History is one of the most difficult subjects to study. Paired with a dull and boring teacher, it can be almost painful to sit through an entire class just listening to what happened before and trying to make sense out of it. However, studying history is essential for all students since it gives them valuable insight about what happened before and the events that ultimately lead to present-day reality. Studying for history is difficult since the material can be confusing and peppered with dates and names. Here are some of the things that you can do to help with your study and ace that next history exam.
Use Your Learning Style
Each one of us have different learning styles or methods in which we can learn or absorb information. Here are some of the learning styles and how you can use them to your advantage:
- Visual – you obviously learn better when you simply look at the information or read about it. You can simply use your notes or make an outline to organize your ideas to make it easier for you to read. A lot of visual learners find it better to use highlighters on their notes.
- Auditory – you can record your voice while you read out the key sentences, names, dates, and places for each event. While you’re doing something else or even when sleeping you can play the recording over and over again until you get it right.
- Kinetic – this might seem difficult when you’re studying something purely from books. However, you shouldn’t let that discourage you. It simply means that you have to study creatively. For example, you can practice writing down the series of events, the names of people, places, and the events to get yourself familiar with each.
No matter what kind of learning style you use, always use it to your advantage. Especially when you’re learning about something that can get easily become boring. Once you find the method that works for you, you can repeat it over and over again until you become confident with your knowledge.
Connect the Ideas
Always keep in mind that history talks about events that happened in chronological order. A lot of tests even require you to arrange the events in the order which they happened. One method to take advantage of this fact is to write your history notes in chronological order. You just need to classify your notes depending on a theme like the country affected, years or decades, and significant persons involved.
There are a lot of specific details involved in a single event in history. Especially if it was an important or momentous event, then there is more information entailed. To avoid memorizing large, useless data for a single topic you can create logical connection in-between facts. This will help give you an idea about the processes which further lead to the important events and the like.
Memorize Key Data
If you need to memorize some things regarding history, make sure that it’s important details and not the minor ones which didn’t matter at all. There will always be questions about names, places, or dates involved in a history exam, so you should take some time to memorize some of these.
If memorization is not your thing, then you can focus on learning about the logic behind the events first, arranging them in chronological order before you move on with the specific names and dates involved. You can even use flashcards or small notes to help remind you about key data and also how they are spelled.
It doesn’t seem like a traditional study tool, but movies or specifically – documentaries are good at engaging your visual stimulation if it helps your memory. What’s more, these documentary films are usually presented in an entertaining way to avoid boring the viewer. You can take advantage of this and watch them when you’re just relaxing before or after you have studied.
Whatever you do, just make sure that the film is based on a historical fact and that the facts it shows are authentic. Otherwise you risk confusing yourself and throwing your entire study efforts out the window. Keep in mind that sometimes film studios take things to the next level, forgoing authenticity for the sake of entertainment. Choosing your films wisely can help you avoid this pitfall and you’ll be able to move on with your studying with ease.
Different Point of View
When you’re studying about history, there will always be different viewpoints regarding specific events in history. For example, another person might see the Vietnam War as a political tool, while another person might see different motives. Talking with other people about these can give you valuable information as well as new ideas from another angle.
Before you go and discuss with people, make sure that you have studied the topic by yourself beforehand. If you solely depend on other people’s discussion in study groups as a study material, it can be too confusing for you and you might miss out on some key details which weren’t mentioned in the study session. Reading up on the topic before you go there will also allow you to form your own ideas and opinions for you to share with the others members.
As soon as you get the material or course syllabus, immediately map out a study course for you. You might consider for example, finishing reading this material a few days before the lecture, then move on to the next material on the list. This will keep you well-informed about the upcoming lecture and will enable you to follow the professor’s discussion with ease.
This strategy is really helpful, especially when you’re preparing for your exams. Since you’re always a step ahead, you simply need to review your notes or material days before the exam. Since you’re not rushed or you’re not cramming, you have a lot of time on your hands. You can afford to ask yourself what kind of questions or items the professor will include in the exam.
If you’re going to take an exam (history or something else), always keep your cool. If you get anxious around tests or too nervous for your own good, you can do something to keep your mind off it. You can watch TV or eat lunch at your favorite restaurant. This will prevent you from studying too much to the point of confusing the information you already studied before. If you really need to review, you can simply look over your outline, but you don’t need to study from scratch again.
History is a very challenging subject for many people and it can be even difficult to pass. One of the most important tips for studying history is to get your mindset onboard. You should accept that you have to pass this history subject and learn from it instead of fighting it or simply aiming for an average grade.