[Exam Cram] OCR are here to answer all your A-Level and GCSE History exam questions!

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Evil Homer
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It's Exam Cram 2019!

This half term we have an amazing offer for you all currently working through your exam season. Ask your exam board the questions you need to make that final push through your revision. That's right, this half term we are offering you the chance to talk to your exam board and get the help you need this half term on TSR. This thread is for the 30th of May 2019 or in other words.......


History Day !!!

Post below your questions and OCR will reply! Ask about specific issues you are having with your revision, topics that you are struggling with or anything about the exams and the exam format themselves! Unfortunately there are some rules so we can make this thread work for everyone

1.) No asking what is in the up and coming exam, the exam board won't answer no matter how desperate you are!


2.) No asking for low boundaries! This isn't up to how the examiners are feeling on that day. Questions around grade boundaries are fine though

3.) Keep it civil !

You can start getting your questions in now and OCR will be come through and answer them Good luck for the rest of your exams guys!
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Nibblet27
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If there was one thing you wanted to tell all the students about to take History A-level what would it be? Whats your top bit of advice?
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camhosko4
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Is there a mistake you often see in the Tudor source question (30 marks) which you'd recommend to avoid making?

Also, for the source questions and the authors of the individual sources, is there any way you could recommend to research more about the people who write the sources?
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OCR Exam Board
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(Original post by camhosko4)
Is there a mistake you often see in the Tudor source question (30 marks) which you'd recommend to avoid making?

Also, for the source questions and the authors of the individual sources, is there any way you could recommend to research more about the people who write the sources?
Hi

One of the things we’ve seen in the past is that the attribution hasn’t been read, or at least engaged with. The source question requires you to look at provenance of the source, the content of the source as well as looking at what the source is actually saying. All three of those need to be looked at for each source - missing out an aspect is clearly going to impact the overall quality of the response. It's not an expectation that you are going to know the author of each source - but what is important is that you use that attribution, looking at when it was written, by who etc... and that should guide you in your evaluation of the provenance aspect (which hopefully helps answer your second question!).

As a whole, and I hope it is useful if I break down the requirements of the sources question, our advice is that you would like look at some or all of the following when evaluating the provenance:
Who wrote the source?
When was the source written?
Was the writer in a position to know?
What is the tone or language of the source?
What is the purpose of the source?
What is the nature of the source?
You should be able to get some or all of those things from the source and its attribution.

In terms of the content, we have advised in the past that you would likely be looking at:
What is the view of the source about the issue in the question?
How typical is the view of the source?
What own knowledge do I have that supports the view in the source?
What own knowledge do I have that challenges the view in the source?
All of those, together with what the source is actually saying, should give you enough to make a judgement about the sources utility.

In terms of other 'mistakes' though none of these are common, it is important that you answer the question set (this applies to every question of course!!). Don't answer the question you wish we'd written - answer the question we have. True for all, but particularly in sources it would become easy to just evaluate the source without any context and this would likely then look like a sources exercise where your saying everything you know about the source, but without any purpose or focus - clearly the context given in the question provides that focus, so it's really important that you answer the question set!

The other thing to remember about the source question is that you don't need to group the sources together (though of course you can do). You can take each source sequentially, one at a time, and work through it evaluating its provenance, content etc... in relation to the issue in the question.

You might have seen our guide to assessment – if not, well worth a read: https://www.ocr.org.uk/Images/373399...1-2-and-3-.pdf. It’s written for both teachers and students, so I hope it will prove of some use.

Hope that helps and good luck in all of your exams.

