How to learn History?
For students who have selected A Level History as one of the subjects to learn at schools, some hold the perception that it is a challenging subject due to the vast content to remember and understand. As such, these students feel a sense of apprehension and anxiety as they are concerned over the inability to recall relevant information during examinations. While it is undeniable that A Level History is indeed a subject that covers a wide range of themes, topics and issues, I believe that it is a feasible and achievable task to grasp the essential knowledge and ace the examinations. In this issue, we will examine the common myths and errors that students that may have with regards to JC History.
Myth #1: The content is too much for me to remember!
Based on conventional views, some argue that A Level History is a tough subject to grasp as there is too much to remember. Let’s refer to the syllabus requirements set by the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB):
For H2 History students, there are two overarching areas to learn, namely ‘Shaping the International Order (1945-2000)’ and ‘Making of Independent Southeast Asia (Independence-2000)’. For the former, there are three main themes that cover the Cold War, Global Economy and the United Nations. Similarly, the latter features three themes that cover Political Development, Economic Development and Regional Conflicts and Cooperation in ASEAN.
Given this understanding, it is easy to jump to the conclusion that it is an uphill task to learn these topics and be competent in applying the knowledge to A Level History examinations at the end of the two-year journey.
In fact, this misconceived perception is the result of ineffective strategies. The absence of an organized revision plan, a proper process to analyze historical issues and development of proficient writing methods are some of the critical components to create a productive revision plan. On a related note, students who have attended our JC History Tuition programme benefited from our exam-driven class activities and developed the capabilities to address the above-mentioned challenges.
Myth #2: I should provide as many examples as possible to attain higher marks for my JC History Essays.
In addition, some students may bear the notion that they should include many examples to support their arguments in their History essays to obtain higher grades. As such, these students tend to spend much of their revision time reading through notes and additional readings to remember specific case studies and country-based examples. Then, the ‘regurgitation’ of information is evidenced by the disproportionate weight of writing on the use of examples in each ‘Main Body’ paragraph.
By applying this strategy, there is one fatal flaw. Students who lack the awareness may lose track of their arguments and deviate from the discussion, giving rise to the problem of ‘not answering the question’. For example, the essay writing may contain irrelevant information, like specific dates and quotes mentioned by Historians. Consequently, examiners are likely to penalise the students.
This error is the result of the inability to identify the question requirements. Students should pay attention to the command words and given statement (if any). By analyzing the question, students will know what to write and how much to write. By joining our JC History Tuition programme, we will guide students through this learning process and review their answers to minimise this error.
Do I have enough time to rectify my errors?
Yes, there is! Although A Level History may appear intimidating to students, especially JC1s, it is possible to grasp the content well and attain grade A for the examinations. You can learn the ‘art of writing’ by focusing your efforts on reading reflectively, write logically and answer systematically. We provide GP Tuition classes for our History students to cultivate proficiency in answering essay and source-based case study questions.