A Level History is a step up from previously studied History. Having an A Level History Tutor can really excel your learning and understanding of A-level History.
A Level History fosters a deep understanding of people, periods and events. It develops a student’s ability to engage in evidence-based enquiry, as well as their independent thought and critical thinking. Students develop an understanding of why societies attribute significance to people and events, as well as why different societies and epochs diverge in their appraisals. This A Level is a strong choice for any student hoping to pursue humanities or social sciences.
It’s important to identify which exam board your child’s school is following for A Level History as they do vary. For example, they offer different period or theme papers. Having some knowledge of exam boards is great information to give to your A Level History Tutor. This will help them tailor their lessons with your child, to include relevant syllabus content.
The main exam boards for A Level History are:
Though syllabuses and prescribed materials do vary, an A Level in History is generally intended to:
In sourcework, students should try to avoid a formulaic approach to their response and instead evaluate the value or credibility of a source in relation to the issue evoked in the question. In discursive essays, examiner reports have noted that the best answers have a line of argument that runs through the entire length of the response, rather than a verdict at the end of the essay.
Even if exams are an opportunity to show off what you know, History A Level also requires a candidate to write clearly and concisely. This consideration is particularly important when it comes to Answering The Question! Examiner reports are often critical of candidates who submit essay answers that appear to have been prepared beforehand and then awkwardly manipulated to fit the terms of the set exam question. Instead, a candidate should invest time in becoming familiar with prescribed periods and events. Again, though contextual knowledge is important for scoring the highest possible mark, it should be used with consideration: nothing in a candidate’s essay should be to the detriment of Answering The Question at hand!
So, to do well your A Level History Tutor will spend a lot of time in the run up to the exam going through past papers. Going through past papers means your A Level History Tutor can help your child master each style of exam question. This will help your child to obtain higher marks.
As a parent, you need to understand how your child’s A Level History exams will be marked. This is so that you know how to help them to obtain the best mark that they can achieve. All the exam boards publish detailed guidance on what they are looking for, including specimen marked answers. The examiner will be giving a specific number of marks for predetermined responses to each question.
Your child needs to know exactly what the examiner wants from them in each style of assessment. They then need to learn how to ‘tick the boxes’ on the mark scheme to ensure they pick up the most marks they can. Learning different exam question styles will be an essential part of your child’s time with their A Level History tutor.
It is important that your child allows enough time for the revision process. They need to do their work properly. You’re A Level History tutor will have a structured revision plan by the January of their exam year.
Firstly, make sure your child has their notes in order! It is often helpful to check off notes against the requirement of a syllabus as the year goes on. Once you’re both confident that your child has covered and noted the whole syllabus, they can independently start to make revision notes and mind maps based on things such as themes, genres, or periods. The skills developed in this re-noting and reformulating are very helpful for planning and writing essays, which is usually best left until towards exam season.
Before exam season however, it is important to liaise with teachers about any material that your child is finding difficult. The more notice you give them before exams, the more likely it is that they’ll be able to make time to offer support and go over tricky topics.
Throughout the academic year and revision period, it is also helpful to think about how your child learns best. Do they like the pressure of a memory test or flashcards? Or mapping out key ideas helpful? Maybe they like challenging themselves to write everything they know about a topic on one side of A4? Or talking things over with a parent, sibling, or with their A Level History tutor? Or recording useful or interesting constructions to play back on the bus? Everyone learns and revises differently!
According to a Department for Education assessment released on 30 September 2021, “exam boards will provide advance information about the focus of the content of the exams for all GCSE, AS and A level subjects… for the summer 2022 exams”. This information will be released by 7 February 2022. If the information is released sooner than 7 February, DfE will give schools and students “at least a week’s notice”.
Even after navigating the demands of GCSEs, students can feel immense pressure around the time of public exams and it is part of your job as a parent to help them navigate this. On a positive note, this can be a time of great personal growth for teenagers, as they specialise in academic interests, sustain hard work over many months and push through exam nerves. Talk to your child about managing their emotions and introduce important elements of self care, such as sufficient sleep and good nutrition.
The best way to support your child through their History A Level is to give them the tools and skills to succeed. Some targeted intervention with an experienced A Level History tutor can make all the difference. Our A Level History tutors are experienced, qualified teachers, Heads of Department and Examiners who know the A Level History syllabuses back to front. They can teach your child in the manner they learn best, explain the latest mark schemes, and dramatically improve their essay technique.