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Answering Ocr Examination Questions


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#1 eglynn

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 12:09 PM

Hi, I was just wondering 2 things - for OCR history B, is there a structure for each question, and if there is, what is it (so like a formula, ie write 4 points for 1 question, 2 developed for another ect). Also, are there any model answers for the exam? We're doing the treaty of Versailles, Weimar Germany, liberal reforms and the suffragettes. Thank you!!!!

#2 MrJohnDClare

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 01:17 PM

Hi Elliot!


There are EIGHT different kinds of question you will meet in your OCR GCSE:

Paper One will probably include the following kinds of question:
o Factual recall
o Explain how or why
o ‘How far?’/’Which is the most important?’
With in addition, the following Sourcework question on the Core section:
o ‘What is the message?’
And the following kinds of Sourcework question on the Depth Study:
o ‘What is the message?’
o ‘How useful?’
o ‘How surprising’/’How typical?’
o ‘Why was it produced?’
o ‘How far does it prove [something]?’


There IS a way to do each one of these, which I will explain.
Instead of trying to do them all in one go, however, would you mind if I did them over a period of time.
I will take a separate post for each kind of question.

#3 MrJohnDClare

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 01:30 PM

1. FACTUAL RECALL - 4 marks
e.g. Describe events in the Rhineland in 1936

Here, you just get one mark for each relevant point.
This might be a general point (German re-occupation), a background clarification (Versailles had demilitarised it) or - preferably - a fact (19 Germany battalions crossed the Rhine; they had orders to retreat if opposed)

Number or bullet the four points to make it clear there are four.
Perhaps put a fifth if you can 'just to make sure'.

#4 MrJohnDClare

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 01:43 PM

2. EXPLAIN HOW OR WHY - 6 marks
e.g. Explain why Hitler wanted to unite Germany and Austria.
(Remember that 'why' needs reasons, 'how' needs ways.)

The markscheme gives you up to three marks if you can give three (undeveloped) reasons, and the markscheme gioves examples of the kind of point/reason it would be prepared to accept:
eg ‘It was the place where Hitler was born.’
‘To develop a Greater Germany.’
‘To unite German speakers.’
‘To defy the Treaty of Versailles.’
‘Austria was economically weak.’
‘It was part of his foreign policy.’
Thus writing any three of those would have gained you 3 marks (which is 50% which is a 'C'-grade answer).

However, to gain higher marks, you will need to EXPLAIN HOW the point you are making led to the effect they have specified.

Thus, one reason that Hitler wanted to unite with Austria is because it would undermine the Treaty of Versailles. So I would be telling my pupils to EXPLAIN HOW uniting with Austria did undermine the Treaty ... and for good measure I would be asking them to throw in a fact (as you do for PEE paragraphs).
In reality, if you do not know how to explain, you might get away with developing your idea by adding further information.

The markscheme gives this example of a 'developed' explanation:

‘Hitler’s aims as stated in Mein Kampf were to create a Greater Germany and to overthrow the Treaty of Versailles. Anschluss had been forbidden by the Treaty and so a union would help him achieve his aims.’

... and its says that two of those will get you full marks.

To be honest, I think that's a bit 'light' and I would advise that you do three like that to make sure, or - if you can - two really fully-developed, fully-explained reasons.

#5 MrJohnDClare

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 01:57 PM

3. HOW FAR/ WHICH IS THE MOST IMPORTANT - 10 marks
e.g. How far was the Treaty of Versailles responsible for the outbreak of war in 1939? Explain your answer

The lowest-level response to this question would simply be to treat it as a 'Explain how the Treaty of Versailles was responsible for the outbreak of war' type of essay (as I explained how to do above).
Amazingly, you can get up to four marks just giving 'reasons-it-was-important', and up to six marks if you can 'explain'/develop those ideas.

However, you will see that, to answer the question properly, you need to see that this is a question with two possible answers - yes it was very important, or no it was not important.
So you need a 'on the one hand... on the other...' structure for this essay.

So START by saying:
"On the one hand it could be argued that the ToV was very important in the outbreak of WWII..."
And then bash away at your reason-plus-explanations showing how the ToV helped cause WWII.

Next, however, write:
"On the other hand..."
and then list and explain/develop all the reasons it was NOT important (including all the other causes of the war).

This will get you up to 9 marks, actually.
You get the tenth for a conclusion which weighs the two sides and comes to an explained/justified conclusion one way or the other (e.g. "Thus the ToV WAS the most important factor because...")

#6 MrJohnDClare

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 02:15 PM

4. WHAT IS THE MESSAGE OF A SOURCE - 6 or 7 marks
e.g. What is the message of this cartoon? Use details of the cartoon and your knowledge to explain your answer.

This is quite a hard question not least because pupils often find cartoons very difficult to interpret.
You need to remember that the question isn't just asking you to describe or interpret the cartoon, but to say what it's message is - but you can't understand the message until you've interpreted the cartoon - so there's a danger it all gets very muddled.

Start off by thinking about four things:
- what is the message/meaning of the cartoon (i.e. what point is the artist trying to get across)?
- what was happening at the time (look at the provenance: date) that prompted the artist to want to give that message, at that time (i.e. 'context')?
- what can you see about the author (provenance: origin, purpose) which explains why he might have wanted to give that message?
- what are the key features of the cartoon which convey the message?

