How to pass History GCSE

by Anita Naik

History is always perceived to be more complicated than many other GCSEs. This is mainly because there is a lot of content to be learnt and mastered. That said there are key ways to study and pass your History GCSE. Here's what you need to know.

Focus on a range of skills

History at GCSE levels helps you with a variety of skill sets: literary skills, debating skills and analytical skills. This means to pass effectively; you need to be able to remember facts and have an opinion about them in your answers. What helps here is to work on your essay-based skills and analytical techniques. So make sure you know the events and causes and the know the links between the two and ensure you can explain this clearly and analytically in your writing.

Revise as you go

History is a stressful subject simply because there is a lot of content, events and dates to remember. This means to pass; you need to know your subject matter inside and out. What helps is to revise continuously throughout the year and not leave all your revision to a short space of time.

Aside from basic notes, make mind maps and try all the usual revision techniques like quizzes to help cement the knowledge in your minds. Also revise what examiners want to see so you answer questions correctly, as this will boost your scores.

Watch YouTube

Yes, you read that correctly. Watching short videos of specific historical topics such as the cold war or perhaps the Treaty of Versailles will help you remember the facts. Write notes from what you are watching or put them on post-its to help you with recall and then get friends and family to test you. Take a look at Matthew Langridge and HistoryHorizonCC who have videos on everything from post-war America to the Vietnam War and Cuban Missile Crisis.

Practice with past papers

This is a technique that will be drummed home to you at school but one that ultimately works. The benefits of doing past papers are multiple. Firstly they help you answer questions in timed conditions, which means if you do enough of them you will sail through all the timed essays in your actual exam.

At the same time, past papers are a good form of revision. Go through a paper and write down all the points you think apply to the question. Then check your answers against the examiners mark scheme to see what you have missed and repeat until you hit all the markers needed.

Create short summaries of key facts and figures

There's no getting away from the fact you need do need to know a lot of details for History GCSE. That's biographies of people, times, dates, policies and reasons for these policies etc. What helps here is writing short summaries to help you to remember this crucial information. Pin these cards on a whiteboard and show how they relate to each other with arrows. Doing this will help with your analysis and revision.

Work with a history tutor

Working with a history tutor will help you with all of the above points and with your revision technique. A tutor will be particularly helpful if you feel the syllabus hasn't yet, fallen into place or if you feel you have large knowledge gaps and don't know where to start.

Tags: GCSEs History
Categories: How to revise GCSE