this view is (basically whether or not you agree with it) and then put forward other reasons for, in this case, reasons for Crusader success 1095-1119.

Including the issue given in the question, you should have 3-4 arguments. You then should have enough knowledge to write a paragraph on each of these lines of argument. Of course, it should already be mentioned in the introduction which argument you find the most convincing. In this case, I would say that Muslim disunity was a bigger reason for Frankish success and I would also consider external aid from the likes of Byzantium and Italian city states.

Main Body:

We have our 3 arguments for reasons for Frankish success; those being Military Strength, Muslim Disunity and External Aid. The first paragraph will always be the one considering the issue in the question, which in this case is Frankish Military Skill.

Each paragraph must do several things. First of all, you will need to keep the question in mind. You must use a large range of precise evidence, and be able to use this evidence to counter-argue points that you have made. You then must evaluate what you write throughout.

At the beginning, end and preferably middle of each paragraph, you will have to mention the question. An easy way to do this would just take a snippet from the question, using the examiners language, and just keep mentioning it. In this case, I would use the wording 'key to Frankish success' a lot. This is useful for keeping you on track, making sure that you are actually answering the question given. The only way you can really get a U in the exam is if you don't answer the question given; don't go through the trauma of a family member a few years ago when she worked very hard and got a U in an exam.

You must then use evidence to back up each of the arguments that you have. The evidence you have must be precise! I have been told that at least 40 precise (and accurate) pieces of information must be used in order to get the best marks. Much revision should be spent on getting such details in your head. If you know your material perfectly, it will flow onto the page allowing you to spend more time getting on to the actually difficult evaluation. The information must also be from throughout the time period given by your question, showing that you have an awareness of the historical context. It is also useful to know the arguments of certain historians and use them in your essay. A place where this is particularly useful in the crusades topic would be the Segregation vs Harmonious Relationship argument regarding Frankish settlement in Outremer. Thanks for reminding me to revise the Historian's names.

You are then going to counter-argue that. Obviously, the argument that you find the fewest number of flaws in is going to be the one that you say is the most convincing, but that doesn't mean that it has no flaws. You must have specific facts to back up your counter arguments.

The final, and most difficult, thing that you will have to do throughout your essay is the evaluation. You need to explain why each piece of evidence you have contributes to, in this case, Frankish success against the Muslims. This is the most difficult. It is also good to evaluate using the time period given, saying something like 'External aid was only useful in the early part of the time period until Bohemond's taking of Antioch in 1098, therefore it cannot be concluded that external aid was key through all of 1095-1119'

As a more concise and ordered thing for the main body paragraphs:
  • Say how significant the reason was to the issue in the question.
  • Use knowledge to support this reason and use examples from across the time period.
  • Evaluate this knowledge to show how it supports the argument.
  • Counter-argue using knowledge to show weaknesses of the reason.
  • Evaluate the entire reason then refer back to the question.
Do that 3 or 4 times, depending on the question. I would always consider the issue in the question first, no matter what. Afterwards, it is personal preference, though I prefer to use my strongest argument next.

Conclusion

This must again say how important the issue in the question is and say which argument is strongest. It is probably a good idea to show why it was stronger than all other reasons too, addressing them individually.

If you can blend evidence, counter-argument, evaluation and reference back to the question you should have fantastic essays. Please be aware that I have by no means cracked it and am mainly just reiterating what I have been told. Also be aware that I am a random guy on the internet and not the Gospel . Your teachers are useful resources so make sure that you make great use of them. The use of the crusading examples was mainly for my own benefit btw; substitute your own examples in if you want

I have probably waffled far to much now. I will see what things I have for the source essays tomorrow.
This was so helpful thank you! Had a mock this morning that was a disaster
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Freddy Eddy
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(Original post by hhealey13)
This was so helpful thank you! Had a mock this morning that was a disaster
At least we can still improve. I have my mock on Friday and am feeling reasonably confident.
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