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HOW TO ANSWER HISTORY QUESTIONS

History is a wide topic.  As a subject, it has many sources too. Some of the questions are common, but they are not always to easy to answer. Therefore, it is critical for students to understand how to answer history questions.  Students must understand exactly what the question is asking to get a good mark. Depending on each question, students should know how to evaluate historical sources. The essence is to give solid and well-crafted answer each question. All students should understand all steps on how to answer history questions. These include:

Reading The Questions.

The first step in answering history questions is reading the question. All students must go through all instructions carefully. Many students make mistakes is failing to look all instructions for a particular question.  It is critical to read all instructions. This is one of the surest way that you will understand on what you need to do to answer history questions.  These instructions will also guide you on how long your answers will be.  You will understand if the question requires a short or long answer. That is, you will know how much you need to write.  Reading instructions will also guide you on how much time you will use for a particular question. You will know how to limit your time to answer all questions.

Re-Reading The Questions

Once you are sure on how to answer, reread the question. Read it through again. This sounds a simple step, but you need to know exactly what the question requires. It is a step that will help you to give a solid response. You will understand what the task is about. For instance, the question might want you to identify a source or put it in historical context. You should think of history questions as a set of instructions. It will be easier to look for the right source and relevant content. The emphasis is to ensure that you understand the question.

Thinking and Planning

As a history student, you should keep the questions in mind. Some students opt to write down notes or underlining parts of the questions before looking for sources. This step makes it easier to get some hints about the question. When you start answering the question, you will be able to seek the best evidence.  This is a plan that allows you to think about your background knowledge on any historical question.

Evaluating the Source.

Read and annotate.  The first step is looking for a historical source that is relevant to your questions. After getting the source, read through it carefully, slowly, and thoroughly. In this way, you will get any clues based on the question. It is also advisable to annotate the sources as you read. You will make sure to note any points that will help you to answer history questions. In most cases, the first impressions you will get from a source will be useful.

Re-Reading The Sources With “W” Questions.

This is a step that involves generating answers for your questions.  At this point, you will read the source again. Be keen to ask five specific “W” questions. These are who, what, when, where, and why.

The Who questions requires the students to ask who wrote the source. This is important because it will give more information about the author. You will also understand their key points, concerns, and possible biases.

When dealing with the what question, the student will evaluate the source further. They will understand the type of the source such as journals, memos, or personal opinions. This question will also help you to get the message the author was trying to express and the intended audience.

Some students may have an idea about the “When” question. The dates of a particular source will be helpful. They will help to identify when the source was written and the context. However, answering the “When” or “Where” may not be obvious. They can be answered by paying attention to any events, arguments, or ideas mentioned by the source.

Answering the “Why” question is critical. This question will help to correct factual and correct information.  Some sources may have clear messages while others may not. The most important aspect to note is that every author has his or her own point of view.

Using the PAPER Alternative.

In addition to asking the “W” questions, students can try the PAPER method to answer history questions. This is an alternative that will help you to evaluate the sources and their suitability to answer your questions. PAPER method is an acronym as explained.

P stands for purpose. In this case, the students will evaluate the purpose of the author in creating the source. You will try finding out the authors, their claims, and their place in society.

A stands for arguments. When answering history questions, students should understand the authors’ arguments. They can also find out about the strategy that authors have used to achieve their purpose and the intended audience. Any history student should be able to assess the reliability of a particular source.

P stands for presuppositions and values. Students should look out for the values of a specific source. They will be able to compare these values with their own. Answering this question will allow to note anything you disagree with.

E stands for epistemology. This is a word that implies to a way of knowing something. It is a question that will help the student to evaluate the truthfulness of the contents. Students should explore which information does the author reveal and how the information are supported.

R stands for relate. This is an important question. It allows the student to explore how the contents are relevant to the question. They will also know how much source fits with what they already know about a particular history question.

Reviewing The Usefulness Of The Sources

All sources have uses and they can be used to answer different history questions. Therefore, as you learn how to answer history questions, you should assess the sources for its uses and limitations. Any source should be evaluated promptly as explained.

The student should evaluate a source by identifying the authors, their message, and the significance of their sources.

You should ask yourself what the source says about its context.  Students should explore if the source confirms or contradicts what you know. You should understand the author’s perspective of your history question.

Giving A Solid Answer

All history questions should be answered directly.  Writing direct answers is the key to answering history questions. You should ensure that you are not off the topic to earn good grades. Keep all your answers focused.

History questions should be supported with documented sources. This is a prove that your answers are well-researched. Credible sources must be used to enhance the relevance and validity of your answers.

When answering history questions, you should start with the source with strongest evidence. You should try to answer the questions in the order is their importance. Correct answers should relate directly with the question.  When dealing with questions that need some paragraphs, you can consider having a thesis statement. This will help you to keep your answers focused.

Understand why a particular source is valuable. A good history answer should include more than facts. They should show how the source in question matters. That is, the usefulness of the source for any history question should be considered.

Use your time well. In many cases, students have limited time to answer history questions. You should not spend too much time in a single question. It is critical to learn how to answer each question completely to earn good grades. Do not writ more than necessary so that you answer all questions. As you learn how to answer history questions, you should consider the structure required. You should use proper grammar and word choice, especially if your questions should be answered in essay form.

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