Interesting, heart-breaking, triumphant, determined, impacts, choices, complicated, messy, unresolved, and you learn a wide range of skills needed in this modern life. What on earth could this fascinating subject be? History of course. History in itself is complicated because it is people who write it down. From unreliable sources, propaganda, letters, diaries, and newspapers, we piece together an idea of what has happened and why. Being able to understand, analyse, critique, and explain information is a skill needed to ensure a fairer and just society. As students of this discipline, you have an exciting time ahead as you navigate the vast subject. To help you out a bit here is a complete guide on how to navigate NCEA history and in particular, the NCEA history exams.
What is a NCEA history study guide?
The tricky thing about studying is learning how to remember all the information and how it connects. There are many different revision techniques that can be used and what may work for you, may not work as well for others. The best place to start is by planning your revision time effectively when you get your exam timetable. Everyone's needs are a bit different, especially if this is your first year sitting NCEA history exams. Give yourself some breathing room and a better sense of how long revision may take you by allowing for at least one week to study each subject before their corresponding exam.
Level 2 and level 3 exams require a higher level of writing and more specific details, so a week and a few days is a good place to start. If this is too much or too little, you can adjust for the following year. Scholarship revision is another level completely. The scholarship exam is designed to really test your skills, so revision in a sense should start a few months beforehand as you are required to do more reading outside of class. The level of critical analysis and detail expected are nearing the university level, so preparation is key. Some of the revision tools that you can use are highlighters, mind maps and flashcards. As mentioned, there are more but these are great tools to start with. They do take a bit of time to create, but as you create them you are revising at the same time. Our study guide has more in-depth details on how to create and effectively use a history study guide, check it out.
What are some good history revision tips?
Now you have got the information down, it is time to tackle the exam. This can be more stressful for some more than others, but these revision tips will see you through. The more you understand what the examiners are asking you to do, the easier exams are. The first step is to break the questions down. The good old causes and consequences. What caused this event? What were the consequences of this event? The thing that a lot of students get caught up on, is re-telling the event. Of course, we need to know what happened, but the focus is on why. Keep an eye out for this, are you telling or analysing? These are two very different things.
By breaking down the question and changing it into questions that are easier for you to answer if needed, is a tip to make the exam less complicated for you. With all that information you have learned earlier, brain-dumps, as they are eloquently called, alleviates some of the stress on your brain to remember, organise and write. Blanking unfortunately can happen, that is when you walk into an exam and it is as if you have forgotten everything you have learned. Braindumps can restart your brain, like a computer, once you write one thing down, you start to remember another thing and so forth. They also allow you to see the information in front of you and arrange it as needed. For more tips and tricks, have a read of NCEA Revision Tips: How to tackle the questions.
What can a NCEA history scholarship guide help with?
The scholarship exam is a serious endeavour to undertake, there is even money up for grabs! Not only is there money, but to pass a history scholarship exam is a real testament to your prowess in the domain of history, you should be proud of yourself for attempting it no matter what the result. It does require dedication and some serious input of your time. This is an opt-in exam so you need to talk to your teacher around the middle of the year. There are extra readings required as well as elective classes. In this exam, you will be answering three questions in the space of three hours. It may seem like a lot of time, but it isn’t. Practising time management is important as an unfinished exam cannot pass. Time management and planning are great keys to unlock the door to success.
Planning is about organising your response so that you actively answer all parts of the questions and provide enough evidence to support what you are saying. Paragraphs are structured in a way that the main point of your argument is in your first few sentences. There aren’t really any surprises for the reader. A basic structure often used is; a topic sentence, an explanation, evidence, your analysis. There are many different variations of this format, so find what works best for you. For scholarship you really need to demonstrate your critical thinking skills. Critical thinking skills are not something we are naturally born with, we develop them over as we progress through our education and our life. By practising and reading other people’s interpretations, we can break down the work and can see how we can strengthen our own. The scholarship exam is complicated so read through our guide on the NCEA history scholarship for a more detailed overview.
How do I use past papers?
Whether it is your first exam or you are sitting scholarship, past exam papers are resources that are incredibly helpful for revision. They allow you to practice with exam questions that are similar to the ones you will be asked in the end of year exams. They can help you to understand the terminology used for history exams and have a look at how the resource booklets are organised for those who are sitting level 1, level 2, and scholarship exams. As you can easily print them off, you can draw, write, highlight all over them. It is highly recommended you do, as revising for essay questions is a bit tricky. You really want to revise your planning before you start writing your response. The information you know about an event has to be reformatted to suit them.
In the NCEA history exam, there isn’t a set event you have to learn about. By practising planning, you can experiment on the different ways you can approach a range of different questions. Within the same space, you can also find exemplars for a majority of the past exams. Exemplars are real examples of students work at Achieved, Merit, and Excellence level. By reading through these exemplars you can see what these students did in order to achieve their respective marks. The content of these exemplars are of no use to you but have a look at the structure, the way in which they organise their ideas and paragraphs. For more information on past exam papers and where to find them, read our guide.
Who can help me with all this?
Superprof has dedicated, hardworking, and knowledgeable tutors that you can get a hold of with just a click of a button. They can help build your knowledge about certain events, help improve your skills in critical analysis, analysing sources, and how to write strong paragraphs. Whether you are looking for a tutor just for exam revision or wanting a bit more support throughout the year, you will find what you are looking for with Superprof.
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