thehistorybore
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Exams are coming up, and I don't know about you but that gives me heart palpitations; but if you're not bricking it, you're not prepared enough! I've seen a handful of exam seasons in my time and I've tried and tested a few methods of revising for History exams. So let me share what's worked for me.

METHOD A; REVISIONCEPTION

Think of the film Inception; it's a dream within a dream within a dream etc. Think of this method as notes within notes within notes etc. Here's how you do it;

- Use textbooks to compile a complete revision guide. You shouldn't simply copy out texts; engage your brain and treat it as a comprehension task and make clear notes, you'll get more out of it that way! Divide the book into chapters based on the topic that they focus on. The notes should be fairly detailed.
- Then, write a more condensed version of these notes based along the same technique; effectively, cut out words to leave the bare information.
- Repeat until you have two or three pages worth of notes for your whole course/module. You can read them the morning of the exam and it should all come flowing back to you. It did for me!

METHOD B; THE READER

You definitely have to be a 'visual learner' for this, so it may not work for all of you. Nevertheless, you should all aim to read at least one book outside your textbook, particularly for A-Level. It'll help develop your understanding of topics enormously.

Effectively; find a book that covers most of your course (there's literally millions of history books out there covering all sorts of things, so there's no excuses saying that there's no book for your course). Then close read it - no skimming. Simple and effective.

If you're doing a degree, you obviously need to read more than one book!

METHOD C; MIND MAPPING

Not something I do extensively, but it helps an awful lot of people and thus is more than worthy of mention.

Make beautiful and colourful mind maps (the more simple they are the better; don't make a wall of text. Each end of a brand should have no more than five or six words on them) on each topic and pin them up directly above your bed; make them the first thing you see in the morning, and the last thing you see in the evening. Revision owns you now. Don't forget it.

METHOD D; INTERACTIVE REVISION

Ever heard of Prezi? No? Well you should do. It's like a more exciting version of PowerPoint, and the more exciting something is the better you will remember it.

Make yourself presentations on topics and then flick through them! It's a quick and simple way to make them.

A friend of mine was a bit of a wizard when it came to video production; he used to make these excellent revision videos (which he gave to my school, rather than making them open source on YouTube, so unfortunately I cannot share them). So if that's your thing, get creative!

--------

If you have anything else that you find helpful for history revision, @ me fam! I'll add them to the OP.
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undercxver
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#2
Report 4 years ago
#2
Great tips! I got some more. thehistorybore

Condensing Content/Speeding up revision:
  • Summarise the content of each module on one sheet of paper and memorise this
  • Condense events into 3 bullet points (linking with the point above)
  • Make a list of significant events and their dates and highlight each one you manage to remember
  • Do every single past paper question
  • Plan your essays with bullet points within a minute
  • Time yourself when doing essays
  • Practice writing really fast
  • If you're struggling with content then go through a revision book.
  • If teachers tell you some sort of prediction I suggest you don't go by it and revise everything!
Source Questions:

You need to consider the following things:
  • Purpose: What's the purpose of the source? (e.g. to inform, to describe etc.)
  • Author: Who's the author of the source? Does this make them biased in any way?
  • Nature: What type of source is it? (e.g. book, report, article etc.)
  • Date: When was it published? Does the date have any significance? Is it outdated?
  • Audience: Who was the audience? How did it impact them? [this one isn't neccessary]
General questions to ask yourself:
  • How useful is the source?
  • Did the author/writer omit anything?
  • Is there any bias? -Why is there bias? How is it neutral?
AS Level/A Level History Exam Answer Structure:
Spoiler:
Show
Introduction:

Write a short introduction for your 24 marker, not the 12. Roughy explain the points you are going to discuss.

How many paragraphs should I write?

12 marker: From 3 to 4 paragraphs (excluding conclusion).
24 marker: From 5 to 6 paragraphs (excluding conclusion), though this may vary depending on how strong each point is.

What structure should my paragraph be in?

PEEL.

Point: What are you talking about in this paragraph?
Evidence: Provide evidence for what you are talking about.
Explain: Explain your evidence, what does it show?
Link: Create a link to be able to bring your essay together, this way your paragraph would sync with your next. (Neccessary for a Level 4 answer in a 12 marker and a Level 5 answer for a 24 marker)

Should I discuss significance?

