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Published: Thu, 12 Oct 2017

Revising for Your History Exams

One of the most difficult things to memorise is dates, especially if they involve something that is not within our cognitive reference points of our own lives. Because you do not feel attached or emotionally drawn to historical dates, despite some significance for the world, it is difficult for your brain to give these a priority placement in your knowledge library. Here’s what you can do to keep 1861 from morphing into 1851 so you can pass that history test with flying colours…

Here are some recommended ways to learn and recall dates:

  • Mnemonic devices: Use a mnemonic memory technique and make sure you turn it into something fun to take the monotony out of time and date stamping your brain.
  • Lists: Many people like to make lists as the process of writing things down helps them stick in the brain – at least on a short-term memory recall basis. The list can have dates in one column and the related event in the other column, so that you can cover one side and try to repeat that information.
  • Index Cards: This is similar to the list method, except that each date is written on one side of an index card while the other side has the event. You can also work the memorisation method from both sides to reinforce the event and date together as a pair.

Lastly, remember not to just to get fixated on memorising dates for your history exams, as you need to be able to do a lot more than recall dates:

  • Be sure you know how to describe things that happened during those historical periods.
  • Understand how you can explain why and how those things happened in terms of the relevance, factors, and attitudes of that particular time period.
  • Illustrate your critical thinking ability so that you show what you learned from studying the past so you can show how it applies to current history.

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