Grant
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Anthos
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I do GCSE OCR B History. For the 18 markers (or 20 marker for Norman Conquest), does your answer have to be balanced (with your argument as well as your counterargument) or can it be an unbalanced answer?
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(Original post by Anthos)
I do GCSE OCR B History. For the 18 markers (or 20 marker for Norman Conquest), does your answer have to be balanced (with your argument as well as your counterargument) or can it be an unbalanced answer?
Hi

The responses should be balanced in that they show an understanding of both sides of the argument / use factors other than the one named. This won't necessarily have to be an even split – so for example it could be 2 arguments for and 2 (2+2) arguments against, and could be 3 arguments in favour and 1 against (3+1). I use four things as an example - as typlically last summer we saw students write four (2+2 or 3+1) - it could easily be more though of course, though unlikely, in the time given, be much less.

If I use the 2018 paper as an example – one of the Norman essay questions asked:

According to historian David Howarth in his book 1066 the Year of the Conquest, “It took William five years of ruthless oppression to bring the country under his power.” How far do you agree with this view?

You could easily take a 2+2 approach here and use two examples of ruthless oppression (say the Harrying of the North and the destruction of areas close to London) and two examples of other methods (use of pardons and deals made with local lords for example). Alterantively you could use the harrying of the north, areas and London and say down in the southwest and then use one example from the other side. You do need to use both sides of the argument though – so ‘balanced’ in terms of using both sides, but not necessarily ‘balanced’ in terms of 2 for and 2 against as above.

Hope that helps and good luck with your exams

Grant
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camhosko4
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thanks, very helpful
(Original post by OCR Exam Board)
Hi

One of the things we’ve seen in the past is that the attribution hasn’t been read, or at least engaged with. The source question requires you to look at provenance of the source, the content of the source as well as looking at what the source is actually saying. All three of those need to be looked at for each source - missing out an aspect is clearly going to impact the overall quality of the response. It's not an expectation that you are going to know the author of each source - but what is important is that you use that attribution, looking at when it was written, by who etc... and that should guide you in your evaluation of the provenance aspect (which hopefully helps answer your second question!).

As a whole, and I hope it is useful if I break down the requirements of the sources question, our advice is that you would like look at some or all of the following when evaluating the provenance:
Who wrote the source?
When was the source written?
Was the writer in a position to know?
What is the tone or language of the source?
What is the purpose of the source?
What is the nature of the source?
You should be able to get some or all of those things from the source and its attribution.

In terms of the content, we have advised in the past that you would likely be looking at:
What is the view of the source about the issue in the question?
How typical is the view of the source?
What own knowledge do I have that supports the view in the source?
What own knowledge do I have that challenges the view in the source?
All of those, together with what the source is actually saying, should give you enough to make a judgement about the sources utility.

In terms of other 'mistakes' though none of these are common, it is important that you answer the question set (this applies to every question of course!!). Don't answer the question you wish we'd written - answer the question we have. True for all, but particularly in sources it would become easy to just evaluate the source without any context and this would likely then look like a sources exercise where your saying everything you know about the source, but without any purpose or focus - clearly the context given in the question provides that focus, so it's really important that you answer the question set!

The other thing to remember about the source question is that you don't need to group the sources together (though of course you can do). You can take each source sequentially, one at a time, and work through it evaluating its provenance, content etc... in relation to the issue in the question.

You might have seen our guide to assessment – if not, well worth a read: https://www.ocr.org.uk/Images/373399...1-2-and-3-.pdf. It’s written for both teachers and students, so I hope it will prove of some use.

Hope that helps and good luck in all of your exams.

Grant
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cgj300399
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OCR Unit 3 A level - 10 marker advice for high quality answers
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TaySwiftie13
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Hi, advice for getting an A or A star in the new spec ancient history? im really struggling with all the content we need to know and remembering which source said what. thank you
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OCR Exam Board
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(Original post by cgj300399)
OCR Unit 3 A level - 10 marker advice for high quality answers
Hi

