Subject Guides

How to get a Distinction in Junior Cycle History

- 2 minute read

Junior Cycle History can seem quite daunting at first. There is a lot of information to learn and this can be challenging. It is not only about knowing lots of dates, it’s stories of people's lives that you are asked to retell, analyse and examine. This guide gives some general tips from an experienced examiner, Laura, on some of the common simple mistakes and how they can be prevented.

Past exam questions are your friend!

When it comes to studying – exam papers are your friend. So are marking schemes. Use them often. The marking schemes can shed some light as to how to answer lots of the questions – they are, after all, compiled by history teachers!

Use mind maps

When studying, you will probably find there are certain topics that can get muddled together. For example, students often mix up facts/events from 1916 Rising, War of Independence and the Civil War. Mind maps are really useful ways of visualising and drawing connections between topics.

Mid-exam mind maps are also a big yes! They take less than a minute and can end up saving you time in the long-run. They will allow you to formulate a rough plan for your answer which you can refer back to so you don't go off topic or get stumped.

Read the questions carefully

You would be amazed at how easy it is to make mistakes when it comes to reading the question. Bring your highlighter with you and pick out the key words in the question. Stay focussed, read every question at least twice to ensure you don't misread it and interpret it the wrong way.

Remain cool, calm, and collected!

Remember, the more panicked you are, the less clearly you will be able to think and recall facts. Before you even think about putting pen to paper, read through the paper in its entirety. Get to grips with what you are being asked and plan out your timings for each question. If you don't know the answer for a question, don't panic! Make an attempt to answer it as best you can, because you would be surprised at how many marks you can actually pick up! If you write nothing, the examiner is forced to give you zero marks! If you're completely stuck, put a star beside it and come back to it at the end. The main thing is not to stress!

Don't leave the exam early!

If you find yourself finishing the exam early, do NOT leave the exam hall early! Read over what you have written. Fact check and date check that everything is accurate and you did not omit any information. You can always improve your answers in the extra time!

To read all of Laura's tips on all parts of the paper, click the link below. 

If you're looking for help with your History CBAs, you'll find our History CBA Guide here.

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