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Quick Question On How To Approach The Edexcel Unit 2 Exam.


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#1 dwhl94

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 08:16 PM

Hello everyone, I was wondering if anybody could possibly help me review my exam technique?

For example, the part A source question, I spend 5minutes on the plan (reading sources and plan)

At the moment I look through each source, and pick up the evidence which is "for" and "against" and make a brief note on the provenance of the source.
I then try to plan the paragraphs by trying to find cross references

i.e. Paragraph 1: Source 1 and Source 3 support this point as seen through this piece of evidence
Paragraph 2: Source 1 and Source 3, and source 2 also support this point with another different bit of evidence
Paragraph 3: On the other hand, source 2 differs from 1 and 3 because of....
Paragraph 4: In addition to source 2, source 1 contains some evidence to go against the claim..
Paragraph 5: conclusion

Would that be a suitable structure for the first?


Secondly, for the part B question, would it be advisable to spend at least 10minutes on the plan for this, and then have about 40minutes to write it up?
Again I adopt a similar method, by going through the sources and jotting down own relevant knowledge, then I spend time making very brief outlines of what sources I am going to link together.

How many points would be ideal if I was aiming for an A. I know this is very subjective and it's quality more so than quantity, but would four main paragraphs for the body of the essay ( two for FOR and two for Against) be okay? Excluding the conclusion.

One last question: I noticed in another thread that provenance isn't assessed in the part B 40 mark question. However, if it isn't an historian and say it was Gandhi/Jinnah making a very biased claim, could we still refer to the provenance to answer the question, or would this be unnecessary?
I'm sorry for my convoluted question and I hope it isn't too hard to read! Though, thank you in advance :)

#2 Mr. D. Bryant

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 09:58 PM

One last question: I noticed in another thread that provenance isn't assessed in the part B 40 mark question. However, if it isn't an historian and say it was Gandhi/Jinnah making a very biased claim, could we still refer to the provenance to answer the question, or would this be unnecessary?
I'm sorry for my convoluted question and I hope it isn't too hard to read! Though, thank you in advance :)


Welcome to the Forum.

Part 'A': that looks good, as long as you are also including some evaluation of the sources as evidence (as you go ideally). Also, make sure you come to a judgement in your conclusion.

Part 'B': there are no hard and fast rules, of course, but each year the Examiner's Report makes the point that the best answers are well-planned. If ten minutes planning has helped you to produce good answers so far, then carry on. I do see some plans which are too long and detailed, with the usual result that the candidate runs out of time.

I don't think I can really lay down the law on content. Some answers go into great detail on a few points; others are more wide-ranging, but with less depth. However, unless your writing is really small you are going to struggle to put enough down in much less than three pages in an answer book. To some extent it will depend on what you get from your analysis of the sources.

You are correct in that provenance is not assessed in the same way as part 'a' questions. However, the best answers will certainly 'weigh the sources as evidence' and the example you give would be part of doing that.

By the way, your question was very clear; if you explain things as well in the examination you should be fine. Best wishes.

#3 dwhl94

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 10:43 PM

Firstly, thank you for the very quick response, I really appreciate it.

Evaluation of the source? So the explanation of what you have quoted? e.g. "Jinnah's attitude in source 1 is described as "arrogant" which may suggest that he was unsupportive of any reform put forward by Congress"

Okay I think I understand how to approach part B now. Just to clarify, using my example from my other post, you can bring in the sources provenance to make a brief side comment in your main paragraph( if applicable) when making your point?

Again, many thanks, absolutely brilliant feedback. I will be sure to recommend this to my friends as well.

#4 Mr. D. Bryant

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 10:51 PM

Firstly, thank you for the very quick response, I really appreciate it.


We're not always this quick, but we do try to answer as soon as possible.

Evaluation of the source? So the explanation of what you have quoted? e.g. "Jinnah's attitude in source 1 is described as "arrogant" which may suggest that he was unsupportive of any reform put forward by Congress"


If this is for part 'a', remember that you have to include a consideration of the source's provenance etc. (Nature, Origin and Purpose as it's sometimes taught). Otherwise you are not 'using the sources as evidence'. Have a look at the recent thread on part 'b' to follow the link to the mark scheme and Examiner's Reports if you haven't already done so.