Unit 3 doesn't have any 10 mark questions? do you mean unit 2 - the comparison question? If so then remember it is basically a short essay, shouldn’t take longer than 15 minutes to answer. The best advice I can give is to stick to a three section / paragraph approach. In this first one, analyse the first factor and explain it’s relative important (in relation to the issue in the question), second paragraph do the same with the second factor and then a conclusion reaching a supported judgement as to which is more important. Don’t waste time with an introduction or scene setter, get straight to the meat of the question. For each of the factors, consider 2 or 3 points for each and try to avoid making assertions – we’re looking for a supported judgment reached through using relevant and accurate material. We’ve provided advice on what we would consider to be a strong response to these questions – and it would definitely be worth looking through our guide to assessment (https://www.ocr.org.uk/Images/373399...1-2-and-3-.pdf). In summary, it boils down to the following:

• Show a consistent focus on the question.
• These answers will focus on the issue in the question and not write about the topic in more general terms.
• Strong answers will consider a range of issues and will certainly discuss those that are central to a particular issue or topic.
• The answer will have a clear and consistent argument; the learner will clearly explain their view about the issues or factors in the question and support their argument by reference to precise, accurate and relevant material.
• Judgements should be about the issue in the question, linking the material back to the actual question and they will avoid introducing new ideas.
• In assessing the relative importance of the two factors or issues answers will explain why a factor or issue is more or less important, it will not simply be asserted.
• A supported judgement will be deemed to have been reached only if the judgement has been supported by relevant and accurate material, not simply asserted.
• Strong answers will not be descriptive and they will avoid irrelevance.

Hope that helps and good luck in all of your exams.

Grant
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fish finger fan
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Hi I do OCR B for GCSE history, quick question, why is paper 2 before paper 1?
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(Original post by fish finger fan)
Hi I do OCR B for GCSE history, quick question, why is paper 2 before paper 1?
Hi

Ultimately, it comes down to two primary factors, assessor time and specification layout.

Whilst it might be the shorter of the three papers, it can take longer to mark as our assessors need additional time to become familiar with the site chosen for the responses. History Teachers submit a form to us to gain approval for each individual site and assessors use those forms, in conjunction with any other material they might need during the course of the marking. Given this takes a little longer to do we want to make sure they have the maximum time they can to mark the scripts.

I appreciate it seems a little odd on the surface, but the other factor at play is the specification itself. Each topic in the specification is ordered in the way we anticipated most schools to approach the teaching of the qualification. You begin in year 10 with the more familiar British history, say Crime and Punishment in the Autumn and the Normans in in the Spring, leaving the Summer term to do the History Around Us topic – when hopefully the weather is a little better to actually do a trip without getting frozen or pummelled by rain! Indeed, I recall once from my own teaching days trooping a group of year 10s around a village in near Baltic conditions, not a popular move on my part! Term 1 and 2 in year 11 are then given over to the Wider World studies, which are often less familiar, say the Vikings and the Crusades for example. Not to say every school will approach it in that way, but does seem to be the norm.

That being said as the specification is ordered in that way, the paper numbers need to follow that pattern. So though the numerical order is 1,2 and 3 – it doesn’t follow that pattern in terms of when the exams are actually sat. If you end up taking our A level history you’ll likely see something similar – unit 3 tends to be sat first as it’s the longest paper and needs longer to mark, though is usually taught in schools as the last topic as it also tends to be the most complex of the three examined units.

While I’m on the subject of History Around Us – a colleague wrote a blog last year about four key things to remember when revising for this topic -https://www.ocr.org.uk/blog/four-key-things-when-revising-gcse-history-around-us/] https://www.ocr.org.uk/blog/four-key-things-when-revising-gcse-history-around-us/[/url] - contains some useful tips. It’s also worth looking at the SHP website - http://www.schoolshistoryproject.co.uk/resource/3-gcse/ - it has some great revision ideas and exercises you might want to look at.

Hope that helps and good luck with your exams!

Grant
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fish finger fan
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(Original post by OCR Exam Board)
Hi

Ultimately, it comes down to two primary factors, assessor time and specification layout.

