4 Tips to Improving Your History Grade

June 2, 2016

4 Tips to Improving Your History Grade

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Here is a 4 step guide to improving your history grade with a series of practical steps to focus your revision plan.

1.  Get to Grips with GCSE Past Papers  

GCSE past papers are often an unexplored treasure trove of information, knowledge and help when it comes to approaching revision. Examining previous exam papers in detail will allow you to pick up on the language, patterns and approaches to question-setting.  It will give you confidence when approaching your own paper. 

Sitting down with a stopwatch and going through past papers is an extremely useful exercise when it comes to exam preparation as you will get a sense of how you are performing, particularly in terms of setting out your timings.  Ask a teacher or fellow pupil to take a look at your attempted answers and get as much feedback as you can in advance of the exams.

2.  Answer the Right Questions 

History is a subject that is quite intensive when it comes to the written exam and there is nothing worse for students when they have spent time and energy writing lots of detailed answers and then realize that they have taken the wrong approach to a question and their time has run out.

It sounds obvious but it is essential to double-check that you are answering the right questions. It’s a great exercise to underline the key questions or words so that you can focus on exactly what is being asked of you in the answer. Read the question a number of times until you are fully clear. Even if the information is really good, an examiner will not award you marks if the answer is not relevant.  Also make sure to answer all parts of the question.

3.  Be Conscious of Correct Length  

GCSE History covers a huge area across 18th, 19th and 20th century Europe, British history and politics, Ireland, World Wars I and II, Tudors and Stuarts and in to Russian Tsarism (1721 – 1917) and Communism (1918 – 1991).  

Each student will have a favourite area that they like writing about but do not be tempted to go in to excessive detail even if you have a passion for the subject matter because you will then be putting yourself at a disadvantage when it comes to the follow-up questions as you are likely to run out of time.

4.  Back Up Answers with Examples and Evidence 

In the GCSE History exam, students can easily trip up when they do not back up their answers with adequate examples and evidence.  It is essential to bring in historical sources and to use those correct sources across your answers. Include this knowledge, coupled with dates where possible and you will really add value to your answers. Make sure that your GCSE exam history is a positive one this year with this 4 step guide to success.

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