Yes. Do not miss this out in a 24 marker, it should be included somewhere in your essay. Most suitable place to identify the most and least significant factor/point is in the conclusion.

Conclusion:

Summarise your points by discussing significance/success/impact. What's your opinion?

How can I achieve the top marks?
  • Include historians views on this, just remember generic views - something almost everyone believes in. A good historian to use is Andrew Marr (I always use this historian in my essay).
  • Discuss significance
  • Make sure all points have a link, don't be jumping to a different topic in your essay or it won't flow.
  • Read into what you are studying, and enjoy it. That way you get a taste of the subject and can write your essays in that sort of format.
  • Don't forget to answer the question. So easy to forget what you are talking about. Keep looking back at what the question is sot you can address that rather than going off topic.
  • Explicitly say "therefore this can/cannot be considered successful/unsuccessful"
  • Avoid a narrative approach
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thehistorybore
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#3
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#3
(Original post by undercxver)
Great tips! I got some more. thehistorybore

Condensing Content/Speeding up revision:
  • Summarise the content of each module on one sheet of paper and memorise this
  • Condense events into 3 bullet points (linking with the point above)
  • Make a list of significant events and their dates and highlight each one you manage to remember
  • Do every single past paper question
  • Plan your essays with bullet points within a minute
  • Time yourself when doing essays
  • Practice writing really fast
  • If you're struggling with content then go through a revision book.
  • If teachers tell you some sort of prediction I suggest you don't go by it and revise everything!
Source Questions:

You need to consider the following things:
  • Purpose: What's the purpose of the source? (e.g. to inform, to describe etc.)
  • Author: Who's the author of the source? Does this make them biased in any way?
  • Nature: What type of source is it? (e.g. book, report, article etc.)
  • Date: When was it published? Does the date have any significance? Is it outdated?
  • Audience: Who was the audience? How did it impact them? [this one isn't neccessary]
General questions to ask yourself:
  • How useful is the source?
  • Did the author/writer omit anything?
  • Is there any bias? -Why is there bias? How is it neutral?
AS Level/A Level History Exam Answer Structure:
Spoiler:
Show
Introduction:

Write a short introduction for your 24 marker, not the 12. Roughy explain the points you are going to discuss.

How many paragraphs should I write?

12 marker: From 3 to 4 paragraphs (excluding conclusion).
24 marker: From 5 to 6 paragraphs (excluding conclusion), though this may vary depending on how strong each point is.

What structure should my paragraph be in?

PEEL.

Point: What are you talking about in this paragraph?
Evidence: Provide evidence for what you are talking about.
Explain: Explain your evidence, what does it show?
Link: Create a link to be able to bring your essay together, this way your paragraph would sync with your next. (Neccessary for a Level 4 answer in a 12 marker and a Level 5 answer for a 24 marker)

Should I discuss significance?

Yes. Do not miss this out in a 24 marker, it should be included somewhere in your essay. Most suitable place to identify the most and least significant factor/point is in the conclusion.

Conclusion:

Summarise your points by discussing significance/success/impact. What's your opinion?

How can I achieve the top marks?
  • Include historians views on this, just remember generic views - something almost everyone believes in. A good historian to use is Andrew Marr (I always use this historian in my essay).
  • Discuss significance
  • Make sure all points have a link, don't be jumping to a different topic in your essay or it won't flow.
  • Read into what you are studying, and enjoy it. That way you get a taste of the subject and can write your essays in that sort of format.
  • Don't forget to answer the question. So easy to forget what you are talking about. Keep looking back at what the question is sot you can address that rather than going off topic.
  • Explicitly say "therefore this can/cannot be considered successful/unsuccessful"
  • Avoid a narrative approach
Excellent stuff
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Niyi Aderounmu
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#4
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I've got a shed load of pages full of notes, I should condense it into 3 pages or do mind maps?
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undercxver
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#5
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#5
(Original post by Niyi Aderounmu)
I've got a shed load of pages full of notes, I should condense it into 3 pages or do mind maps?
How confident are you feeling with the content? It might not be necessary to do so.

