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April 24, 2021, 03:02:31 am

Author Topic: A Guide to Surviving HSC History Unscathed  (Read 1694 times)  Share 

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darcyynic

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A Guide to Surviving HSC History Unscathed
« on: November 21, 2018, 02:52:52 pm »
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A Guide to Surviving HSC History Unscathed

Hello my fellow history nerds!

Having recently completed survived five unit history in one piece, I thought Iíd share my advice on how to succeed in the three HSC History courses. While I havenít gotten my HSC results back yet, I did rank first in all of my history assessments and absolutely LOVED the three subjects, so I thought that I would share the methods I used to attain these results. HSC History is honestly a monster, but if you love it and put the time in, it is a monster that you too can conquer!

Find something to love about it.

I think the trick to doing well in Modern, Ancient, and Extension is finding something to love about the subject. This is because the histories arenít like the STEM subjects which reward you for just knowing the correct answer. In the histories, not only do you need to have the correct answer, but you also need to justify it in a sophisticated manner! And, in my personal experience, you are ALWAYS able to better justify something if you are engaged and passionate about your argument. Also, reading through textbooks for hours on end (try days on end if you do five unit history) can be really boring, so finding something you love about what youíre studying can really help. Although I have always been passionate about history, here are a few things which helped me develop a deeper appreciation for the subjects:

Reading (or watching/listening) beyond the set material: I read above and beyond for all three histories during the HSC, more than I did for any of my other subjects. I read any historiography I could get my hands on and listened to history podcasts when I was cooking or walking to work. I watched documentaries and television shows (Mary Beard Iím looking at you) and read blogs and new articles. I consumed everything I could because the more I knew about the past, the more I became intrigued by it. For example, learning about the contemporary problems facing historians studying Nazi Germany made me all the more passionate about my nationality study as I had a deeper understanding than the set syllabus. Also, by reading above and beyond, you can trick yourself into loving the subject even more, because your extra knowledge will be rewarded and noticed by your teacher. Humans are suckers for compliments, so you might end up wanting to read more and more!

Realise that doing HSC History makes you somewhat of an historian: By adopting this mindset, the exams and assessments will seem less pointless. I sat down before my half-yearly exams and wrote out my purpose for doing each subject, in order to make the hours of study seem more important. By pretending that I was doing historical research and writing ground-breaking essays (instead of just regurgitating material in an exam setting), history suddenly felt so much more meaningful. By doing HSC History with the mindset that you are an historian seeking to contribute something new to the field, Trials become so much more interesting.

Asking for feedback.

Writing practice responses from the beginning of the year and receiving feedback for them is another key to achieving in the Histories. There isnít much point in writing essays if you arenít getting advice on how to improve. If you are getting 15/25 in your essays at the beginning of the year, you only need to improve by one mark in 10 practice essays until youíre sitting at full marks. By submitting each of these essays into your teacher/ATAR Notes and using their advice to improve your responses, youíll be absolutely killing it in no time.

Consistency.

Beginning early and keeping up my study routine throughout the entire year was another contributing factor to my success. Although the HSC is a whole year away, your first assessment is not. Beyond doing well internally, consistency throughout the entire year also means that you donít need to study manically in the weeks before exams, as youíve been consolidating your knowledge since Term Four.

My personal study methods.

Here are some SPECIFIC study strategies that I used throughout the year.

Making study notes. I know these arenít for everyone, however, having all of the content (overall explanation + historiography + specific detail) set out according to the syllabus was highly useful for me. It made everything seem less nebulous as it all sat before me in PDF files stored on my computer (and Google. Always save your study materials and assessments to a second place!) Also, the study notes meant that I could refresh content easily by reading certain sections before bed. I do understand, however, that study notes arenít for everyone, but for me they were a launchpad to other methods of study (such as detail tables/memorisation tables/argument tables.)

Argument tables. I used these for specific parts of the syllabus in order to begin structuring essay responses. For the nationality study, for example, I made an argument table for the intentionalist versus structuralist debate over Nazi Germany. Down the vertical side of the table, I listed several key events/factors, and then along the horizontal side of the table, I listed the two schools of debate. Then, in each box, I argued how that factor could prove the matching school of debate. By doing this for each factor, you are able to gain a deeper understanding of contrasting interpretations. Argument tables are also particularly useful in a personality study!

Memorisation tables. This was something that I made up for myself which were quite useful. I havenít heard anyone doing this exact method (they are somewhat similar to worksheets), but I believe it was fundamental to my ability to memorise vast amounts of content. Itís kind of like making a mass digital flash card. For each topic, I made a two columned table. On the left side I listed prompts for all of the specific detail I wanted to remember (such as, Historian Richard Evans said this about Hitlerís oratory skills) and then on the right side, I listed the answers. After I had completed the table for the topic, I would then use the Look, Cover, Write, Check method to memorise the detail. This specific technique enabled me to memorise hundreds of facts and quotes for each of my history subjects.

