writing for the vce history revolutions exam


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WRITING FOR THE VCE HISTORY REVOLUTIONS EXAM. Luke Cashman VCE History Teacher Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School. What will be covered today?. Structure of the exam Exam format: question booklet & answer booklet Time allocation Which Revolution for which Section? - PowerPoint PPT Presentation



    Luke CashmanVCE History Teacher Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School

  • *What will be covered today?Structure of the examExam format: question booklet & answer bookletTime allocationWhich Revolution for which Section?How to address particular questionsSample student responsesPreparation and study adviceStudy resourcesGeneral hints and tips

  • *Structure of the examinationWednesday, 14 November 3.00 - 5.15pmThe exam is worth 50% of your overall result for this subjectTotal of 80 marks15 minutes reading (and thinking) timeTwo hours writing timeTwo Sections (A & B) which contain two Outcomes each:Outcome 1: Movements, Ideas, Leaders and EventsOutcome 2: Creating a new society

  • *Section A & Section BEach Section is worth 40 marks; each Outcome is worth 20 marks Therefore 60 minutes per Section; 30 minutes per OutcomeRoughly 500 words per Outcome every 30 minutesYou must nominate which Revolution you will address on the front page for both Sections in the Answer bookYou can only write on ONE revolution in each Section. Eg:Section A: America (both Outcomes)Section B: China (both Outcomes)

  • Exam format

    Separate Question and Answer bookIn the past, these were combinedFacilitate computer scanning for assessmentHopefully prevent problems over which Revolution to write on in each SectionEach Outcome immediately follows on from the previous one in each Section You MUST write your responses in the appropriate place in the Answer bookUse extra space provided appropriately clearly label your responsesDo not use pencil; blue or black pen only


  • *Which Revolution to write on for Sections A and B:Which Revolution can you write on in both Sections?Which Revolution should you write on?Two options:Decide in the exam room after you have read the questionsDecide prior to the exam, regardless of the questionsIf you take the latter option:Decide early so that you reduce your preparation timeThink about the SACs you sat during the yearFor example - France: SAC 1 Document Analysis; SAC 2 Argumentative essay corresponds to Section B



  • *Section A, Outcome 1 (I)Indicate which Revolution you are addressing in the Answer bookMovements, ideas, leaders and events that contributed to the RevolutionLong-term, structural factors such as: social, economic and political causesShort-term precipitants: wars, financial crises, signs of weakness at the top etc.Question format: Short AnswerTwo questions; BOTH must be answered10 marks each; 15 minutes per questionThis includes >1 minute planning eachApproximately 250 words per questionAddress these questions in the appropriate section of the Answer book

  • *Section A, Outcome 1 (II)Read the question carefully and underline/highlight key termsStay within the timeframe given in the question (eg: between February and October 1917)The first sentence must answer the question directlyA successful answer requires about four different relevant points. (Exam advice for Revolutions, The Age, 12.9.11)Use signposting to connect or differentiate between your points (eg: firstly; secondly; thirdly; finally)Include specific detail: groups & movements; individuals; key events (dates); the impact of ideas and ideologies; policies and documents/speechesHistorians views NOT required (Assessors Report on the 2011 Revolutions exam)

  • *Section A, Outcome 1 (III)Focus: explain how a movement, leader, idea or event contributed to the development of a revolutionary situation, or explain their importance/significanceUse words that highlight causal role of an event, person etc: catalyst, highlighted, intensified dissatisfaction, polarised, popularised, articulated, stimulated; led to, contributed to, crucial factor in.How and why key social groups (including the armed forces) withdrew their support from the regimeWhat mistakes or errors were made by the old regime (eg poor decisions; failed attempts at reform; increased political repression; weak leadership)How and why particular political groups or parties (eg the Bolsheviks or the CCP) were able to muster and maintain sufficient support

  • *Section A, Outcome 2 (I)Creating a new societyThe same Revolution that you wrote on in Outcome 1Follows on directly from Outcome 1 - easy to findKey areas to focus on:What were the aims and goals of the revolutionaries?Did the Revolution fall short of its goals? If so, why?Challenges/obstacles/crises: military, political, social and economicResponses: disproportionate and brutal OR necessary and appropriate?Change and continuity: was the new regime markedly different to the one it replaced?Task format: Document Analysis1 document; 30 minutes (including planning)

  • *Section A, Outcome 2 (II)The part of the paper that has proven most challenging (Chief Assessor, The Age, 9 September 2009)Can be any of: document, commentary, visual representation or interpretationPrimary or secondary; visual or writtenFour questions (a, b, c & d)Questions a and b: short comprehension / knowledge questions: 2 marks eachYour ability to interpret the extract Be succinct but answer the questionRead the questions carefully and get them right!