However if you feel the need to, you can. Though, you've got to have a fast-pace as exam are around the corner and you need to practice past paper questions thoroughly before the exam.
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D.SHA64
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#6
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#6
this is amazing
thank you!!!!!!!!1

(Original post by undercxver)
How confident are you feeling with the content? It might not be necessary to do so.

However if you feel the need to, you can. Though, you've got to have a fast-pace as exam are around the corner and you need to practice past paper questions thoroughly before the exam.
(Original post by thehistorybore)
Exams are coming up, and I don't know about you but that gives me heart palpitations; but if you're not bricking it, you're not prepared enough! I've seen a handful of exam seasons in my time and I've tried and tested a few methods of revising for History exams. So let me share what's worked for me.

METHOD A; REVISIONCEPTION

Think of the film Inception; it's a dream within a dream within a dream etc. Think of this method as notes within notes within notes etc. Here's how you do it;

- Use textbooks to compile a complete revision guide. You shouldn't simply copy out texts; engage your brain and treat it as a comprehension task and make clear notes, you'll get more out of it that way! Divide the book into chapters based on the topic that they focus on. The notes should be fairly detailed.
- Then, write a more condensed version of these notes based along the same technique; effectively, cut out words to leave the bare information.
- Repeat until you have two or three pages worth of notes for your whole course/module. You can read them the morning of the exam and it should all come flowing back to you. It did for me!

METHOD B; THE READER

You definitely have to be a 'visual learner' for this, so it may not work for all of you. Nevertheless, you should all aim to read at least one book outside your textbook, particularly for A-Level. It'll help develop your understanding of topics enormously.

Effectively; find a book that covers most of your course (there's literally millions of history books out there covering all sorts of things, so there's no excuses saying that there's no book for your course). Then close read it - no skimming. Simple and effective.

If you're doing a degree, you obviously need to read more than one book!

METHOD C; MIND MAPPING

Not something I do extensively, but it helps an awful lot of people and thus is more than worthy of mention.

Make beautiful and colourful mind maps (the more simple they are the better; don't make a wall of text. Each end of a brand should have no more than five or six words on them) on each topic and pin them up directly above your bed; make them the first thing you see in the morning, and the last thing you see in the evening. Revision owns you now. Don't forget it.

METHOD D; INTERACTIVE REVISION

Ever heard of Prezi? No? Well you should do. It's like a more exciting version of PowerPoint, and the more exciting something is the better you will remember it.

Make yourself presentations on topics and then flick through them! It's a quick and simple way to make them.

A friend of mine was a bit of a wizard when it came to video production; he used to make these excellent revision videos (which he gave to my school, rather than making them open source on YouTube, so unfortunately I cannot share them). So if that's your thing, get creative!

--------

If you have anything else that you find helpful for history revision, @ me fam! I'll add them to the OP.
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Black Rose
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#7
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(Original post by thehistorybore)
x
Great thread! :awesome:
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thehistorybore
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(Original post by Black Rose)
Great thread! :awesome:
Cheers :3
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WhitneyHouston
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Can anyone help me see the difference between Evidence and Explain in the PEEL structure, i always get confused, thanks
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EstelOfTheEyrie
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(Original post by WhitneyHouston)
Can anyone help me see the difference between Evidence and Explain in the PEEL structure, i always get confused, thanks
Evidence is the information - e.g. In 1485 Richard III lost the battle of Bosworth.

Explain - show why this information is relevant. E.g. this date is significant, as once Henry VII was crowned as King, he moved the date of his reign to begin the day before the battle, thus showing Richard III as the 'pretender' and threat to the crown, and strengthening his own position as King of England.
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MonstrousColonel
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#11
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#11
I try to condense my notes onto quizlet. It's extremely helpful for dates and definitions especially, but is also helpful for everything else. The added benefit is that it's interactive so when you feel unmotivated, you can just go on quizlet's test section and try answer your own questions for half and hour. Also, my whole class has a google doc with essay plans on it, so we have every (sort of) possible question on there and a model plan for it. We all add to each others plans and make topic notes from them.
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Leia studies
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#12
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#12
(Original post by thehistorybore)
Exams are coming up, and I don't know about you but that gives me heart palpitations; but if you're not bricking it, you're not prepared enough! I've seen a handful of exam seasons in my time and I've tried and tested a few methods of revising for History exams. So let me share what's worked for me.

