How to get an A or A* grade in A-level History?

Although it can be difficult to achieve an A or A* grade in History at A Level, with the right approach and commitment it is possible to succeed.

This article provides readers with important advice on how to study for exams and increase the likelihood of achieving an A or A* grade.

It is important to remember that this advice is most successful when used in conjunction with a solid foundation of understanding and knowledge of the subject.

Understanding the A-Level History Exam Structure

The old adage “knowledge is power” applies now more than ever, especially when it comes to achieving the highest possible grade in the A-Level History exam.

Understanding the basics of exam structure is crucial if you want to achieve an A or A* in your exam. This includes familiarising yourself with the different exam boards and their marking schemes, gaining a thorough understanding of all historical concepts and contexts, mastering the interpretation of historical concepts and historiography, and developing effective exam techniques.

You can shine in your A-level history exam and achieve the top grade you want by ensuring you have mastered these exam components.

How do I choose the right exam board for A-Level History?

There are a few things to consider when choosing an A-Level History exam board. If you have a tutor by your side, the process can be easier.

Below is a list of factors to consider when choosing the right exam board:

  • Chronology: Make sure the chronology of the exam board matches your chosen degree programme.¬†
  • ¬†Assessment: Find out about the standards and procedures that each exam board uses for assessment.
  • ¬†Examination questions: Find out about the possible types of examinations and make sure they match your level of knowledge.
  • Check the distribution of marks to see if they match your grade expectations.
  • ¬†Essays: Make sure that any essays you have to write for the exam are fairly marked by an examiner who can accurately determine your grade based on what you have written.

By considering these factors, you can choose the exam board that best suits your needs and increase your chances of getting an A or A*. 

What can I do to improve my performance on A-Level History exams?

A combination of research skills, familiarity with key dates and events, and the ability to recognise patterns and draw conclusions from cause and effect are necessary to achieve an A or A* grade in A-level History.

Students should practise essay writing to improve their reasoning skills and gain a deeper understanding of the subject matter in order to perform better in the examinations.

Revision is crucial for success because it allows students to combine knowledge from different sources and apply it to new situations.  Students can significantly improve their chances of achieving an A or A* grade in A-level History if they work hard and stay committed. 

Key Concepts and Historical Periods to Revise

The prospect of preparing for A-level History can seem intimidating, especially given the increased expectations of exam boards in terms of content. However, if you get it right and stay committed, you can succeed in your exams and get an A or A* grade.

The secret to success is to thoroughly review all the key ideas and historical periods, and to refer to previous exams and marking schemes to understand what is expected of you in the exams.

To develop your skills before tackling the more challenging A-level tasks, it may also be beneficial to practise writing history essays at GCSE level. If you are well prepared and have a solid understanding of the subject, you will be well equipped for the exams.

Developing Essay Writing Skills

A good understanding of secondary sources and the themes they contain, and the ability to apply knowledge and skills to the examination question, are necessary to achieve an A or A* in A-level History. 

To achieve this, it is important to gain an overview of the questions asked by looking at past exam papers from relevant exam boards such as AQA, Edexcel, Pearson Edexcel and OCR. It is vital to develop analytical and critical thinking skills and to analyse the content and context of each source you use.

If you make connections between different aspects of the topic in your answer, you can achieve a higher score by showing the examiner that you have understood the material. For example, by considering that sociology often reflects history when examining topics such as change and continuity, you can show a deeper understanding and set your essay apart from the competition.

In order to provide a concise overview of the issue in your essay, it is important to summarise what has been said in each paragraph. So it is not enough to just study history, but it is also necessary to develop the skills needed to achieve better exam results.