Okay I think I understand how to approach part B now. Just to clarify, using my example from my other post, you can bring in the sources provenance to make a brief side comment in your main paragraph( if applicable) when making your point?


Yes, that would be a very good idea, if you can. However, it's not a requirement as it is in part 'a'.

Again, many thanks, absolutely brilliant feedback. I will be sure to recommend this to my friends as well.


You are lucky insofar as I am very familiar with this paper. Other boards/papers can be more difficult.

#5 dwhl94

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 11:05 PM

If this is for part 'a', remember that you have to include a consideration of the source's provenance etc. (Nature, Origin and Purpose as it's sometimes taught). Otherwise you are not 'using the sources as evidence'. Have a look at the recent thread on part 'b' to follow the link to the mark scheme and Examiner's Reports if you haven't already done so.


Yup, understood so for (A) you use the provenance to weigh the sources as evidence. However, for part B if I were to refer to the provenance it would only be a minor point to say in the conclusion when I'm coming to a judgement about how much weight I can assign to the source e.g. "how far do these sources suggest this.."

I've already looked at the examiner reports and found them quite helpful but thank you again.

I think my knowledge is good and hopefully my exam technique is okay for the exam, but what would you recommend as suitable revision a week before the exam? Would going through past papers and making "essay plans" on the different topics. As i've seen economics has come up a few times, as well as the role of Hindu's and Muslim co operation. Of course what you eventually write in the exam is dependent on the source but I'm a bit lost at the moment on what my next step should be!t

#6 Mr. D. Bryant

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 11:18 PM

Yup, understood so for (A) you use the provenance to weigh the sources as evidence. However, for part B if I were to refer to the provenance it would only be a minor point to say in the conclusion when I'm coming to a judgement about how much weight I can assign to the source e.g. "how far do these sources suggest this.."


That sounds good, although I don't think you have to restrict any such comments to your conclusion. It's not entirely clear from the mark scheme, but it does say you should weigh the evidence in order to create a judgement. The main thing to avoid is lengthy passages of 'evaluation' which are not needed for part 'b'.

I think my knowledge is good and hopefully my exam technique is okay for the exam, but what would you recommend as suitable revision a week before the exam? Would going through past papers and making "essay plans" on the different topics. As i've seen economics has come up a few times, as well as the role of Hindu's and Muslim co operation. Of course what you eventually write in the exam is dependent on the source but I'm a bit lost at the moment on what my next step should be!


Mr. Clare is the expert on revision, but what you have described sounds good to me. The trick is to be ready for whatever they throw at you. This means understanding the 'technique' but also having a good depth of knowledge so that you can support your part 'b' answer with relevant examples, as well as understanding what the sources are telling you throughout.

#7 dwhl94

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 11:24 PM


Yup, understood so for (A) you use the provenance to weigh the sources as evidence. However, for part B if I were to refer to the provenance it would only be a minor point to say in the conclusion when I'm coming to a judgement about how much weight I can assign to the source e.g. "how far do these sources suggest this.."


That sounds good, although I don't think you have to restrict any such comments to your conclusion. It's not entirely clear from the mark scheme, but it does say you should weigh the evidence in order to create a judgement. The main thing to avoid is lengthy passages of 'evaluation' which are not needed for part 'b'.

I think my knowledge is good and hopefully my exam technique is okay for the exam, but what would you recommend as suitable revision a week before the exam? Would going through past papers and making "essay plans" on the different topics. As i've seen economics has come up a few times, as well as the role of Hindu's and Muslim co operation. Of course what you eventually write in the exam is dependent on the source but I'm a bit lost at the moment on what my next step should be!


Mr. Clare is the expert on revision, but what you have described sounds good to me. The trick is to be ready for whatever they throw at you. This means understanding the 'technique' but also having a good depth of knowledge so that you can support your part 'b' answer with relevant examples, as well as understanding what the sources are telling you throughout.


I'm really glad to say you've answered all my concerns!

Is there a way I could contact Mr. Clare? In the mean time, i'll start off with some past papers later on to consolidate my knowledge.