Then I would answer the question in four sections:
1. Start simply by describing BRIEFLY the relevant features of the cartoon
2. Say what was happening at the time which made the message necessary (own knowledge: context)
3. Say what you have noticed about the artist which might explain why he wanted to give the message(provenance)
4. Explain what the message is, and how it was a result of the artist's opinions being expressed in the context of the time.

That will get you full marks.

#7 MrJohnDClare

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 02:16 PM

OK Elliott, I'm knocking off for a while.
Don't worry - I'll return well before your exam to explain how to do the remaining four essays.

Am I being clear enough - ask questions if I;ve not explained properly.

#8 eglynn

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 12:48 AM

Thank you so much, really clear, can't fault it :)

#9 MrJohnDClare

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 11:07 AM

5. HOW USEFUL IS A SOURCE - 7 marks
e.g. How useful is this source as evidence of Nazi propaganda? Use the source and your knowledge to explain your answer.

The markscheme here suggests that pupils will answer at three levels:

The lowest, is where you look at:
- the content and tone (what it is saying/ what it is implying)
- the provenance (the origin and motive)
to identify what an historian can learn from the source in an objective sense, simply from the information in the source.


At a higher level, a pupil will relate this to the context of the time - so, for example, they will make statements like: 'this is esepcially useful for an historian because at this time <such-and-such> was happening, and this shows that...'


At the highest level, however, the student will be beginning to judge usefulness
To do this, you can use two measures:
- the validity of the source (how reliable is the author)
- what the source does NOT tell us


Thus your answer will have four paragraphs:
1. what the content of the source (surface and inferred) reveals about the time
2. what the provenance of the source tells us
3. how all this is important in the context of that period
4. an attempt to measure/judged HOW useful, by looking at the reliability of the provenance and what it fails to tell us.

#10 MrJohnDClare

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 11:08 AM

6. HOW SURPRISING IS THIS SOURCE - 6 marks
e.g. Are you surprised by this source? Use the source and your knowledge to explain your answer.

This is quite an easy question to answer. Usually, this question will give you a source which is alarming at first view (e.g. describing a racial group in racist terms), but then you will see that it is written by a Nazi (who had racist views) during the Hiolocaust (when they were trying to justify the genocide) and it actually isn't surprising at all when you consider its provenance and context.


Start with a paragraph describing the content and the MESSAGE of the source (as in question-type) but DON'T spend too long on this ... it's not the question, just the foundation for your answer about whether the content and message is surprising - you are only quickly rehearsing the content/message.

Then:
1. Look at the provenance - look at who is writing it and what their background/motives/beliefs are. How surprising is it that this person is saying/drawing these things? Explain your opinion carefully, referring what is said to who said it. Make sure you use a quote/fact from the source to illustrate your argument.

2. Refer to the context - what was happening at the time. Does what was happening at the time help to explain the views/message of the source. Again, the marks are in the explanation, and in the way you link the message with the event (make sure you use a quote/fact from the source).

#11 MrJohnDClare

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 11:29 AM

7. WHY WAS THIS SOURCE PRODUCED? - 7 marks
e.g. Why was this cartoon published in <date>? Use the source and your knowledge to explain your answer.

The poorest answers on this are simply going to identify the message (see essay-type 4) and then just say that it was published to get that message across, but to get the higher marks you will need to also draw in the provenance (intentions of the author) and the context (the purpose of the source at that moment in time)

Thus:
Start with a paragraph describing the content and the MESSAGE of the source (as in question-type) but DON'T spend too long on this ... it's not the question, just the foundation for your answer about why the source was produced - you are only quickly rehearsing the content/message.

Then:
1. Look at the provenance - look at who is writing it and what their background/motives/beliefs are. Why would this person want to saying/drawing these things? Explain your opinion carefully, referring what is said to who said it. Make sure you use a quote/fact from the source to illustrate your argument.

2. Refer to the context - what was happening at the time. Does what was happening at the time help to explain the views/message of the source. Again, the marks are in the explanation, and in the way you link the message with the event (make sure you use a quote/fact from the source).

#12 MrJohnDClare

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 11:36 AM

8. HOW FAR DOES THIS SOURCE PROVE <SOMETHING>? - 7 marks
e.g. How far does this source explain the problems faced by the Weimar Republic in 1919–20? Use the source and your knowledge to explain your answer.

(This question is very similar to a utility question-type 5)

I have explained how to answer this kind of question in this thread.
Make sure you finish with a paragraph trying to measure/weigh how far it helps the historian.

#13 MrJohnDClare

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 11:42 AM

Phew!
That was a marathon, but I'm glad I did it.

Hopefully people doing AQA and Edexcel will wait till next year!

Hope this helps you - best of luck with your exam.

#14 eglynn

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 12:15 PM

Thamk you!!!!!!!

#15 Marcus w

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 04:42 PM

I have a question john, on the paper today it asks you to write down the questions you did on the answer book, I wrote in the Mark box on the side but not the marks themselves and put 1A for question section A and then the others were 2,4 and 5. But i don't know if that was the right box to do it in as there was another box below the instructions. And for the question number, is that correct or will it have to have been 1a 1b etc, if either of these are wrong, will it be a problem for marking, it's just the exam was so good and I don't want a petty mistake to ruin it




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