Exam Technique

Exam Technique

How will you be examined?

There will be a set of questions, that look like this:

  1. ‘How do these interpretations differ’ (4 marks).
  2. ‘Why do these interpretations differ’ (4 marks).
  3. ‘Which interpretation do you find more convincing about [Issue X / Y / Z]?’ (8 marks).
  4. ‘Describe two…’
  5. (Describe two challenges faced by… / Describe two achievements of… / Describe two aspects of… / Describe two parts of…)
  6. ‘In what ways did [Issue X / Y / Z] change during the period…? Explain your answer.’ (8 marks)
  7. Either…
  8. ‘Which of the following achieved more in the period…. A or B?’ (12 marks)
  9. OR
  10. ‘Which was the more important reason for [Issue X / Y / Z]? A or B?’ (12 marks).

We will now talk you through the technique for each one.

Q1: __‘How do these Interpretations Differ?’ __(4 marks)

This question is about the ‘big picture’ message of the interpretation – what is it saying overall?

Only use content.

What you need to write:

  1. Summarise the message of both interpretations in one sentence each.
  2. Explain what perspective they are taking which results in them being different (positive vs. negative, specific vs. general).
  3. Note: this is not explaining why they are different, but how.

Q2: ‘Why might these Interpretations Differ?’ (4 marks)

This question is about what would influence the interpretation to have a particular opinion.

Only use provenance.

What you need to write:

  1. Summarise the provenance of Interpretation A, and explain why this would cause it to have a particular (positive / negative / specific / general) opinion.
  2. Summarise the provenance of Interpretation B, and explain why this would cause it to have a particular (positive / negative / specific / general) opinion.
  3. Finish with an explanation that therefore they differ because of different purposes / author perspectives / time contexts.

Q3: ‘Which interpretation is more convincing?’ (8 marks)

This question asks you to compare the messages of the interpretations to your own contextual knowledge.

Only use content. Do NOT analyse provenance.

What you need to write:

  1. Summarise the message of interpretation A.
  2. ‘This is convincing because…’ – give one reason from your own knowledge.
  3. Develop your reasoning – how does it fit into the wider context of the unit.
  4. (Level 4) End your paragraph with an evaluative judgement as to how convincing this interpretation is.
  5. Repeat for Interpretation B.
  6. At the end of P2, or as a mini P3, make an overall judgement as to which interpretation is more convincing, because of how it matches your own knowledge.

Q4: ‘Describe two…?’ (4 marks)

This is nice and easy, and is simply asking you to give details about two things.

What you need to write:

  1. Give one feature that is relevant to the question.
  2. Expand with details about that.
  3. Give a second feature that is relevant to the question.
  4. Expand with details about that.

Q5: ‘In what ways did [Issue X / Y / Z] change during the period…? Explain your answer.’ (8 marks)

This question asks you to analyse change, it is not simply an explain question.

What you need to write:

  1. Give one relevant change to the question.
  2. Say what happened in the time period you have been asked about.
  3. Explain why this was a change.
  4. Develop your reasoning – what were the effects of this change?
  5. (Level 4) How extensive was this change – did everyone experience it?
  6. Repeat for a second change. You do not need to link the changes.

Q6: Either…

  1. ‘Which of the following achieved more in the period…. A or B?’ (12 marks)
  2. OR
  3. ‘Which was the more important reason for [Issue X / Y / Z]? A or B?’ (12 marks).

This question asks you to explain two factors, and then judge between them.

What you need to write:

  1. State the first named factor (A) and how it is relevant.
  2. Give some details about that factor.
  3. Explain why this was important / helped progress.
  4. Develop your reasoning – what were the effects of this factor?
  5. (Level 4) Link this factor to the other (A to B).
  6. Repeat for the second factor (B), linking from the start if possible.
  7. Make a judgement.
  8. For Level 3, this judgement just has to say why one is more important than the other.
  9. For Level 4, you would have to show how the factors worked together, but still make a judgement between them.