Whilst it might be the shorter of the three papers, it can take longer to mark as our assessors need additional time to become familiar with the site chosen for the responses. History Teachers submit a form to us to gain approval for each individual site and assessors use those forms, in conjunction with any other material they might need during the course of the marking. Given this takes a little longer to do we want to make sure they have the maximum time they can to mark the scripts.

I appreciate it seems a little odd on the surface, but the other factor at play is the specification itself. Each topic in the specification is ordered in the way we anticipated most schools to approach the teaching of the qualification. You begin in year 10 with the more familiar British history, say Crime and Punishment in the Autumn and the Normans in in the Spring, leaving the Summer term to do the History Around Us topic – when hopefully the weather is a little better to actually do a trip without getting frozen or pummelled by rain! Indeed, I recall once from my own teaching days trooping a group of year 10s around a village in near Baltic conditions, not a popular move on my part! Term 1 and 2 in year 11 are then given over to the Wider World studies, which are often less familiar, say the Vikings and the Crusades for example. Not to say every school will approach it in that way, but does seem to be the norm.

That being said as the specification is ordered in that way, the paper numbers need to follow that pattern. So though the numerical order is 1,2 and 3 – it doesn’t follow that pattern in terms of when the exams are actually sat. If you end up taking our A level history you’ll likely see something similar – unit 3 tends to be sat first as it’s the longest paper and needs longer to mark, though is usually taught in schools as the last topic as it also tends to be the most complex of the three examined units.

While I’m on the subject of History Around Us – a colleague wrote a blog last year about four key things to remember when revising for this topic -https://www.ocr.org.uk/blog/four-key-things-when-revising-gcse-history-around-us/] https://www.ocr.org.uk/blog/four-key-things-when-revising-gcse-history-around-us/[/url] - contains some useful tips. It’s also worth looking at the SHP website - http://www.schoolshistoryproject.co.uk/resource/3-gcse/ - it has some great revision ideas and exercises you might want to look at.

Hope that helps and good luck with your exams!

Grant
Thank you, that’s really useful.
Last edited by fish finger fan; 2 years ago
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(Original post by TaySwiftie13)
Hi, advice for getting an A or A star in the new spec ancient history? im really struggling with all the content we need to know and remembering which source said what. thank you
Hi

Ancient History is actually part of our classics suite (together with Classical Civilisations, Latin and Greek) so whilst Ancient History is not part of the history suite, I have had a word with our resident classicist and he has suggested the following advice:

In general terms do remember to read the questions carefully and answering the question on the paper would be key as would is the importance of planning before starting to write their answer.
In terms of timings, please do remember the following:
30 mark period study essay: around 45 minutes,
20 mark interpretation question: around 30 minutes with a few minutes spent reading the passage and breaking down the key arguments the historian is putting forward, and thinking about how convincing these arguments are
12 mark source utility question: between 15-20 minutes
36 mark depth study essay: between 50-55 minutes

I’d also emphasise the need to evaluate what you can actually learn from the ancient sources you have used in your answer rather than just taking what the ancient sources say at face value and a failure to do this will impact the mark received.

It would be well worth looking at some of the candidate exemplars on the website:

https://www.ocr.org.uk/Images/530772...ek-history.pdf and https://www.ocr.org.uk/Images/530773-component-group-2-roman-history.pdf

These can provide additional insight into the higher-grade responses – the commentaries that go with each script provide a great insight into why a particular mark scored as it did.

Hope that helps and good luck with your exams

Grant (and Alex – the Classic Subject Advisors)
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username3602024
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Hi OCR,

what would you say is some good exam technique for literally all the questions in GCSE
I do OCR B Migration, Elizabethans, Nazis and Mughals

Thank you,
Krishna
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(Original post by Krishna1601)
Hi OCR,

what would you say is some good exam technique for literally all the questions in GCSE
I do OCR B Migration, Elizabethans, Nazis and Mughals

Thank you,
Krishna
Hi

For all the questions? Let us see what I can do (and apologies for length of this (c.1200 words!), but you did ask about all! so here goes):

For the one mark questions – they are worth one mark – do not waste time on them writing mountains. One word might do it for many of them – certainly no more than a short sentence. This type of question tests basic recall of knowledge studied and therefore no further development is needed.

