Tag Archives: exam skills

Example CIE AS History Paper 1: Liberalism & Nationalism in Italy and Germany

Due to CIE changing their AS and A Level courses from the old specification (9697) to the shiny new 9389, there is a lack of past papers for students to use as part of their revision.  While it is relatively easy to transfer essay questions to the new mark scheme, the source paper focus (AS Level Component 1) has changed from the Causes of World War One to Liberalism and Nationalism in Italy and Germany, 1848–1871.

I have created an example CIE AS Paper 1 for this topic, which you can download using the link below.

Example CIE AS Paper 1 (European topic)

The paper can be marked using the generic CIE markscheme available for the Specimen Paper 1 from the CIE website here.

IGCSE and GCSE History source skills tips revision

Succeeding at Sourcework exam tips

This History revision podcast focuses on how to answer different types of source questions.  Many of the hints are good practice with for any sourcework paper, but if you would like specific advice for the CIE exams then check out my revision podcasts for IGCSE Paper 2 and IGCSE Paper 4.

This specific episode presents tips on a range source question types including:

  • Comprehension
  • Comprehension in Context
  • Reliability/Usefulness/Value
  • Source Comparisons
  • Interpretation


Paper 2 exam advice

IGCSE History Paper 2 exam tips

The summer 2017 exam will include a Paper 2 exam on the Peace Treaties of 1919. There are revision materials on this topic in the IGCSE/GCSE history revision menu.

This video (also available to download as a podcast) has been created specifically for students studying the CIE IGCSE History 0470 course, but a lot of the advice contained in it is appropriate for all source questions.  My advice comes from reading the examiner’s report, which is written by the chief examiner – that’s the person in charge of marking all your exam papers – in which they explain what students do well in the exam and what needs to be improved.

This episode provides general tips on how to improve the quality of source answers, drawn from common mistakes that students make in the CIE IGCSE History 0470 exam.  Specific advice is given on how the answer the final 12 mark question, which is always asks how far the collection sources agree (or disagree) with a particular point of view.

If you want more general guidance on answering source papers, download my other podcast called on Succeeding at Sourcework.  Although it’s not designed specifically for the CIE Paper 2, it still contains lots of good tips that you might find helpful.


Argument words

‘Argument words’ vocabulary mat by @Snoopycmf

Students can sometimes find it difficult to reach a conclusion on the importance or significance of a particular factor. This handy ‘Argument words’ mat by @Snoopycmf is a great starting point to help develop this vocabulary.

Download hi-res version here.

exam tips

IGCSE History 0470 Paper 4 exam tips

This revision podcast relates specifically to the CIE IGCSE History Paper 4 examination. IGCSE History 0470 Paper 4 is the Depth Study paper, and consequently the content material differs depending on what Depth Study you studied at your school. It doesn’t matter which one you focused on as the layout of the exam and the requirements of the mark scheme are the same. Consequently this podcast aims to be as broad as possible.

As with my revision podcast for IGCSE Paper 2, this episode is built around the notes from the examiner’s report combined with my own practical tips and tricks for using your knowledge and skills in the right ways in order to gain the number of marks you deserve.

Download MP3

GCSE History source comprehension

I/GCSE History source paper revision – how to answer comprehension questions

These are often the early question on a paper, and usually have lower marks than some of the questions that require more detailed analysis. While there’s no ‘easy’ questions on a History exam, comprehension source questions are arguably the easiest that you’ll come across.

History revision comprehension in context

I/GCSE History source paper revision – comprehension in context questions

You’ve probably never called them this, but you will have seen them before. These are the types of questions that need you to understand what a source tells you about a person or situation and then link it to your own knowledge of the period.

Source reliability and usefulness revision

I/GCSE History source paper revision – reliability, usefulness and value

In these types of questions the examiner wants to see that you recognise that some sources have more value to historians than others, some are more reliable than others, and some are more useful than others.

It’s important to go into the exam knowing that sources can never be completely reliable or unreliable – but they can be more or less reliable. Every source has positive and negative aspects, and you need to consider these in your answer.


Source comparison revision

I/GCSE History source paper revision – how to compare sources

If you haven’t watched my other videos on source comprehension, comprehension in context, and usefulness, value and reliability I suggest you look at those first as the skills you use for those are very similar.

There are really two different types of question that may call for source comparison. The first are those that want you to compare the value of sources, and those that want you to compare their messages by identifying agreements and disagreements. Answering a question about the value of sources is dealt with in one of my other videos, so click here to take a look at it. To answer questions that call on you to compare source messages, watch this video for my advice.

Source interpretation questions

I/GCSE History source paper revision – answering ‘how far’ interpretations

A ‘how far’ source interpretation question is usually the last to appear on the exam, and invariably carries the most marks. Therefore you need to plan your time carefully to ensure you leave a good chunk at the end to answer this question in sufficient detail.