Essay plans as opposed to essays. Iíll be honest with you. I HATED doing practice essays, and instead preferred to make masses of detailed essay plans. Before an exam, I would make a word document and go through the syllabus listing several practice questions for every single bullet point. Then, I would go through all of the questions, writing out a thesis statement and then outline three possible body paragraphs. In this outline I would include a topic statement, any key ideas I wanted to remember, and specific detail (both facts and sources/historians). This tactic meant that I could revise vast amounts of content in 45 minutes, as opposed to using the 45 minutes to focus on writing only one essay.

Writing things I found tricky to memorise seven times.  I remember reading somewhere that writing or speaking things out seven times committed those things to memory. So, after completing my memorisation tables, with any specific detail or quote I found tricky to keep in my head, I used a book specifically for memorisation to write them out seven times. I went through several memorisation books for each subject during my HSC, and while they were incredibly messy, they got the job done!

My final piece of advice Ė keep your chin up! History, especially History Extension, can wear down your self-esteem after a while. There is so much content to get through and so much detail to memorise that it can be easy to become frustrated and worried. So just remember, that in the long term, it wonít matter that you couldnít remember the exact date Hitler came to power in your Trial exam and it wonít matter that you called one of the major histories of appeasement by the wrong name in your actual HSC exam (oops.) All that will end up mattering about HSC History is its development of your love for the past and the resilience it will instil in you.

Lots of love + good luck!
Darcy  :)
« Last Edit: November 22, 2018, 02:51:19 pm by darcyynic »
HSC Class of 2018: English Advanced, English Extension 1, English Extension 2, Modern History, Ancient History, History Extension, and German Continuers.

2019: Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Advanced Studies (Politics and International Relations) (Dalyell Scholars) at USYD.

Mada438

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Re: A Guide to Surviving HSC History Unscathed
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2018, 09:06:03 am »
+3
This is an AMAZING resource!!  ;D
Will be soooooooo useful for the 2019 year 12's. I reckon this should be made into an article as well!

Realise that doing HSC History makes you somewhat of an historian: By adopting this mindset, the exams and assessments will seem less pointless. I sat down before my half-yearly exams and wrote out my purpose for doing each subject, in order to make the hours of study seem more important. By pretending that I was doing historical research and writing ground-breaking essays (instead of just regurgitating material in an exam setting), history suddenly felt so much more meaningful. By doing HSC History with the mindset that you are an historian seeking to contribute something new to the field, Trials become so much more interesting.
I ESPECIALLY LOVE THIS PART. Honestly so useful. Why did no one tell me this in year 12!!??
"Live life like a pineapple. Stand tall, wear a crown and be sweet on the inside"

"May you grow up to be righteous; may you grow up to be true. May you always know the truth and see the lights surrounding you. May you always be courageous, stand upright and be strong"

"Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire"

Advice for starting year 12
An open letter to my School Friends
Would 10 year old you be proud of who you are?

2020: Bachelor of Arts @ANU

sudodds

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Re: A Guide to Surviving HSC History Unscathed
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2018, 02:01:59 pm »
+8
What an absolute superstar ;).

Darcyynic is one of the brightest history students i've come across (and I've come across A LOT of amazing students) - if there is anyone you should be taking advice from about how to survive year 12 history, its them!

<3 <3 <3
FREE HISTORY EXTENSION LECTURE - CLICK HERE FOR INFO!

2016 HSC: Modern History (18th in NSW) | History Extension (2nd place in the HTA Extension History Essay Prize) | Ancient History | Drama | English Advanced | Studies of Religion I | Economics

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Studying a Bachelor of Communications: Media Arts and Production at UTS 😊

Looking for a history tutor? I'm ya girl! Feel free to send me a PM if you're interested!

darcyynic

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Re: A Guide to Surviving HSC History Unscathed
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2018, 02:20:15 pm »
+3
What an absolute superstar ;).

Darcyynic is one of the brightest history students i've come across (and I've come across A LOT of amazing students) - if there is anyone you should be taking advice from about how to survive year 12 history, its them!

<3 <3 <3

awww miss you already susie <3
HSC Class of 2018: English Advanced, English Extension 1, English Extension 2, Modern History, Ancient History, History Extension, and German Continuers.

2019: Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Advanced Studies (Politics and International Relations) (Dalyell Scholars) at USYD.

jamonwindeyer

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Re: A Guide to Surviving HSC History Unscathed
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2018, 10:55:30 pm »
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Seriously incredible resource Darcyynic!! This would be perfect for our Articles section - If having this published there is of interest to you, let me know!! ;D