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History Igcse Essay

IGCSE Modern World History Revision!

The Cambridge IGCSE Modern World History Examination consists of two papers:
Paper 1: Core Content - Students answer three question in the (a) Describe, (b) Explain, (c) Assess format in two hours.
Paper 2: Sourcework - Students answer six questions based around sources focusing on "To what extent was the League of Nations a Success in the 1920s and 1930s?"

As well as the specific resources listed below, you could also try these two quizzes:

Revision quizzes covering the entire course:
Play Your Dates Right Quiz (tests chronological understanding)
Who Am I? Challenge (tests knowledge of key individuals)

Interactive Paper 1 questions:
Describe [4] [practice questions] | Explain [6] [practice questions] | Assess [10] [practice questions]

Paper 1 (structured questions, two hours)

In Paper 1, you are required to answer THREE questions in the (a) Describe, (b) Explain, (c) Assess format.
You have 40 minutes to answer each of these three questions (i.e. two hours in total).

Paper 2 (sourcework questions, 2 hours): To what extent was the League of Nations a Success in the 1920s and 1930s?

You will answer six compulsory sourcework questions.
When appropriate, you will use your background knowledge to evaluate and elaborate upon the sources.

The theme for Summer 2018 will be "To what extent was the League of Nations a Success in the 1920s and 1930s?".

The following resources will help you revise and develop your sourcework skills ready for the exam.

Source Overlay Template
Sourcework Skills Overview
Interactive Cartoon Analysis Tool
Origin of Sources: Evaluation Worksheet
Purpose of Sources: Evaluation Worksheet
Nature of Sources: Evaluation Worksheet
Sourcework Question Markschemes
2 Key Cartoonists: Low and Partridge

Other revision sites recommended by ActiveHistory


Other revision ideas from Tarr's Toolbox:
"Leaderboard Challenge" for "Fling the Teacher"
Arcade Game Generator: Create several revision quizzes with one set of questions
"Tell us something we don't know!": A quiz to develop deeper understanding
Create a Revision Quiz in the format of a 'Pacman' Game!
Dice and Card Game Strategies for Revising Key Terms
Only Connect!
Share test questions in advance
Tic Tac Know
Spot the Mistakes
Guess Who / Guess What
Snooker and Battleships
Challenge Grid
Who / Where / What Am I?


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GCSE History essays are difficult. For many students taking GCSE History, how to structure your GCSE History essays and source responses are often the most challenging parts of the course. Learning core facts and remembering key dates for the GCSE History course are relatively straightforward. Analysing and evaluating the importance of various factors, reasons and causes are a lot more difficult and these skills take time to develop.

Below are some templates of how to structure your GCSE History essays and source based questions (N.B. the suggested timings may vary between exam boards, but the structure will remain the same).

What can you learn from source X about…..?

You need to make two inferences, explained and supported with quotes if a written source or select details if it is a picture. Spend about 6 minutes on this 4 mark question

Describe how…..This is a describe / key features question

You need to make at least two statements that are well supported by own knowledge and presented in separate paragraphs. Say “Firstly….” then “Secondly…” Spend about 8 minutes on this 6 mark question

“Explain the effects of…” This is a consequence question

You need to clearly explain two or more consequences that are set out in separate paragraphs and are supported by well selected and relevant own knowledge. Show links between the consequences for full marks and assess the extent of change. How much of an impact did it have? Spend about 12 minutes on this 8 mark question

“How did X change between….” This is a change or development question.

You need to explain two or more changes that developed something or affected something, showing how one led to the other for full marks. You need to support your answer by bringing in your own knowledge and that you put each change in a separate paragraph. It is crucial that in your answer you refer to what the situation was like before to make it clear to the examiner that you understand what changed. Spend about 12 minutes on this 8 mark question

Look out for our next blog post on how to structure the 30 mark “mini essay” question

For further details about GCSE preparation, GCSE History essays, GCSE mock exams, GCSE Revision Booster courses or private tuition bespoke to your requirements, please contact [email protected]

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