Answer the question

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?
How to address particular questions
Sample student responses
Preparation and study advice
Study resources
General hints and tips
Structure of the examination
• Wednesday, 14 November 3.00 - 5.15pm
• The exam is worth 50% of your overall result for
this subject
• Total of 80 marks
• 15 minutes reading (and thinking) time
• Two hours writing time
• Two Sections (A & B) which contain two
Outcomes each:
– Outcome 1: Movements, Ideas, Leaders and
– Outcome 2: Creating a new society
Section A & Section B
• Each Section is worth 40 marks; each Outcome is
worth 20 marks
• Therefore 60 minutes per Section; 30 minutes per
• Roughly 500 words per Outcome every 30 minutes
• You must nominate which Revolution you will
address on the front page for both Sections in the
Answer book
• You 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 book
In the past, these were combined
Facilitate computer scanning for assessment
Hopefully prevent problems over which Revolution to write
on in each Section
Each Outcome immediately follows on from the previous
one in each Section
You MUST write your responses in the appropriate place
in the Answer book
Use extra space provided appropriately – clearly label
your responses
Do 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 questions
– Decide prior to the exam, regardless of the questions
• If you take the latter option:
– Decide early so that you reduce your preparation time
– Think about the SACs you sat during the year
– For 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
• Movements, ideas, leaders and events that contributed to the
• Long-term, structural factors such as: social, economic and
political causes
• Short-term precipitants: wars, financial crises, signs of
weakness at the top etc.
• Question format: Short Answer
• Two questions; BOTH must be answered
• 10 marks each; 15 minutes per question
• This includes >1 minute planning each
• Approximately 250 words per question
• Address these questions in the appropriate section of the
Answer book
Section A, Outcome 1 (II)
• Read the question carefully and underline/highlight key
• Stay within the timeframe given in the question (eg:
“between February and October 1917”)
• The first sentence must answer the question directly
• “A 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/speeches
• Historians’ views NOT required (Assessor’s 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/significance”
• Use 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 regime
• What 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 society
The same Revolution that you wrote on in Outcome 1
Follows on directly from Outcome 1 - easy to find
Key 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
– Responses: disproportionate and brutal OR necessary and
– Change and continuity: was the new regime markedly
different to the one it replaced?
• Task format: Document Analysis
• 1 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 interpretation
• Primary or secondary; visual or written
• Four questions (a, b, c & d)
• Questions a and b: short comprehension / knowledge
2 marks each
Your ability to interpret the extract
Be succinct but answer the question
Read the questions carefully and get them right!
Section A, Outcome 2 (III)
Question c:
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 graphic…”
•Meet this requirement by quoting directly from the
extract or describing an element of a visual
•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 terms
• Do not simply write a narrative of events
• The first sentence should answer the question (a topic
• Expand on this with three main ideas
• Use signposting to connect, or differentiate between,
• Use specific historical knowledge (dates, names etc)
• Stay within the time frame of the question
• About 10 minutes
• Approximately 150 words
• Address this in the appropriate section of the Answer book
Section A, Outcome 2 (V)
Question d:
• Evaluate the usefulness or reliability of the document
• This means three things:
– Know what event or issue the document refers to
– Understand 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 terms
• Plan 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 answer
• You 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 evident
•Omission – 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 source
•Discuss viewpoints that agree with the extract (if possible)
•Discuss viewpoints that disagree with the extract
•It 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
(Assessor’s Report on the 2010 Revs exam)
•Use well-known historians
•Use signposting throughout to indicate where viewpoints
differ or concur (Similarly; on the other hand; in addition;
•Summarise your findings in the final sentence; link back the
question directly
•Eg: “Therefore, this extract is of limited use because…”
•Approximately 250 words
•15 minutes
•Address 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 A
• Mark this in the appropriate place in the Answer book
• AOS 1 - Movements, Ideas, Leaders and Events
• The task in Section B, Outcome 1 is essentially the