For the 9 mark ‘clear and organised summary’ questions – this needs to be more than just description of the focus of the question – any attempt to analyse should be credited. The phrase 'that analyses' that appears in the question is important. 'Clear and organised' means that some attempt at logical coherence has been done. Using concepts like were things worse or better for different groups, were they different, similar, causation, consequence, significance – these are important here as the question, in part, tests these second order concepts. Last year we typically saw answers being supported by three or more valid examples.

The third question is worth 10 marks and will ask about a specific second-order concept, e.g. what was the experience of migrants in Britain during the first and Second World War? Explaining and analysing will be much more important than just describing or deploying knowledge of the period in question. Often people ask 'how many' dates, events, impacts etc must be included in order to reach the top levels. It would be better to ask 'how much do you need to do with a particular date, event, impact, in order to move into the top levels. Typically, we saw last year (and that question was taken from last summer’s paper) that students tended to write three or more reasons with explanation of experiences.

I’ve mentioned the 18 (and 20) mark questions a bit further up – these are more classic essay questions – much like with the 10 mark one, explaining and analysing is important here.

On the depth study part, question 6a is a point-based question – 1 mark for identifying a relevant and appropriate way, 1 for a basic explanation and 1 for a development of that explanation.

For 6b, the best advice is to remember the specific focus of the question, not just the topic in general. So on last summer’s paper the interpretation had a bit on dancing and a valid line of enquiry would be to ask what other types of dances there were apart from Morris dances and jigs and what other pastimes people had, like the theatre. A decent paragraph would suffice for this.

For question 7 – make sure you engage with both the how far they differ and the what might explain any differences – it’s easy to forget to do both aspects – but this isn’t important – it’s not just about what the source says, it’s the purpose/audience that is also important here – so read the attribution carefully!

Some revision tips for the history around us is mentioned in a post above – but do remember to engage with the full question. There is a criteria for each site study in the specification – questions are drawn from 2 or more of them so make sure you read the question carefully and answer both parts – it is a single essay, though, not two or more mini essays, so weave the response together and keep referring back to the question. In addition – the site needs to be used – we saw a number of responses last year that did not really use the site in the answers – make sure you are using it!

The period study (Mughals in your case) follows the same pattern as the thematic study (Migration) so the same advice applies.

For the depth study – do not just describe what the source says or where it comes from, but also say what we can learn from this source. Do not just tell us what it cannot tell us either – limits of the source are only creditable if used to help say what the source can tell us. We know a source about the Nazi party in 1933 isn’t going to tell us anything about the impact of Total War, but it might (and using the example from last summer’s question paper, tell us that the source is limited because it shows Hitler’s view of how Germany should be, and this is not necessarily how many people felt –most had not voted for the Nazis at the last election. So actually, the source tells us the Nazis were aware of the need to drum up support. There is no requirement to mention limitations though – so just make sure you tell us what it tells you about the issue in the question!

For question 7 on that paper – make sure you use both sources and the interpretation. You should outline both positives and limitations from the sources/interpretations, but again no reward is given for raising any old concern or for bland or stock comments about the provenance. However, valid comments about the message, purpose, context, ability to see, nature and origin of the sources (and perhaps interpretations) are valid ways of assessing utility. In terms of the actual content of the sources, no source will ever not be useful at all, so they key is to pick out what information is useful from each source or interpretation, and again here inferences might be made by students. As with previous, no reward can be given for raising concerns over the limitations unless this is explicitly used to help to say how it affects usefulness for the context given.