Good night Mr Bryant

#8 Mr. D. Bryant

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 11:41 PM

I'm really glad to say you've answered all my concerns!

Is there a way I could contact Mr. Clare? In the mean time, i'll start off with some past papers later on to consolidate my knowledge.

Good night Mr Bryant


Mr. Clare checks most of the posts, so if he has anything to add he will do so within a day or so. I'm very glad we have been helpful. Thank you.

#9 dwhl94

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 09:44 PM

Hi Mr. Bryant,

I just thought i'd update you on how the exam went. A few weeks ago I got my results back and I went from 72/100 UMS from the summer to 98/100 UMS in my retake. Just wanted to say thank you for the last minute assistance you provided a few months back. Must say it was paramount to my success!

#10 Mr. D. Bryant

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 10:09 PM

Hi Mr. Bryant,

I just thought i'd update you on how the exam went. A few weeks ago I got my results back and I went from 72/100 UMS from the summer to 98/100 UMS in my retake. Just wanted to say thank you for the last minute assistance you provided a few months back. Must say it was paramount to my success!


What brilliant news! Thank you so much for letting us know. However, if you hadn't been such a motivated and committed student, my advice wouldnb't have been much use. Congratulations and best wishes for the future.

#11 dwhl94

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 11:18 PM


Hi Mr. Bryant,

I just thought i'd update you on how the exam went. A few weeks ago I got my results back and I went from 72/100 UMS from the summer to 98/100 UMS in my retake. Just wanted to say thank you for the last minute assistance you provided a few months back. Must say it was paramount to my success!


What brilliant news! Thank you so much for letting us know. However, if you hadn't been such a motivated and committed student, my advice wouldnb't have been much use. Congratulations and best wishes for the future.



Thank you. Sorry for the late reply, I've been busy of late with various pieces of coursework but now I'm drafting up a "revision plan" for the Germany exam this summer. I'm guessing the technique and approach needed for the Germany A2 sources is similar to the India paper? Likewise, for the "knowledge" based question in this exam, this would be similar to the non sources paper at AS?

#12 Mr. D. Bryant

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 06:04 PM

Thank you. Sorry for the late reply, I've been busy of late with various pieces of coursework but now I'm drafting up a "revision plan" for the Germany exam this summer. I'm guessing the technique and approach needed for the Germany A2 sources is similar to the India paper? Likewise, for the "knowledge" based question in this exam, this would be similar to the non sources paper at AS?


Not at all. I will have a look at this and get back to you.

#13 dwhl94

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 08:04 PM

That would be excellent. I'm just going through the notes I've written in class so far. I haven't delved much into the sources/historian's point of views yet.

#14 Mr. D. Bryant

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 08:59 PM

That would be excellent. I'm just going through the notes I've written in class so far. I haven't delved much into the sources/historian's point of views yet.


I am sorry for the delay in replying. Looking at the 30 mark 'a' questions, (non-source) I think you are probably correct in noting a similarity with AS question technique. The key things are to focus analytically on the question, write a balanced answer with good factual support, coming to a substantiated judgement. However, there is one difference that the higher-level Unit 3 essays will include 'evaluation of argument'. Highest level answers, which you are obviously capable of writing, do all of this better. The mark scheme declares:

Overall, the answer will show mastery of essay writing skills.


Now, you will want to know what 'evaluation of argument' means...

I believe that this refers to a clear understanding and explanation of the issues under discussion, although I admit it's not always very clear. If I find any other relevant views I will let you know. As you are aware, the best thing would be to have a look at relevant Examiner's Reports which show high-level answers.

With regard to the source-based questions, you are being assessed 40% on Assessment Objectives 1 a and b, which essentially covers analytical writing and use of subject knowledge. This is an important difference from Unit 2 which only covers use of sources. The other 60% is AO2 which is source skills. Please note that evaluation of the sources from the point of view of Nature, Origin and Purpose is not a key feature of Unit 3. An understanding of historiography is important. The best answers understand the arguments put forward in the sources and assess their validity before reaching a fully sunstantiated conclusion.

I hope that this is clear and useful.




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