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Hi!
I have my history a level on the 7th of June and despite putting in hours or revision, I struggle retaining the knowledge. I have a target grade of an A but my own knowledge lets me down in every mock I do (I`ve been getting Cs). I have been revising using flash cards, but these don`t seem to hep me. Does anyone have any tips? I know I don`t have very long until the exams now so any advice would be greatly appreciated.
7 months ago

History Question asked by Aisha

Hi! When I was studying for my A Level History exams (I`m now a uni student and tutor), I found that the best way to revise was through my essays! Not only was I able to memorise all the statistics and facts I needed to know, but I was also able to mentally connect it with other pieces of information to create my argument. If you do not have any of your own written essays to work from, I seriously recommend you try this as creating a good written argument is just as important so you kill two birds with one stone!Although its time consuming, its definitely beneficial. Hope this helps, Nafeesa
16/06/2017 22:25:27 | comment by Nafeesa
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6 Answers

Hi,
I also studied History A-Level. A method that may work, write down what you have learned, leave it for a couple of hours or even a day and come back to it and see how much you have remembered.
Use colours and highlighters to help you revise, and try and understand the topics rather than trying to memorise everything.
Have your best topics and worst topics- obviously put more emphasis on the worst topics.
Maybe at least try doing one past paper timed to see how much you actually remember, and sometimes you might surprised at how much you actually know :)
Try and make plans according to each topic. That way, you have your relevant knowledge as well as plans for essays for each topic and it does really enhance the dept of your knowledge.
Having a timeline of key events may help as well
I would use a small whiteboard to check how much understand and knowledge I had.
This is what worked for me, but I guess it works differently for different people.
Most importantly don`t panic, stay calm, you`ve still got some time to go!
Goodluck for your exam!
Answered by Adana | 6 months ago
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Aisha there are a few things you could try - I know that time is short. But things that I encourage my students to do are activities that can be done to boost their understanding and also maximise their time.
One really good way is to try and teach someone else.
For example use your flashcards to be a visual aid to teach a friend, relative, or classmate. They do not have to know the subject - but it forces you to not only learn the topic on the card, but be able to understand the key points in order to explain the links between them. Even teaching your teddy bear- sounds strange but worked for one of my students.

Better still is to pair up with a classmate, pick a general topic, split it in half. Then each of you studies/revises one of these halves. Then after a 30 minute session of revision for example, both of you take turns in teaching/explaining/summarising to each other what you have just learnt.
Bring it all together by jointly doing a exam question or make a mind map/flash card for the whole topic would cap it all at the end.

Do not know if this makes sense but I hope it helps - I have seen Adana`s comments below are really good in particular the ideas about colour. This is a very important tool to use - colour can really help you lots.
Good Luck
Answered by Sam | 6 months ago
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Hi there

Adana has given a lot of very good advice! Working out how best you remember things might be a good way forward. Everybody is different in this regard.

A) If writing helps you remember things:
- Write out everything you need to know in chronological order, like the timeline Adana suggests.
- Then, write everything out in essay subject order so that you understand the topic better.
- Do past papers using these notes at first but increasingly wean yourself off the notes. Make sure to go over the ones you do without notes and insert bits from your notes you missed.

B) If watching/listening programmes/ documentaries/podcasts helps you:
- Ask your teacher/tutor/google for relevant documentaries.
- Record yourself reading your notes and play it on repeat.

C) If colours/drawings help you:
- As Adana said, use colours and highlighters.
- Invest in some cheap A3 paper (or use A4) and make large spidergrams with all your information in using different colours and drawings.

You still have a week and a half and that`s quite a good amount of time to learn so don`t panic. Other things to remember:
- Sleeping helps you remember so make sure you`re getting enough sleep.
- Listening to music with lyrics can be very distracting and hinder the memorising process.

Best of luck!
Answered by Alex | 6 months ago
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At A level the main focus for examiners is your ability to explain cause and consequences and then break that down into short, medium and long term and/or social/political/economical factors.

It may be worth categorising your knowledge into these areas when revising. It`s actually easier to memorise information if you`ve placed it into some kind of order or structure.

I don`t know what your studying but with my students who study the Rise of the Nazis I don`t want them to simply memorise all the factors which caused Hitler coming to power. This is because there are so many factors and pupils struggle to remember such quantities of information. Instead, I ask them to focus on two political, social and economical causes of the rise of the Nazis. This ends up being easier for them to remember while ensuring their using high order thinking. They can then go a step further and focus on how the social, political, economical factors link together.

Flash cards are useful once you`ve finished revising as a test to see if you revision has sunk in, they shouldn`t really be used as a specific focus for revision as they usually are written with little detail.

I hope this helps in some way.
Answered by William | 6 months ago
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Hello!

I also studied History at A level and I too was in your position. There are some incredible revision guides available online depending on your exam board. I personally studied Henry VIII and the Russian Revolution and there are plenty of very small but concise revision guides available.
Essay plans are also very useful and if you have the time try to also do a timed essay with a question you have not attempted. The reason I suggest this is that you will be surprised about how much you do know and it highlights how good you are as structuring an essay. Having said that, learn how to structure an essay, you`ll be surprised how many marks can be lost purely because you didn`t write the content in a clear way.
But most importantly, do not stress (easier said than done I know!). Keep your mind clear from stress and look over areas you are unsure of and you will be fine.
All the best for your upcoming examinations.
Answered by Keri | 6 months ago
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I don`t know if your exams have already gone, but try and limit the amount of information you try to learn. Stick to key facts and bullet point them out (remove words such as and, of, it etc as you already know how to use these). Try and go through some past paper questions and look at mark schemes to ensure you understand the wording of the questions and what the examiners are looking for. Best of luck to you.
Answered by Giles | 6 months ago
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