same as Section A, Outcome 2
• Document analysis: Any of a document, commentary,
visual representation or interpretation
• Format: a, b, c & d
• 20 marks; 30 minutes including planning
• Address this in the appropriate place in the Answer
Section B, Outcome 2 (I)
• Refer to the same revolution as you did in Section B,
Outcome 1
• AOS 2: Creating a new society
• Format: Argumentative Essay
• ONE essay question per revolution - no choice given
as in past exams
• Questions are specific to one of the four revolutions
• Accompanied by a quote from a participant or
historian, or a general statement
• This could help you engage with the broader debates
on the Revolution
Section B, Outcome 2 (II)
• Read the question carefully
• Highlight/underline the key words
• Write a brief plan to structure and organise your
• If a change and continuity question, only minimal
reference to AOS 1; otherwise, none at all
• 20 marks; 30 minutes
• Argue 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 sentences
• Expand on topic sentences with relevant and specific
policies or speeches
key documents
key events
statistics and quotes
important individuals, institutions & groups
accurate dates
• Historians’ views can be included but they should be
used to support your ideas, not as evidence
• If you do use them, they should be used to support
evidence or arguments rather than in the place of
Section B, Outcome 2 (IV)
Approximately 500 words
Brief intro and conclusion (about 50 words each)
Three body paragraphs of about 150 words each
Three types of questions:
– Aims and goals
– Crisis and response
– Change and continuity
• Can focus on any of:
– Political
– Social
– Economic
Section B, Outcome 2 (V)
Suggested essay structures:
1. Social; economic; political
– Aims and goals style questions
– Change and continuity style questions
2. Moderate; radical; moderate
– Aims and goals style questions
– Change and continuity style questions
3. Military; political; social; economic
– Crisis and response style questions
4. By social group (eg: nobility; bourgeoisie; urban workers; peasants; the
very poor)
– Social aims and goals or change and continuity style questions
Section B, Part 2 (VI)
Sample Intro:
Russia [November 1917 – 1924 death of Lenin]
‘The New Economic Policy was an absolute compromise of Bolshevik ideals and illustrated
Lenin’s desire to maintain power for power’s sake.’
Do you agree with this view of the Bolshevik revolutionaries? Use evidence to support your
answer. [HTAV Sample exam 2009]
By the time of Lenin’s death in 1924, the Bolsheviks had compromised most of their
revolutionary goals. This was undoubtedly due in part to the Bolsheviks’ desire to establish a
dictatorship and destroy their political opponents. Socially and economically, however, the
Bolsheviks were forced (by circumstances largely beyond their control) to implement policies
that betrayed their most deeply cherished aims. (60 words)
General hints and tips I
Neat hand-writing!!!
Write within the designated space on the page
Use blue or black pen; no pencil
Answer the question
Use signposting
Use reading time well (also thinking time)
Respond to long written documents first OR
the revolution you feel most confident with
• Be time-disciplined in the examination
• Genuine practice examinations completed under
examination conditions (e.g. time)
General hints and tips II
• Get accustomed to the layout and format of the exam
(VCAA samples and past exams; HTAV; Insight)
• Responding to the right question in the right part of the
Answer book
• Use specific facts and information
• Avoid vague remarks like: “met the needs of the people”
or “made the French happy”
• Read the captions accompanying documents carefully
• Spell and use the terms “bias” and “biased” properly
• Something is not biased or unreliable because it is a
primary source
• Something is not useful or reliable because it is a
secondary source
General hints and tips III
• Roughly 500 words per Outcome.
• It’s a matter of words, not how many lines you fill
• If you use the extra space in the Answer book, use the
correct area and clearly label your continued response
• If you use a second Answer book, indicate this CLEARLY
• Know the chronology of key events and dates
• Understand the chain of cause and effect
• Be able to work backwards chronologically from an event
so you can discuss causes
• Speak to your teacher as often as possible
• Read, read, read
• Write, write, write
Preparation resources I
Past and sample VCAA exams on the VCAA website
Assessor’s report
Both available at the VCAA website
2010 exam is the best
Prior to 2005 are NOT useful at all
HTAV and Insight practice exams
Erikson & Kerr, VCE Revolutions Teacher Pack
(HTAV, 2010)
• Chief Examiner’s advice in “The Age”
(eg. 12 September 2011)
Preparation resources II
For historiography:
• Textbooks
o Cambridge series: “Analysing…” (not America)
o HTAV series (eg. “Liberating France”)
o Access to History series
• Cambridge Checkpoints 2010
• Past examinations
• Borrow one or two key works by noted
The exam won’t test all you know, but
you have to know all it tests.
Related flashcards
Create Flashcards