1. Answer the question that is set
Some students fail to answer the actual question set. Perhaps they misread the question or answer a different question that they had prepared for. Read the question once right through and then again more slowly. Some students underline the key words in a question. Make sure you do not just write everything you know about the topic. Only include information if it supports your answer to the question set. Examiners do not award marks for correct information that is not relevant to the question. If there is a choice of questions, make sure you can answer all parts of the question before choosing to tackle it.
2. Think carefully about the length of your answer
You should use the number of marks allocated to the question as a guide to how much you need to write. Questions that carry 2 or 3 marks require no more than 2 or 3 lines of answer. Remember, no matter how much you write you will never score more than 2 or 3 marks. Questions that carry 8, 10 or more marks require extended writing with points being explained.
3. Questions based on historical sources
Some of the questions will be based on historical source material. Make sure you use the source in your answer. You will also need to use your knowledge of the topic to help you explain what the source means and whether the source can be trusted. Only include this knowledge if it helps you to say something better about the sources.
4. Explaining, analysing and making judgements
Questions that ask for extended writing will also require you to produce explanations. These questions often ask why something happened. Make sure you give several reasons, and that you explain how those reasons helped bring about a particular event or development. Some questions require you to reach a judgement, e.g. whether one cause was more important than another. You must support your judgement with evidence.
5. Quality of written communication
In those questions that require extended writing, marks are awarded for the quality of your written communication. This includes explaining you arguments clearly, organising your answers carefully, and using correct grammar, punctuation and spelling.