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How to study for History

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I have my exams in May 2015 and I am sad to say that I have yet to find an effective way to study for history. Fortunately  I find the subject pretty easy to understand. Also, I am predicted a 6 in the subject, so it is not as if I am really struggling.

 

However, i am really interested in the subject, and I really want to do the best that I can do. Therefore I'm looking for suggestions as to how I could effectively study for the first and second paper. I don't feel like I learn a lot from just reading the book or even my teacher's notes, as I just zone out after about 10 seconds. 

 

So what should I do? Rewrite the notes? Make flashcards? Make mindmaps? What has worked for you guys?

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Think of reading as "conversation" or argument. Have you ever done that in History?   Being in deep conversation with your textbooks.

 

I know - it sounds crazy. But it worked for me. And it works great for exams.

 

If you approach a text purposefully, asking questions of it, the content will stick far better .. and longer.  And that means having better chances of recognizing links between ideas in different chapters. This is an essential part of studying for History -- remembering and connecting -- in a way that is not quite the same for English.  

 

To help you do this, just look at the questions (end of chapter) and use these to make your reading focused and purposeful. Some questions are more useful than others and you'll recognize which quite easily.

 

It is simple, but very effective. You are also that much closer to being in  deep conversation rather than just "memorizing" and forgetting.

Edited by Blackcurrant

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Past paper questions. It's not possible to explain how incredibly helpful they are! Especially if you can get a teacher to mark your answers and give detailed feedback on how to improve :) 

 

I also find it's really helpful to find other students who are interested in the subject and talk to them about the content. A lot of the time, it turns out that a friend of mine will have remembered details that had slipped my mind and vice versa. And I generally end up understanding topics better, and remembering information more clearly because I can associate it with various conversations, or maybe a comment that someone made. It's especially good if there is someone in your class whose views and interpretations of events conflict with yours because then you can actually use and apply the facts/figures from the syllabus to form arguments and come up with analysis.

 

Other than that, I chatter about material to my parents or sister (who usually tune me out and put my behaviour down to a symptom of my descent into madness as exams approach, but oh well) to get it all straight in my mind. And if none of that is possible, there's always the option of taking a systemised approach to note making to reduce the chances of drifting off or getting distracted because you'll have steps to follow. 

 

Or at least, that's what helps me, haha. Hope its not *totally* useless!

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