Each source or interpretation will often give one or more aspects of information relevant to the question, and then in the conclusion, an overall judgement can be reached about the usefulness of all the sources. Remember as well that that judgement needs to be made – it can be useful to make lots of interim judgements as you go – the word sustained appears in the mark scheme as well – this basically means ‘pick a judgement and stick to it’. If you spend the entire essay arguing how useful they are, but then in the conclusion say they are not actually that useful, it is not a sustained answer. In fact – that’s true of any essay question really – we see a few responses that will say things like “I totally agree with this point of view because of X however I totally disagree because of Y” this kind of begs the question – well, what is your argument??? It is totally fine to either agree with a statement in an essay, or disagree, or anywhere in between, both sides would need to be examined still but whether you agree or not is up to you and forms the basis of your response.

One final bit – make sure you answer the question set – not the question you wish we had set. It is always worth taking stock of what the question is actually asking you and doing a quick plan before launching into a response. Make sure you’ve understood what is being asked – break down the question if you have to make sure you’ve got the message – that includes dates in a question – if it’s asking about 1933-1939 – don’t include things that happened outside of that as it’s not relevant.

Finally, as I mentioned in a response further up – it’s well worth looking at the blog for history around us (https://www.ocr.org.uk/blog/four-key...ory-around-us/) which contains some useful tips. It is also worth looking at the SHP website - http://www.schoolshistoryproject.co.uk/resource/3-gcse/ - some great revision ideas and exercises for exam techniques you might want to look at - they've also created there own assessment guide: http://www.schoolshistoryproject.co.uk/ocr-b-shp-assessment-guide/.

I really hope that helps – and good luck in all of your exams!

Grant
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Hi OCR
for paper 1 next monday (history around us) do we need to know every single detail about the buildings and every single date? can i just give a brief explanation of the building instead of going into details?

also, have you got any advice for the 12 markers (elizabethans) and 15 markers (nazi)?
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(Original post by Nibblet27)
If there was one thing you wanted to tell all the students about to take History A-level what would it be? Whats your top bit of advice?
Hi

There are so many interesting topics that you might learn about. As well as the more familiar parts of history like the Tudors, or Nazi Germany, specifications offer topics like Genghis Khan, pre-colonial African history, the Witchcraze and the Renaissance. If I could say one thing I would urge anyone about to take up history at A Level to make sure they read around the topics. In the same way that GCSE is a step up from Key Stage 3 - A Level is a step up again. There are often less different topics to learn – say 3 or 4 topics rather than 5 for GCSE, but the level of depth is much greater and I think that makes them more interesting. You can get your teeth into issues like the extent of the Mongol rule in the Golden Horde and the reasons for the persecutions of ‘witches’ in Salem. Indeed – there are over 50 different topics available on the OCR A Level History qualification. The level of skills is a step up again as well – the things you have done with sources and interpretations in the past are really just starting points – more layers are added and getting used to those will take time.

What seems overwhelming at first, gets easier with time and practice. I was, to put it quite bluntly, a pretty terrible student in year 12. Way more interested in socialising than studying. I guess that will likely resonate with a lot of people out there! I regret that now, as it made year 13 much harder. I still have my notes from my A levels, tucked away in a box in my parents attic – when I look back at them, year 12 notes are basically non-existent – even less then I remembered them being! Year 13 meant I had to do a lot off my own back, reading around the subject, learning all the bits I didn’t learn the first time and it definitely added to the pressure, things I could have, and should have, done in year 12 and would have made it much easier.

So my advice would be, A levels are harder than GCSEs, but you are older and wiser by the time you take them, don’t let it pass you by, but get stuck in and embrace them – if there is any pre-reading you can do before you start, do it. Indeed, in a day of podcasts and audiobooks, you can listen you way through most of them on trains or at night. At university I used to listen to recordings of lectures while playing FIFA – a great way to absorb information without even realising it! When you start the course, keep good notes, do any homework set and practice writing responses – it’s worth it in the end. And always make sure – if there is anything you don’t understand, never, ever be afraid to ask the question. Your teachers are there to support you as are your friends – you’re all in it together after all so don’t be an island. Yes it will be hard work, but it will be worth it in the long run.

