‘How much should I write for each section?’
‘In what order should I answer questions on the paper?’
Sean Delap, History teacher at The Institute of Education for the past 24 years, answers these questions and offers students preparing for the Junior Cert History exam some key advice…
- Keep a close eye on the time. Higher level students should ensure that you leave enough time to complete question six of the paper as this question caries one third of the total marks. It would be a good idea not to leave this question to the end.
- Buy a set of past exam papers or download them from examinations.ie and become familiar with the layout of the paper and the amount of time required for each question. Use the past papers as a revision guide. Remember many questions on your Junior Cert history paper will most likely have appeared on previous papers.
- Remain active when studying by practicing questions from the past papers. If you cannot answer a particular question, ask your teacher or consult your textbook.
- Attempt as many short questions as you can in question 3. You will get marks for the ten best answers and have a great chance of gaining full marks in this question.
- When answering questions from past papers and in the exam, use the mark allocations as a guide. A question carrying 2 to 4 marks requires a short answer .One or two sentences will do. A four to eight mark question would require a short paragraph. A longer paragraph or several paragraphs would be needed for a question carrying ten marks or more. A good rule of thumb here is to divide the marks allotted for the question by 2 and this should equal the amount of points needed in your answer e.g. a 10 mark question = 5 points. A point equals one relevant historical fact
- Students sometimes write too much background information on the lives of well-known historical figures. For instance if you were asked to write about a religious reformer (Junior Cert 2013) you will get very little marks for information relating to where and when Martin Luther was born or what his father did for a living etc. It’s important that you concentrate on that part of his life when he began to call for changes in the way the church was being run at that time. The examiner will expect to see information relating to the sale of indulgences, the 95 Theses, the Diet of Worms etc.
- Another common mistake in question 4 is that students fail to understand the difference between the life of a monk living in early Christian Ireland and that of a monk during medieval times.
- Students sometimes panic when under pressure. If you find that a question is difficult in a particular section, give it your best shot and move on. Don’t waste valuable time trying to work out an answer. Concentrate on the positive elements of the paper and who knows but that you may even enjoy the experience!
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