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Should I focus on facts or themes when revising for an A or AS level history exam?

Revision for your A level history exam is always tricky as you find yourself trying to learn a great number of facts and statistics as well as the answers to the different themes of your period.

The most important thing to realise when revising is that there is no way for you to learn every fact and statistic that relates to your period. For A level you may be dealing with a period of history spanning 100 years over multiple countries and to memorise all the necessary facts is not only very difficult it is also detrimental to your overall mark as you will neglect revision of your themes and potential answers.

As such the most effective and efficient way of revising is to identify the key themes of your period and learn statistics and facts which are central to each theme and if possible can be used in different themes.

The top mark bands do not expect your essay to be crammed with facts about the agricultural output of 16th century Lorraine. Rather top marks go to students who can utilise a few key statistics or facts and use them tactically to bolster their argument. As such learning every fact you can will only damage your essays as you will be unable to properly choose appropriate evidence. Therefore revise by writing out the key themes and then learning a good amount of flexible and appropriate evidence for each which can then be put to use in any number of potential essay questions.

James B. GCSE English Language tutor, A Level History tutor, GCSE His...

7 months ago

Answered by James, an A Level History tutor with MyTutor


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“About Me I am currently a second year history student studying at the University of York. I have always had a particular love of History and English and hopefully my tutorials will communicate that same passion to my students. I am a...”

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