Studying for History Exams and in General

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My students are reaching the dreaded exam period. So here are some tips for studying history and other subjects.

Go over past exams and write the papers. You will see that they are very similar from year to year so you are doing yourself a disadvantage by not going over them.

Having issues concentrating while studying???

There are several options to help you! Try using these techniques:

  • Writeordie.com – Write or Die is a new kind of writing productivity application that forces you to write by providing consequences for distraction and procrastination. http://writeordie.com
  • Pomodoro Technique – The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The technique uses a timer to break down periods of work into 25-minute intervals called ‘Pomodori’ (from the Italian word for ‘tomatoes’) separated by short breaks. http://www.focusboosterapp.com/
  • ASPIRE Technique – http://www.studygs.net/aspire.htm

  • Concentration music – sounds naff but it works for some people.
    • Whatever you choose make sure there are NO words to singalong to
    • Epic music is also good as long as it is purely instrumental. It eggs you on.
  • STAY OFF FACEBOOK! and Twitter, Pinterest, Stumbleupon, Reddit, Youtube, etc etc…
  • Work away from home – Often people are easily distracted at home because there are many things around them so go study in the library at the university or your local library if you need a quiet space. But do not accept lunch and coffee requests in the middle of studying. Set a time. Don’t get distracted.

Studying for essay writing

  • Go over past essays – they are on ilearn and in the library
  • Plan essays in mind map form
  • Stick points you forget to your bedroom ceiling above your bed or behind your bedroom door
  • Set times for study – make a study plan, stick to it, don’t spend all your time making the plan instead of studying! Take an example from this of what not to do!

  • STAY ON TOPIC – If you need a break from study then do something related so you are relaxing a bit but you don’t completely lose your flow. ie. History podcasts, documentaries, historical fiction. This can also help to inspire you.
  • Take the time and sit and do the essays as if you were in an exam environment

Writing Paragraphs – It is amazing how many people forget basic structure in the stress of an exam environment. So here is a simple way to remember things.

PEED
P = Point: State your point clearly and concisely.
E = Explain: Elaborate, provide more information.
E = Evidence: Use information from texts, quotes etc. to back up your point.
D = Draw conclusions

For example:
Shakespeare was a product of his era. The reigns of the Tudors and Stuarts were times of preoccupation with black magic and witchcraft. James 1 personally condemned witches to death. The fascination with the occult is particularly seen in the play ‘Macbeth’ in which the three witches put curses on innocent sailors, make evil brews and mislead Macbeth to his ultimate ruin. The snares of the occult are equally prevalent in our time. The play ‘Macbeth’ is as relevant today as the day it was written.

You can prepare yourself to succeed in your studies.
Try to develop and appreciate the following habits:

  • Take responsibility for your own study and learning! – Recognise that you only have yourself to blame for your study habits and results. Make decisions about your priorities, time and resources.
  • Don’t let your friends and acquaintances dictate what you do – everyone studies differently
  • Follow up on priorities and don’t let others or your interests distract you
  • Discover your key times and places of productivity and remove yourself from distracting environments
  • Look to continually challenge yourself – if you are content with what you know then still go the extra step and learn more, give yourself that extra edge

Most of all TAKE RESPONSIBILITY! Learning is your responsibility in the end. Ps do not make careers! If someone says to you Ps make degrees then they are not worth listening to.

Remember (especially 1st years)

  • This is not high school
  • No one cares what you got in the HSC (or equivalent)
  • This is a new opportunity – Take it
  • Analyse, compare and contrast
  • Do not narrate!
  • Read and follow instructions

Do your best and good luck!

And stick this one as your screen background.

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