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8 Revision Tips For A-Level History

Exams are a stressful time. History is all about remembering facts and this is how you have to approach revision.

There is a lot to learn and sometimes it can feel extremely overwhelming trying to remember so much information.

However, there is a lot you can do to reduce the pressure you have put on yourself.

Before we give you the game-changing tips to revise history, here is everything you need to know about the exam format of the A-level.

AS & A-Level History Paper 1

Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes

Marks: 40

You will be given three sections. Section A, B, and C. All the sections will have a question of 25 marks and 15 marks. You will have to attempt one section out of the three.

AS & A-Level History Paper 2

Duration: 1 hour 45 minutes

Marks: 60

There will be 9 questions. Each question will be divided into part a and b. Part a will be 10 marks and part b will be 20 marks. You can answer any two questions.

AS & A-Level History Paper 3

Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes

Marks: 40

There will be three questions and each question will be of 40 marks. You can answer any one.

AS & A-Level History Paper 4

Duration: 1 hour 45 minutes

Marks: 60

There will be 12 questions. Each question will be of 30 marks. You can attempt any two.

AS And A-Level History Syllabus

AS-Level Paper 1 & 2:

You can study one of the following options for AS level:

Option 1. Modern Europe, 1750 – 1850

  • France 1774 – 1814
  • The Industrial Revolution in Britain, 1750 – 1850
  • Liberalism and Nationalism in Germany, 1815 – 71
  • The Russian Revolution, 1894 – 1921

Option 2. The History Of The USA, 1820 – 1941

  • The Origins of the Civil War, 1820 – 61
  • Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861 – 77
  • The Gilded Age and Progressive Era, 1870s to 1920
  • The Great Crash, The Great Depression, and the New Deal Policies, 1920 – 41

Option 3. International History, 1870 – 1945

  • Empire and the Emergence of World Powers, 1870 – 1919
  • The League of Nations and International Relations in the 1920s
  • The League of Nations and International Relations in the 1930s
  • China and Japan 1912 – 45

A-Level Paper 3 & 4

Paper 3:

  • Topic 1: The origins of the First World War
  • Topic 2: The Holocaust
  • Topic 3: The origins and development of the Cold War

Paper 4:

  • Topic 1: European history in the interwar years, 1919 – 41
  • Topic 2: The USA,1944 – 92
  • Topic 3: International History 1945 – 92

Revision Tips For A-Level History

Now that you know everything that will be coming in the exam and the format, you can get your game face on and start studying.

Here are some of the tips that will help you significantly when it comes to revising and remembering all the material.

#1. Go Through The Examiners Reports

Attempting the paper through the eyes of the examiner is key to scoring that A. All the details of how marks are allocated are in that report. You need to read it, understand it, and then practice its applicability.

If you go in the exam room without knowing what the examiner is looking for then you may not score that well. This is why this is a crucial step before you even start opening your books and revising.

This is your way of grasping an exam technique that you will utilise during your paper. For example, past patterns have shown that examiners give higher grades to people in essay subjects if they present their critique.

So get working on your critical thinking skills and do some research of your own!

#2. Prep Your Materials

For revision, you will need past year exampapers, your books, notes, and everything else you have been utilising to study. This will help you stay organized while revision as you won’t have to look here and there for your materials.

Staying organized is key to staying focused or your mind will keep on wandering during revision.

You can also sort your materials by topics. This will make it easier for you to learn as you can do one topic completely and then move onto the next.

#3. Set A Schedule

Apart from organizing your materials, you need to organize your time as well.

This will help you to prioritise your studying while also making time for other activities you indulge in during the day.

Staying focused and prioritising is always a good idea as it means that you won’t be stressing out about revision at the last minute.

You need to learn how to manage time effectively and this will be a great practice for other exams too.

#4. Remember And Recall

Yes, A-level history is all about remembering facts but never rote-learn. This will hinder with your memorising skills and if you don’t remember one piece of information then you will lose the other pieces too.

A better alternative is to sit down, revise, and remember the syllabus. Try to understand the material and then remember through other tools. Some people remember by making charts and others remember by writing it down.

Use the method that suits you and absorb all the information that is there. After that, you need to be able to test your memory skills by recalling.

A good practice for recalling is to open your past papers and solve them. This will help you recall all the information you have just spent a lot of time remembering and it will also help you with getting in the flow of preparing for your A-level history exam.

#5. Gather Additional Information

The most important thing in essay subjects is the ability to think critically and critique the points. This is what will help you stand out from the rest of the students and score a distinction.

However, to develop these skills, you need to do some research on your own. Get on your laptop and start researching different topics from the syllabus. There are many resources available online.

You can also see the criticism of other people and use that to formulate a viewpoint of your own. Once you have enough information, you can open the past papers again and attempt the questions with a critical lens.

This will help you understand the applicability of the critique and you can apply it much more effectively once you keep practising. Remember, practice makes perfect.

#6. Make Revision Cards

Do you know what is the best way to learn?

Writing down key information. So, why not make cards out of it and make learning even more fun?

Choose different coloured pens for different topics and start writing. 

When you study a topic, be sure to make revision cards out of them. These can be for anything such as dates, analysis, causes, effects, and critique.

If you think you are having trouble with revising some piece of information then make revision cards out of them. This will help you access the information easily and it will help you remember more effectively. If you still have doubts on your topics, seek the help of a professional home tutor.

#7. Keep Notes Around The House

Of the most effective tips from experience is to have sticky notes all around your room.

Take important information that you have trouble remembering, write it down on the sticky notes, and then stick them on things you see daily.

For example, you can stick these small notes on your mirror, cupboard, study table, and other things like these that you access daily. Even when you are not paying attention, your brain will subconsciously store this information.

This way when you are giving the exam, the information will come back to you without you even trying! Isn’t that what we all want?

#8. Keep On Trying

You need to keep on trying until all the information is embedded in your brain. Keep on repeating these methods until you have learnt everything you need to.

You can even study with other peers if that is a better way for you to learn. However, at the end of the day, you will have to do all the work yourself and you need to it effectively so you can manage your time.

Don’t panic when the exam is approaching as this will just make you feel flustered and you will forget the information you have tried so hard to remember.

Keep calm and trust your revision skills. The more you doubt them, the more you will forget.

Final Words

History exams are lengthy and require in-depth analysis. This is why it is important to put all your focus on the materials you have before your exam approaches.

However, the most important thing you need to do is time management. This way you will get done right on schedule and you will still have plenty of time to revise again.

Many students leave everything to the last minute and because of this, they score low even though they have the potential to do much more. So, reach your highest potential by scoring an A* on your history exam with these tips!

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About Author

Tutor City's blog focuses on balancing informative and relevant content, never at the expense of providing an enriching read. 

We want our readers to expand their horizons by learning more and find meaning to what they learn.

Resident author - Mr Wee Ben Sen, has a wealth of experience in crafting articles to provide valuable insights in the field of private education.

Ben Sen has also been running Tutor City, a leading home tuition agency in Singapore since 2010.


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