AS History (Source based question paper exam technique)

  • Created by: Andrew
  • Created on: 26-02-11 22:04

AS level History Exam Technique

A standard AS History Exam paper will contain a cover page (containing the information about the exam in general).  This is then followed by 2 questions, you will only need to do ONE of the two questions!

Tips before you attempt the questions:

  • It is always best to spend 2-3 minutes reading the paper carefully and select which question you can score highest on. 
  • Scribble down information to help you on the question paper (your the one doing the exam so scribble away).


  • Keep calm throughout.  I know that 1:30 hours seems very little when you have to complete a 32 point question so just take time to think your answer through before writing anything down on your answer booklet.


  • TIMING IS KEY, you must time your questions to prevent a mad rush towards the end of the time limit.  Spending 20 minutes on a 4 mark question is just crazy! so before the exam it is always a good idea to do past paper exams to help prepare you for the real thing.  Allocate appropriate timings for each question (as they say a mark a minute is the way forward).  ENSURE that you can see a clock at all times (or bring a watch/stopwatch from home). 

The First question on any Source based exam paper (I am doing WJEC European History) will be a simple 4 mark question that will usually be a definition type question.


A) Study Source A. Use Source A

and your own knowledge to explain the meaning of the word ‘indulgences (4)


Technique for answering this question:

  • First define the word.
  • Next use a brief explanation (use the source) to tie it into your syllabus.
  • REMEMBER this question is only worth 4 marks so you only need to state 4 points.
  • You should only spend 5 minutes on this question (use a watch or clock to time).


First one down, hopefully you have gained the 4 easy points.  OK now onto question B this one is worth 8 (in WJEC spec anyways),


B)  Study Sources A and B. Use Sources A and B and your own knowledge  to explain the importance of the practices encouraged by the Catholic Church in the early sixteenth century (8)


Technique for answering the question:

  • First you must evaluate the content of source A (what does it say?).
  • Next you must state it's attribution(who wrote it, date, type of source etc).
  • Answer the question by using source A and knowledgerelating to the source.
  • Repeat the process for source B, this time create links with source A.
  • REMEMBER use names, dates, facts (to get the high marks).
  • Be precise and detailedDO NOT waffle on and talk about non related topics.
  • This is a 8 point question so state 8-10




Thank you!



Really helpful



Really helpful



thank you