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Revise for GCSE Humanities: How to Answer Exam Questions. Section A Question A (2 marks) Knowledge and Source Skills. To answer the question correctly you will need to : Identify what is happening in the photograph. Explain what is happening by remembering the history you have studied.

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Revise for GCSE Humanities: How to Answer Exam Questions

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Revise for gcse humanities how to answer exam questions

Revise for GCSE Humanities: How to Answer Exam Questions

Section A Question A(2 marks)Knowledge and Source Skills

To answer the question correctly you will need to:

Identify what is happening in the photograph.

Explain what is happening by remembering the history you have studied.

Make an inference – explain what else you can work out from the source.

For example:

The picture shows Martin Luther kind leading a Civil Rights march.

The marchers were campaigning peacefully for an end to segregation in jobs and schools. They also wanted the right to vote.

The picture tells me that the Civil Rights Movement used peaceful methods, like large marches to show how much support they had. They also used sit-ins at lunch counters an on buses.

Notice: how the source has been used to support what is said and that other information has been included.

Broadwater School History Department


Revise for gcse humanities how to answer exam questions

Revise for GCSE Humanities: How to Answer Exam Questions

Section A Question B (4 marks)Knowledge and Understanding

To answer the question correctly you will need to:

Describe, which means outline the main features. It is worth four marks, so aim for four facts.

Write a list: peaceful protests, bus boycott, sit-ins, Freedom Riders, protest marches and rallies.

Use a sentence to explain about each of the main features you include.

For example:

Martin Luther King believed that peaceful protest would achieve equality for black people, because it would show that they were responsible and law abiding. The types of methods used included boycotting the segregated buses at Montgomery and the Freedom Riders who rode on segregated buses. Peaceful sit-ins at all-white lunch counters and peaceful marches, like those in Birmingham and Washington showed the sincerity of the protestors. TV coverage of the violence of the Police embarrassed the Federal Government into bringing in new laws.

Notice: how the answer always focuses on how it is actually answering the question.

Broadwater School History Department


Revise for gcse humanities how to answer exam questions

Revise for GCSE Humanities: How to Answer Exam Questions

Section A Question C (4 marks)Usefulness of a Source

To answer the question correctly you will need to:

Describe, what exactly the source is useful forif you were studying the inequality between black and white people in the USA in the 1960s.

Identify and explain what the source does not tell youif

you were studying the inequality between black and white

people in the USA in the 1960s.

For example:

Usefulness (worth 1 mark)

This source is useful because it tells me that there was inequality between black and white people in the USA in 1960 because very few black people were registered to vote in the southern states, ie. Mississippi, with only 5%.

Limitations and own knowledge (worth 3 marks)

The source isn’t any use for telling me about other ways in which black and white people were not equal. Black and white people were not equal because they had segregated schools, theatres and restaurants. Black Americans could not get the better paid jobs. The source is no good for all the 1960s, as the figures are only for 1960.

Notice: how the answer uses part of the wording of the question. Do this to make sure that you focus on actually answering the set question, in this case: usefulness for an historian studying the inequality between black and white Americans in the 1960s.

Broadwater School History Department


Revise for gcse humanities how to answer exam questions

Revise for GCSE Humanities: How to Answer Exam Questions

Section A Question D (6 marks)Arguments for and against an Interpretation

This question is testing:

Your knowledge and understanding.

Your ability to put forward facts to support different points of view.

Your ability to consider the reliability of sources.

To answer the question correctly you will need to:

Write out a list of arguments that support the view in the source that “black people had achieved almost full equality”. The Civil Rights Act, the Voting Right Act, desegregation of school and buses. (2 marks)

Write out a list of arguments that do not support the idea that black Americans had not achieved “almost full equality”. They were more likely to be poor and in worse paid jobs. They were more likely to live in poorer housing in inner city slums. (2 marks)

Comment on the author of the source and their point of view.

Write some explanation about why the author of the book supports the interpretation that black Americans had “almost full equality”:

What type of source is it? It is a school book, so you would expect it to be reliable, but as it is a school book it deals in general facts, (generally poorer, less well paid jobs, poor housing). (2 marks)

Notice: your answer should use part of the wording of the question. Do this to make sure that you focus on actually answering the set question, in this case: arguments for and against the view that “black people had achieved almost full equality by the end of the 1960s”.

Broadwater School History Department


Revise for gcse humanities how to answer exam questions

Revise for GCSE Humanities: How to Answer Exam Questions

Section A Question E (8 marks)An Essay to support a point of view

What is the question asking for?

The question will ask you if you agree with a particular interpretation of the past.

Because it is an interpretation question, you will be expected to use your knowledge and understanding to give arguments for and against a particular point of view.

It is also testing you ability to put forward facts to support different interpretations, or points of view.

It is worth 8 marks, so you will spend about ten minutes answering it.

To answer the question correctly you will need to:

Identify the several facts that support the interpretation, or point of view.

Identify the people who supported the Civil Rights Movement (CRM). These include most black Americans, some white Americans and many students. Identify important people and groups who supported the CRM, like Martin Luther King, the Freedom Riders, people at lunch-counter sit-ins and President Kennedy.

Identify the people who opposed the CRM. These include many white Americans, particularly in the southern states, many rural whites and white racists, like members of the Ku Klux Klan. Identify important people that did not support the CRM, like Bull Connor, Orville Faubus. Southern Democrats were also opposed to the Civil Rights reforms proposed by President Kennedy.

