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Using sources & A2 2 History Exam Guidance

The following guidance was compiled for the Partition portal website and distributed at Partition of Ireland event held earlier this week.




Using Sources

There are a number of ways of using sources in the classroom. For example, they could be used as a stimulus at a start of a topic to stimulate debate; or at the end of a topic to consolidate a class’s learning.


There are a number of common approaches to analyzing, assessing and interpreting sources:

5Ws

o Who - Who wrote it? Do they have a particular background, insight or possible bias?

o What - What does it tell us? Does it provide a full account of events?

o When – When was the source made? Was it made at the time of the events taking place, or years later?

o Where – Where was the source made? Was the person involved in the event?

o Why – Why was the source made? To persuade or to inform? Why is it important?

Other ways to assess sources include:

o Assessing the utility of a source use the DAMMACTO

DAMMACTO – date, author, motive, mode (type of source), audience, content, tone and omissions.


o The Historical Association has a guide on how to analyse sources

o ‘Facing the past, shaping the future’ have also produced a guide on the historical value of sources.


A2 2 exam guidance

A2:2 is assessed by external written exam lasting 2 hours 30 minutes. Students answer two source-based questions and one extended essay. Students must answer Questions 1a, 1b and 2 and either Question 3 (a) or 3 (b).


CCEA LINKS



GENERAL EXAM TIPS

o Read the question then read it again, underline key words and dates

o Briefly plan your answer, using brief bullet points for each paragraph will help you structure your answer

o Be selective. Focus on the information asked in the question, not just everything you know about the event. You will not receive marks for including contextual information that does not directly relate to the question

o Good writing is essential. Write legibly and use good grammar, spelling and punctuation. It doesn’t matter how good your answer is if the examiner cannot read it or understand your argument.

o Use textbooks as a guide for correct spelling and use of names and places. For instance IPP for Irish Parliamentary party is acceptable; however, HOC for House of Commons is not.

o Practise answering the questions under exam conditions


TIMING

  • Use the marking scheme to work out how long to spend on each question and leave time for reading questions and reading over your answer.

  • Total time: 2 h 30 minutes

  • Q1a – 15 marks (30 minutes)

  • Q1b – 20 marks (35 minutes)

  • Q2 – 25 marks (45 minutes)

  • Q3 – 20 marks (40 minutes)

A2 2 EXAM QUESTIONS


Question 1a

This question requires you to assess the value of the two primary sources and decide which is most valuable to the historian in relation to the question. You should write about both sources, discussing their key features, weaknesses and limitations. You need to decide which source is more valuable and justify your decision. Your discussions and arguments should include a balance of extracts from the sources and relevant contextual information.

This question targets AO2: analyse and evaluate appropriate source material, primary and/or contemporary to the period, within its historical context


In the exam: Question 1a is worth 15 marks, and you should aim to spend around 30 mins on this question:

5 mins preparation:

· Step 1: Read the question twice then read and re-read the sources, underlining key phrases.

· Step 2: Briefly asses the sources using the 5Ws or DAMMATVCCL. Using a table format may help you to compare the sources

  • 5Ws: Who wrote it?, Why was it written?, What does it tell us?, When was it written? Why is it important?

  • DAMMATVCCL: Date, author, mode, motive, audience, tone, viewpoint, context, content, limitations

· Step 3 Plan your answer:

  • Introduction (overview of key features of each source)

  • Analysis of first source (extracts of source + contextual knowledge)

  • Analysis of second source (extracts of source + contextual knowledge)

  • Conclusion (summary of the value of each source and argument of most valuable)

25 mins writing:

· Use your plan to help write your answer.


NB: For a Level 4 mark, you must include some of your own knowledge (contextual) and some valid limitations.



Question 1b

This question concerns using two primary sources and other evidence studied to decide how far the sources support a particular proposition. You need to interpret and evaluate the sources in relation to their historical context and assess how far each one agrees or disagrees with the proposition, using the sources’ together with your own knowledge to provide a clear argument. A balance of extracts from the sources and relevant contextual knowledge should be used to support and enhance your discussions and arguments.