Great question - thanks for asking!

Grant
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#19
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#19
(Original post by sqrt of 5)
Hi OCR
for paper 1 next monday (history around us) do we need to know every single detail about the buildings and every single date? can i just give a brief explanation of the building instead of going into details?

also, have you got any advice for the 12 markers (elizabethans) and 15 markers (nazi)?
Hi

I've put some advice for those questions in a post earlier, which I hope you will find of use. As for the History Around Us, I don't think we can reasonably expect you to know every single detail and every single date - what we do expect is see evidence of some precise knowledge though. We do not expect a list of key events, people and changes made to the site, covering the entirety of the programme of study taught. It is also worth remembering that examiners and assessors are aware of the amount of time you have to complete this paper - only up to half an hour per question. This means that it is the quality of the argument being presented, and how closely you answer the question asked, that are of utmost importance. A question that asks both about challenges and overcoming these challenges therefore requires both parts to be answered well in order to reach the top levels, and we found that students in the past often did the former rather better than the latter. But listing changes made to the buildings of the site over time does not in itself explain the challenges - do these changes hide, change or reorder original appearance? Do the changes made to the site give a false impression of the situation when the site was first created? Why are these changes significant? etc...

Examiners will be looking for a focused, well-argued answer to the question - they will not be counting how many different periods, buildings, sources, types of people are mentioned. What you do with the information is more important. A well-organised answer that focuses perhaps on only three or more developed points but goes into depth and explores the question in relation to these features will score much more highly than an answer that tries to cram in as much knowledge as possible, but doesn't explain, contextualise or develop these points. Vagueness is also a feature of answers that try to do too much - better to stick to fewer themes, ideas and points, but develop each of them fully. We are looking for you to pick out the most appropriate features of their site for each question, and explore a few of these in depth, in order to answer the question.

Hope that helps and good luck in your exams!

Grant
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#20
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#20
(Original post by OCR Exam Board)
Hi

For all the questions? Let us see what I can do (and apologies for length of this (c.1200 words!), but you did ask about all! so here goes):

For the one mark questions – they are worth one mark – do not waste time on them writing mountains. One word might do it for many of them – certainly no more than a short sentence. This type of question tests basic recall of knowledge studied and therefore no further development is needed.

For the 9 mark ‘clear and organised summary’ questions – this needs to be more than just description of the focus of the question – any attempt to analyse should be credited. The phrase 'that analyses' that appears in the question is important. 'Clear and organised' means that some attempt at logical coherence has been done. Using concepts like were things worse or better for different groups, were they different, similar, causation, consequence, significance – these are important here as the question, in part, tests these second order concepts. Last year we typically saw answers being supported by three or more valid examples.

The third question is worth 10 marks and will ask about a specific second-order concept, e.g. what was the experience of migrants in Britain during the first and Second World War? Explaining and analysing will be much more important than just describing or deploying knowledge of the period in question. Often people ask 'how many' dates, events, impacts etc must be included in order to reach the top levels. It would be better to ask 'how much do you need to do with a particular date, event, impact, in order to move into the top levels. Typically, we saw last year (and that question was taken from last summer’s paper) that students tended to write three or more reasons with explanation of experiences.

I’ve mentioned the 18 (and 20) mark questions a bit further up – these are more classic essay questions – much like with the 10 mark one, explaining and analysing is important here.

On the depth study part, question 6a is a point-based question – 1 mark for identifying a relevant and appropriate way, 1 for a basic explanation and 1 for a development of that explanation.