For the very best marks you ought to consider whether or not Malcolm X was a supporter of the CRM. He was campaigning for a separate Nation of Islam and criticised the peaceful methods used by the Civil Rights Movement.

Notice: your answer should use part of the wording of the question. It should appear in your introduction: The campaign for Civil Rights did not have the full support of both black and white people in the USA. Your conclusion should also echo it.

Broadwater School History Department


Revise for gcse humanities how to answer exam questions

Revise for GCSE Humanities: How to Answer Exam Questions

Section B Question A (4 marks)Knowledge and Understanding: Causation

What will the Examiners be looking for?

You must explain the factsin a way that actually answers the question, in this case: “why the USA became involved in a war in Vietnam”.

Level 1: Simple statements. A simple list of reasons why the USA became involved in the war in Vietnam. (1-2 marks)

Level 2: Developed statements that explain the reasons why the USA became involved in the war in Vietnam. (3-4 marks)

For example:

A simple listing of reasons why the USA became involved in a war in Vietnam (worth 2 marks for two facts)

The USA became involved in a war in Vietnam because of the spread of communism and because President Kennedy sent advisors and President Johnson sent troops.

An explanation of the reasons why the USA became involved in a war in Vietnam. (up to 4 marks for a good explanation)

After the Truman Doctrine the USA felt it had to protect the world from the spread of communism. Following the Cuban Missiles Crisis, Kennedy sent military advisors to help the South Vietnamese army. The communist North Vietnamese were trying to conquer the south. Kennedy and Johnson both believed in the Domino Theory. If one country in south-east Asia fell to the Communists, then many would. For this reason Johnson committed the USA to all out war with Operation “Rolling Thunder”.

Notice: how the answer includes both a list of reasons why the USA became involved in the war (for up to 2 marks), as well as an explanation of why these things led to the USA becoming involved in the Vietnam War(for up to 4 marks).

Broadwater School History Department


Revise for gcse humanities how to answer exam questions

Revise for GCSE Humanities: How to Answer Exam Questions

Section B Question B (4 marks)Knowledge of Key Features

What will the Examiners be looking for?

You must describe the methods used by the USA to fight the war in Vietnam”.

Level 1: Simple statements. A list of methods used by the USA to fight the war in Vietnam. (1-2 marks)

Level 2: Developed statements that explain methods used by the USA to fight the war in Vietnam. (3-4 marks)

For example:

A simple listing of reasons why the USA became involved in a war in Vietnam (worth 2 marks for two facts)

The USA used high level bombing, search and destroy missions and helicopter gun-ships to fight the war in Vietnam.

An explanation of the reasons why the USA became involved in a war in Vietnam. (up to 4 marks for a good explanation)

The USA had the most technologically advanced and well equipped army in the world. They tried to use their control of the skies over Vietnam to win. This involved using helicopters to send troops on search and destroy missions. High altitude bombing was used to destroy the Ho Chi Minh Trail that supplied the Vietcong along secret jungle paths. Agent Orange and Napalm were used as defoliants.

Notice: how the answer includes both simple statements of how the USA fought the war (for up to 2 marks), as well as developed statements, in other words, a detailed explanation of what these methods were(for up to 4 marks)..

Broadwater School History Department


Revise for gcse humanities how to answer exam questions

Revise for GCSE Humanities: How to Answer Exam Questions

Section B Question C (8 marks)An Essay to support a point of view

How to answer this question

Because it is an interpretation question, you will be expected to use your knowledge and understanding to give arguments for and against a particular point of view. In this case, that the only reason why the USA withdrew from Vietnam, was because of the tactics used by the North Vietnamese and the Vietcong.

It is also testing you ability to put forward facts to support different interpretations, or points of view.

It is worth 8 marks, so you will spend about ten minutes answering it. You must plan before writing.

What will the Examiners be looking for?

You must show you understand why the USA withdrew from the war in Vietnam”.

Level 1: Simple agreement. A list of the tactics used by the North Vietnamese and the Vietcong. (1-2 marks)

Level 2: Developed agreement / disagreement that explains the tactics used and how defeated they the USA. (3-4 marks)

Level 3: Developed explanationthat compares the tactics used by the communists with other factors that led to the US withdrawal from Vietnam. (5-6 marks)

Level 4: Sustained explanation, as level3 ,butwith an introduction, paragraphing and that reaches a supported conclusion. (7-8 marks)

For example:

Although the USA was forced to withdraw from Vietnam because of the tactics used by the North Vietnamese and the Vietcong, this was not the only reason.

Despite being technologically superior the USA could not win because the Vietcong fought a guerrilla war and because the USA failed to win the hearts and minds of the ordinary south Vietnamese peasants. The Americans could not win against an enemy that they could not identify and who had the support of local people. Despite air superiority, the success of the Tet Offensive and the experience of Khesan made the Americans realise that Vietnam was a war they could never win.

Other factors that contributed to US withdrawal were the fact that it was the first “TV war”, which led to both domestic and international condemnation. Rather than protecting people from the evils of communism the USA was seen as an aggressive giant, using its might to bully poor people. The casualties and the cost of the war led to protests and huge pressure from the American public to end the war.

Notice: the answer doesn’t just list the reasons (Level 1), but also explains them (Level 2). See how the answer examines two different reasons why the USA pulled out of Vietnam (Level 3). An introduction and conclusion that summarise the answer would mean a Level 4 mark.

Broadwater School History Department


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