History is a vast subject, full of dates to remember, strange names to spell and complicated source material. All of those can become overwhelming. But don't fear - in this blog post I have listed ways to use common studying aids to your advantage to help you achieve your best potential in this difficult subject. 

Revision Cards

Great for: Smaller parts of a topic you are confused about, getting an overall idea of a topic and the opinions of each side.

There are different ways to make revision cards useful, for History A Level I found writing several things on one card was helpful. I also had a variety of different styles, so don't feel like you have to do every single one as a matching set. You can challenge yourself to write out a whole card without looking it up in the textbook to see what you can remember - this will help solidify the topic in your mind. 

Make mini mind maps on the cards by putting the topic in the centre and drawing arrows with brief points and examples of events. This works well for smaller topics or condenses a big topic into an accessible format that can be looked at briefly.

Another way to make them useful is having 'Good' points on one side and 'Bad' points on the other, or 'Yes' on one side and 'No' on the reverse. Write the reasons for each opinion on both sides, including examples. Highlight key examples with the same colour across all your revision cards and use the same colour for titles belonging to the same chapter in the textbook. These methods are good at interpreting a topic from different points of view.

Top tip - Below is an example of a bad revision card. I have been quite vague here with reasons why Saladin could be seen as a good or bad leader, it would have been better if I had used examples to explain why I had written each point. For example, Bad Point - Saladin killed many people in the Battle of Hattin, 4th July 1187. 

Websites such as Quizlet offer you the option to make digital versions of cards which is very helpful. You can use this website to make revision cards into games and read other people's cards on a variety of topics.

Revision cards don't take over from other methods of studying but are good to combine with other resources.

Mind Maps

Great for: listing everything from one big topic, understanding small topics.

One way to start a mind map is by starting with a broad topic and creating branches and sub-branches off until everything is noted down. If you choose this way, get a massive piece of paper and just keep expanding and adding on, with branches and sub-branches. Always remember to have examples and dates for events and make sure to highlight them in a bright colour.

If it's a specific topic that will only require a few branches get an A4 piece of paper and put the subject heading in the middle and create branches off.

Post it Notes

Great for: Remembering dates.

Posts are really good for memorising dates. As soon as you learn a date that you need to remember write it on a post-it and stick it somewhere you'll see it. Using a variety of colours and places to stick the notes can act as a memory aid e.g. 'Pope Innocent II preached at the Council of Clermont on 18th November 1095, which is yellow and above the fridge'. 

What helps you study for History A Level or GCSE?

Thanks for reading! I hope you learnt something from this post.

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