For 6b, the best advice is to remember the specific focus of the question, not just the topic in general. So on last summer’s paper the interpretation had a bit on dancing and a valid line of enquiry would be to ask what other types of dances there were apart from Morris dances and jigs and what other pastimes people had, like the theatre. A decent paragraph would suffice for this.

For question 7 – make sure you engage with both the how far they differ and the what might explain any differences – it’s easy to forget to do both aspects – but this isn’t important – it’s not just about what the source says, it’s the purpose/audience that is also important here – so read the attribution carefully!

Some revision tips for the history around us is mentioned in a post above – but do remember to engage with the full question. There is a criteria for each site study in the specification – questions are drawn from 2 or more of them so make sure you read the question carefully and answer both parts – it is a single essay, though, not two or more mini essays, so weave the response together and keep referring back to the question. In addition – the site needs to be used – we saw a number of responses last year that did not really use the site in the answers – make sure you are using it!

The period study (Mughals in your case) follows the same pattern as the thematic study (Migration) so the same advice applies.

For the depth study – do not just describe what the source says or where it comes from, but also say what we can learn from this source. Do not just tell us what it cannot tell us either – limits of the source are only creditable if used to help say what the source can tell us. We know a source about the Nazi party in 1933 isn’t going to tell us anything about the impact of Total War, but it might (and using the example from last summer’s question paper, tell us that the source is limited because it shows Hitler’s view of how Germany should be, and this is not necessarily how many people felt –most had not voted for the Nazis at the last election. So actually, the source tells us the Nazis were aware of the need to drum up support. There is no requirement to mention limitations though – so just make sure you tell us what it tells you about the issue in the question!

For question 7 on that paper – make sure you use both sources and the interpretation. You should outline both positives and limitations from the sources/interpretations, but again no reward is given for raising any old concern or for bland or stock comments about the provenance. However, valid comments about the message, purpose, context, ability to see, nature and origin of the sources (and perhaps interpretations) are valid ways of assessing utility. In terms of the actual content of the sources, no source will ever not be useful at all, so they key is to pick out what information is useful from each source or interpretation, and again here inferences might be made by students. As with previous, no reward can be given for raising concerns over the limitations unless this is explicitly used to help to say how it affects usefulness for the context given.

Each source or interpretation will often give one or more aspects of information relevant to the question, and then in the conclusion, an overall judgement can be reached about the usefulness of all the sources. Remember as well that that judgement needs to be made – it can be useful to make lots of interim judgements as you go – the word sustained appears in the mark scheme as well – this basically means ‘pick a judgement and stick to it’. If you spend the entire essay arguing how useful they are, but then in the conclusion say they are not actually that useful, it is not a sustained answer. In fact – that’s true of any essay question really – we see a few responses that will say things like “I totally agree with this point of view because of X however I totally disagree because of Y” this kind of begs the question – well, what is your argument??? It is totally fine to either agree with a statement in an essay, or disagree, or anywhere in between, both sides would need to be examined still but whether you agree or not is up to you and forms the basis of your response.

One final bit – make sure you answer the question set – not the question you wish we had set. It is always worth taking stock of what the question is actually asking you and doing a quick plan before launching into a response. Make sure you’ve understood what is being asked – break down the question if you have to make sure you’ve got the message – that includes dates in a question – if it’s asking about 1933-1939 – don’t include things that happened outside of that as it’s not relevant.

Finally, as I mentioned in a response further up – it’s well worth looking at the blog for history around us (https://www.ocr.org.uk/blog/four-key...ory-around-us/) which contains some useful tips. It is also worth looking at the SHP website - http://www.schoolshistoryproject.co.uk/resource/3-gcse/ - some great revision ideas and exercises for exam techniques you might want to look at - they've also created there own assessment guide: http://www.schoolshistoryproject.co.uk/ocr-b-shp-assessment-guide/.

I really hope that helps – and good luck in all of your exams!

Grant
this was so helpful thank you so so so much!!!
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