This question targets AO1 and AO2:

o AO1 demonstrate, organise and communicate knowledge and understanding to analyse and evaluate the key features, making substantiated judgements and exploring concepts as relevant, of cause, consequence, change, continuity, similarity, difference and significance.

o AO2 analyse and evaluate appropriate source material, primary and/or contemporary to the period, within its historical context


In the exam: Question 1b is worth 20 marks, and you should aim to spend around 35 mins on this question

5 mins preparation:

· Step 1: Re-read the question and the sources

· Step 2: Consider how far each source supports the proposition

· Step 3.: Plan your answer:

  • Introduction (summary of how far each source agrees with the proposition)

  • Discuss how the first source agrees and/ or disagrees with the proposition (extracts of source + contextual knowledge)

  • Discuss how the second source agrees and/ or disagrees with the proposition (extracts of source + contextual knowledge)

  • Conclusion (summarize your arguments)

30 mins writing:

· Use your plan to help write your answer.

NB This is like a mini-essay question. Use your own knowledge to complement the information contained in the sources and to reach relevant conclusions.



Question 2

Requires you to compare two ‘interpretations’ (secondary sources) and, using your knowledge of the historical context, decide which interpretation you find most convincing. This question requires you to:

  • Assess and evaluate what the historians are saying, stating strengths and weaknesses of each interpretation

  • State whether you agree or disagree with their interpretations and explain why

  • Use relevant knowledge to support your arguments

  • Present clear and substantiated conclusions concerning which interpretation is more convincing

This question targets AO3: the candidate’s ability to analyse and evaluate, in relation to historical context, different ways in which aspects of the past have been interpreted.


In the exam: Question 2 is worth 25 marks, you should aim to spend around 45 mins on this question:

5 mins preparation:

· Step 1: Read the question twice. Read and re-read both interpretations and underline key phrases to help prepare your answer.

· Step 2: Think about other evidence from your own knowledge that relates to the arguments stated in both interpretations

· Step 3 Plan your answer:

  • Introduction - summarize key arguments in each interpretation and briefly state your argument

  • Analysis of interpretation 1: analyze the strengths and weaknesses using your contextual knowledge to support and challenge the viewpoint of the historian (extracts of source + relevant contextual knowledge)

  • Analysis of interpretation 2: analyze the strengths and weaknesses using your contextual knowledge to support and challenge the viewpoint of the historian (extracts of source + relevant contextual knowledge)

  • Conclusion - summarize the key strengths of each interpretation and the reasons you found one interpretation more convincing than the other.


35 mins writing:

· Use your plan to help write your answer.

NB: Remember, don’t be afraid to challenge an historian’s point of view using relevant contextual knowledge to support your argument. Good responses will use the content of both interpretations in a selective manner to present clear and developed judgements which are supported by accurate recall of relevant contextual knowledge to reach developed conclusions.



Question 3

There is a choice of two questions: you need answer one choice. This is a traditional essay question and you need to state your position in relation to the question’s proposition. You need to make clear arguments justifying your position and draw clear conclusions. Be structured and coherent and only include contextual knowledge relevant to the question. Repeatedly refer to the question to ensure your writing keeps focused on the topic.

This question targets AO1: the candidate’s ability to demonstrate, organise and communicate knowledge and understanding to analyse and evaluate the key features making substantiated judgements and exploring concepts, as relevant, of cause, consequence, change, continuity, similarity, difference and significance.


In the exam: Question 3 is worth 20 marks, and you should aim to spend around 40 mins on this question:

5 minutes preparation:

· Step 1: Read the question twice then read and re-read the sources, underlining key phrases.

· Step 2: Bullet point main arguments answering the question

· Step 3: Plan your answer:

  • Introduction: introduce the issues you are going to address in the body of the essay.

  • Body of essay: Use a paragraph to address each main argument.

  • Conclusion: summarize your main arguments


35 minutes writing:

· Use your plan to help write your answer.

NB: You should spend about 10-15 minutes of the available 35 minutes discussing the main proposition before analyzing the role of other relevant factors for this topic. Quality of written communication is assessed in this question. Correct grammar, spelling and punctuation is important.

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