  • *Section A, Outcome 2 (III)

    Question c:Knowledge/understanding; historical context surrounding the extract.Key phrase in the question: By quoting from the extract and using your own knowledge or By referring to parts of the graphicMeet this requirement by quoting directly from the extract or describing an element of a visual representation.Useful phrases: As stated in the extract or As Chairman Mao has written here or As can be seen in the visual

  • *Section A, Outcome 2 (IV)

    Question c:Read the question carefully & highlight key termsDo not simply write a narrative of events The first sentence should answer the question (a topic sentence)Expand on this with three main ideasUse signposting to connect, or differentiate between, ideasUse specific historical knowledge (dates, names etc)Stay within the time frame of the questionAbout 10 minutesApproximately 150 wordsAddress this in the appropriate section of the Answer book

  • *Section A, Outcome 2 (V)Question d:Evaluate the usefulness or reliability of the documentThis means three things:Know what event or issue the document refers toUnderstand whose perspective is being presented Know what others have said about that event or issue (can be contemporary views or historians)Read the question carefully and underline key termsPlan before you write; decide how reliable or useful the document is in representing a specific episode of the past and be prepared to explain your answerYou MUST stay within the time frame of the question

  • *Section A, Outcome 2 (VI)Question d:Your first sentence must answer the question (ie: how reliable or useful is the source: extremely; quite; somewhat; limited etc) Discuss the strengths and/or limitations of the source; refer to obvious bias or deliberate distortion if evidentOmission what aspect of the event or issue does the document not discuss (ie other causes or consequences)Quote written documents or describe a particular element of a visual sourceDiscuss viewpoints that agree with the extract (if possible)Discuss viewpoints that disagree with the extractIt is not enough to list schools (eg: Marxists; revisionists); you need to know what particular historians have argued about specific aspects of the revolution

  • *Section A, Outcome 2 (VII)Question d:Top students are now starting to quote historians (Assessors Report on the 2010 Revs exam)Use well-known historiansUse signposting throughout to indicate where viewpoints differ or concur (Similarly; on the other hand; in addition; however)Summarise your findings in the final sentence; link back the question directly Eg: Therefore, this extract is of limited use because Approximately 250 words15 minutesAddress this in the appropriate place in the Answer book



  • *Section B, Outcome 1 (I)Remember that you must write on a different revolution from the one you referred to in Section AMark this in the appropriate place in the Answer bookAOS 1 - Movements, Ideas, Leaders and EventsThe task in Section B, Outcome 1 is essentially the same as Section A, Outcome 2Document analysis: Any of a document, commentary, visual representation or interpretation Format: a, b, c & d20 marks; 30 minutes including planningAddress this in the appropriate place in the Answer book

  • *Section B, Outcome 2 (I)Refer to the same revolution as you did in Section B, Outcome 1AOS 2: Creating a new societyFormat: Argumentative EssayONE essay question per revolution - no choice given as in past exams Questions are specific to one of the four revolutionsAccompanied by a quote from a participant or historian, or a general statementThis could help you engage with the broader debates on the Revolution

  • *Section B, Outcome 2 (II)Read the question carefully Highlight/underline the key wordsWrite a brief plan to structure and organise your responseIf a change and continuity question, only minimal reference to AOS 1; otherwise, none at all20 marks; 30 minutesArgue a clear, strong contention that refers directly to the question Develop a complex contention; avoid simply agreeing or disagreeing with the question (eg. some goals met; not all)

  • *Section B, Outcome 2 (III)Use paragraphing with clear topic sentencesExpand on topic sentences with relevant and specific evidence: policies or speecheskey documentskey eventsstatistics and quotes important individuals, institutions & groupsaccurate datesHistorians views can be included but they should be used to support your ideas, not as evid