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History

On the day of the exam

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    This exercise will help you answer questions in an examination as well as possible.

    Exam skills

    If you worked through the Revision and Test Bites, you will have spotted lots of advice about how to answer questions. Can you remember what was said? Doing well in examinations is not just about learning the subject, it's also about making sure that you understand the questions and write good answers. So what should you do if you are going to do as well as possible in an examination? Here are some tips:

    Timing

    • Make sure that you arrive in good time for the examination. Get everything that you need ready in advance. There's nothing worse than having to rush.
    • Check the starting time and how long the exam will last. Do not get taken by surprise. You can get this information from your teacher at school.
    • Make sure you know how many questions you have to answer and how long you can afford to spend on each.
    • Make sure that your watch is working. Put it on your desk where you can see it, rather than wearing it on your wrist where you will have to stop and look at it.

    Equipment

    • Always have at least two pens and make sure that they are working. They must be blue or black - but check this with your teacher first.
    • If you like to draw diagrams, have a pencil handy and sharpen it.
    • Make sure that you have everything else that you need. A picture of your pet or something that makes you laugh will help you feel positive in your exam.

    Question choice

    • Make sure that you understand where you have a choice of questions. You usually do on history papers. Check back through some Revision Bites to see some example questions if you are not sure what they will be like.
    • Always read the question carefully and spot the key words, why, change, etc. Usually the two papers will have different types of questions. One will be knowledge and understanding, the other will be on evidence. Make sure you know which is which.
    • Plan your answer before you start writing. It helps just to jot down a list of points and then cross them off when you write your answer. This is really important in order to make sure you do not forget to include all your points.
    • Make sure that you are answering the question which is on the paper and not the question which you hoped would be on the paper! This is the commonest mistake made in examinations. It counts for half the marks lost by candidates in examinations.
    • If the question is made up of sub-questions, read through all of them first. This will help you to decide if you can answer the question. It will also help you to work out how long to spend on each question.
    • Sometimes one sub-question will lead on to another. Try to make sure that you do not put the two answers together.
    • Check the number of marks for each sub-question. The more marks available, the longer the answer should be normally.

    Spelling, Punctuation, Grammar (SPG)

    • SPG stands for Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar. How neat your handwriting is does not count but it helps if you try to keep it in order.
    • There are an extra five marks available for correct SPG. To get five marks you will need to spell accurately and express yourself clearly. You will need to use correct historical terms. Here are a couple of examples:
      • The Prime Minister of Germany is called the Chancellor.
      • The Rhineland was 'demilitarised'.
      • When talking about after 1924 Russia should be called the Soviet Union.
    • Make sure that you use capital letters for all names of people, countries, cities, towns etc.
    • Copy words carefully from the question paper, particularly names like Czechoslovakia.
    • Put full stops after every sentence and make sure that each sentence makes sense.
    • Check through your answers if you have time.

    Clarity

    • Remember that your answers will be marked by someone who does not know you.
    • The examiner will not be able to understand your answer if you do not explain things properly.
    • Make your answers as clear as possible. Do not try to be funny.
    • The examiner will have four hundred scripts to mark. Try to make sure that yours is easy to mark. Do exactly what the questions ask you to do.

    Good luck

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