How to answer Paper 2 (Source Based) questions

I did my GCSE history (OCR) last year and came out with an A* so this really works! I made this boring word document, but I found it really useful to revise from as it's essentially just all the techniques you need on one sheet.

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  • Created by: Hannah
  • Created on: 02-04-12 23:05
Preview of How to answer Paper 2 (Source Based) questions

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How to answer questions on Paper 2
Question 1 ­ inference question
Pick out 2 things that the source shows and explain them
Use the other sources to support what you've said.
(eg. `What can you learn from source A?'
If the question asks you to look at source A, then pick out your points from source A
and explain them, and then quote from maybe source D to back your points)
Question 2 ­ Surprised?
State whether you are surprised by the source or not, and say why
Use another source to back up what you've said by quoting from it
State the other side (If you've said why you are surprised, then say why you're
not surprised in this part)
Use another source to back up this side by quoting from it
(eg. `Are you surprised by source C?'
`I am surprised by source C because it shows... And this means that...
Also, source E agrees with this as it says...
I am not surprised by source C because... Which means... And this is supported by
source B which says...')
Question 3 ­ Usefulness
Explain why the source is useful
Quote from another source which says a similar thing to the point your are
trying to make
Explain why the source isn't useful
Use another source to support your point that it isn't useful
Decide whether overall the source is useful or not useful and say why
Mention any attitudes of the time that it shows you, and exaggeration or bias
that the source might have in it
(eg. `Is source D useful in showing how people lived?'
`Source D is useful because it shows.... Another source that shows the same thing is
source B.. which says..
Source D is not useful however because it doesn't tell you... And we can see that
this was important because source A tells us that..
Overall, I think that source D is useful as it shows us about ...
However, it is a cartoon and is not reliable as it was written to amuse people ')
Question 4 ­ Similarity
Explain how the sources are similar. Use quotes from the sources mentioned
Explain how the sources are different
Make sure you keep comparing the sources
Say whether they are similar or different overall
Mention any differences in the purpose of the source (eg. If it is a letter, it will
contain personal views, if it is a cartoon it will be made to amuse people) or the
audience and tone. Explain why this might lead to the sources saying different

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How far are sources A and E similar?'
`They are similar because... and source A says that... and also, source E says that...
which shows...
They are different because...
Overall they are more similar/different because... and source A was written because...
whereas source E had a different purpose, which was..…read more


Scarlett Culliney

Thank you so much, so helpful, appreciate this :)


Thanks a lot for putting this up here, its been a great asset to my revision! =D 

Rebecca Chawner

This is really useful thanks!


Glad you've found it useful! 

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