Although students tend to stress about the options essays, WWI is actually one of the most important parts of the Modern History exam.

As the core part of the subject, your performance in this section will determine how your marks in your options are scaled. Don’t stress though – this part of the paper is not hard, and there are easy ways to instantly maximize your marks!

1. Remember to answer the question

While this tip may seem obvious, many students often neglect to answer the question specifically, and instead spend their time writing about things that are related, but not quite what the question is looking for. Always take the time to figure out exactly what the question is asking and write your responses accordingly.  If the question asks you to discuss only the attitudes of the British home-front towards the war, don’t talk about German attitudes.

This tip applies to pretty much all essay and short answer questions, regardless of the subject.

2. Don’t rely on just the source to answer the question

Many students, in their effort to remember content for their options essays, neglect to properly learn WWI content in the hopes that the source will provide all the information they need. This strategy is a sure-fire way to lose marks because relying on surface-level knowledge means you won’t be able to conduct a good analysis of the source. Furthermore, sometimes it won’t be clear what the source is about unless you have in-depth knowledge of the content. Don’t risk it – make sure you know your stuff for WWI so you can answer the questions with depth and insight.

3. Always reference the source throughout your answer

Many students, in their quest to answer the question, often neglect to properly substantiate their response with the sources given to them. Remember that your response should always include an analysis of the source and a discussion of how the source to answers the question.

4. Refer to some historians

For some bonus marks, refer to some historians in your longer responses. This way, you have some strong authorities to back up your response. Plus, you can show that you’ve done some extra reading of your own!

*Keep in mind though, textbook authors are not historians.


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