METHOD A; REVISIONCEPTION

Think of the film Inception; it's a dream within a dream within a dream etc. Think of this method as notes within notes within notes etc. Here's how you do it;

- Use textbooks to compile a complete revision guide. You shouldn't simply copy out texts; engage your brain and treat it as a comprehension task and make clear notes, you'll get more out of it that way! Divide the book into chapters based on the topic that they focus on. The notes should be fairly detailed.
- Then, write a more condensed version of these notes based along the same technique; effectively, cut out words to leave the bare information.
- Repeat until you have two or three pages worth of notes for your whole course/module. You can read them the morning of the exam and it should all come flowing back to you. It did for me!

METHOD B; THE READER

You definitely have to be a 'visual learner' for this, so it may not work for all of you. Nevertheless, you should all aim to read at least one book outside your textbook, particularly for A-Level. It'll help develop your understanding of topics enormously.

Effectively; find a book that covers most of your course (there's literally millions of history books out there covering all sorts of things, so there's no excuses saying that there's no book for your course). Then close read it - no skimming. Simple and effective.

If you're doing a degree, you obviously need to read more than one book!

METHOD C; MIND MAPPING

Not something I do extensively, but it helps an awful lot of people and thus is more than worthy of mention.

Make beautiful and colourful mind maps (the more simple they are the better; don't make a wall of text. Each end of a brand should have no more than five or six words on them) on each topic and pin them up directly above your bed; make them the first thing you see in the morning, and the last thing you see in the evening. Revision owns you now. Don't forget it.

METHOD D; INTERACTIVE REVISION

Ever heard of Prezi? No? Well you should do. It's like a more exciting version of PowerPoint, and the more exciting something is the better you will remember it.

Make yourself presentations on topics and then flick through them! It's a quick and simple way to make them.

A friend of mine was a bit of a wizard when it came to video production; he used to make these excellent revision videos (which he gave to my school, rather than making them open source on YouTube, so unfortunately I cannot share them). So if that's your thing, get creative!

--------

If you have anything else that you find helpful for history revision, @ me fam! I'll add them to the OP.
Do you think I can still follow Method A and make really simple summarised short and concise notes?
Or do you think it's not worth it with only 4 months / less left until exams?
Thank you
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thehistorybore
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#13
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#13
Absolutely! I've always used that method and it's always worked for me, starting in advance always helps but with the time left you should still be able to get plenty done! It gets easier to condense the information the more you go along.
(Original post by Leia studies)
Do you think I can still follow Method A and make really simple summarised short and concise notes?
Or do you think it's not worth it with only 4 months / less left until exams?
Thank you
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Leia studies
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#14
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Need some advice ASAP on History

Topic: Paper 1: breadths study with interpretations. Option 1H: Britain transformed (1918-97)

Basically I don't know how to revise effectively?

Do I use the textbook which is in chronological order ?

OR

Do I use the teaching packs my teacher also provided which are done according to themes (first labour govt, 2nd labour govt, social welfare) etc?

Which one will the exam focus on? (Chronological or thematic?

I'm really stressed and don't know which one to do?!

Which one do you think will work better in terms of for the exam...?

Help!
Last edited by Leia studies; 1 year ago
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thehistorybore
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#15
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#15
(Original post by Leia studies)
Need some advice ASAP on History

Topic: Paper 1: breadths study with interpretations. Option 1H: Britain transformed (1918-97)

Basically I don't know how to revise effectively?

Do I use the textbook which is in chronological order ?

OR

Do I use the teaching packs my teacher also provided which are done according to themes (first labour govt, 2nd labour govt, social welfare) etc?

Which one will the exam focus on? (Chronological or thematic?

I'm really stressed and don't know which one to do?!

Which one do you think will work better in terms of for the exam...?

Help!
I can't say for certain as I'm not a marker, and I've got no idea what the exam boards want these days but I believe you'd be more likely to get a better understanding/come up with meaningful and original arguments by looking thematically. Anyone can rote-learn a chronology but the mark of a true history essay is a sustained argument and a well balanced consideration of the appropriate source material. Sorry if the answer is a bit vague, I did my A-Levels about five years ago now so I'm not in touch with what's required - happy to answer any specific questions on technique you may have!
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