Tips for Time Management During the Exam

Time management is a crucial factor for success in the A-level History exam. Below is some advice on time management for the exam to help you get the most out of your score:

  • Develop a study plan – Before the exam, create a successful strategy for working through the questions. Plan your time according to the time it will take you to answer each question. Allow enough time in case you need to review your answers or answer more questions.
  • Create a timetable – Plan how much time you will spend on each exam question or section. This will help you stay on track and feel less stressed.
  • ¬†Be ready – Before the exam starts, make sure you have all the necessary materials such as pens, pencils, calculators and other things. To avoid any surprises during the exam, read all the instructions carefully before you start.

If you follow these instructions before the exam, you should be equipped with the skills and knowledge you need to achieve an A or A* grade in the A-level History exam.

Practice Exam Questions and Mock Exams

Studying for an A or A* grade in History is similar to running a marathon; it takes time and requires careful planning and preparation.

The most effective way to achieve this is to work through practise questions and mock exams. This will ensure that your knowledge is up to date and help you understand the format of the actual exam. To succeed in an A-level history exam, you need to have a thorough knowledge of the main ideas, characters, quotes, dates and events. Make sure you understand the material thoroughly before taking the practise exams.

Choose practise questions that are comparable to possible exam questions. Use these practise sessions to check your knowledge, find gaps and review the material as needed. With the necessary effort, perseverance and dedication, you can achieve an A or A* grade in A-level History.

Overview of Strategies for Memorization and Recall

To get an A or A* grade in history, students need to be able to memorise and recall information well. There are a number of methods to facilitate this process:

  • Topics can be remembered more easily by breaking them down into manageable units of information.
  • The use of mnemonic devices such as rhymes and abbreviations can help to remember important information in a fun and efficient way.
  • You can speed up the memory process by testing yourself regularly by making flashcards or writing down notes.
  • Visual aids such as diagrams, maps and infographics can also help you remember facts.
  • One of the best ways to prepare for a history exam is to work through old exam papers, as this gives students a feel for what kind of questions they might encounter on exam day.

Using these different strategies, students can effectively memorise the crucial information they need to get an A or A* grade in the A-level History exam.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are There Any Online Resources For A-Level History Study?

There are many online study resources available to students for the A Level History exam. These include websites such as Khan Academy and BBC Bitesize, which offer useful hints and advice on topics that students may find difficult.

In addition, YouTube channels such as Mr Allsop History have teaching videos that can provide more in-depth explanations.

There are also a variety of online practise exams that students can use to check their understanding and development.

How Can I Stay Motivated To Study For A-Level History?

It can be difficult to stay motivated for A-level History exams, especially when there are competing interests and potential distractions at play. However, with the right techniques and tools, it is doable to stay on the ball.

Online tutors advise that you can maintain your motivation over time by setting achievable goals, breaking tasks into manageable sections and monitoring your progress. Also, rewarding yourself when you achieve each goal can give you an extra boost of motivation.

By applying these strategies and focusing on your long-term academic goals, you can successfully study for your A-level history exams.

What Are Some Key Differences Between A-Level And Gcse History?

The next stage in a student’s educational career is the advanced A-level History qualification, which is available to students aged 16 and over. This course is much more demanding than the GCSE equivalent and requires a higher level of understanding and analysis.

This means becoming more familiar with different types of evidence and developing a deeper understanding of historical events, personalities and concepts. Students are also expected to use higher-order thinking skills to interpret primary sources and apply their knowledge to different A-level contexts. 

How Do I Make Sure I’m Correctly Interpreting Historical Sources?

Every student studying history must be able to interpret historical sources correctly. The ability to analyse a source effectively depends on understanding the environment in which it was created, its function and purpose. A student’s grade in his or her A-level history course can suffer greatly if he or she does not possess this skill.

Therefore, it is important that students learn how to interpret sources correctly before they start their exams. Online tutors can assist with this issue by helping students to break down sources into manageable units and conduct an unbiased analysis. In this way, students gain the confidence they need to correctly interpret any historical source they come across. 

Final Words

Commitment, motivation and a desire to learn are necessary to achieve an A or A* grade in A-Level History. ¬†It is important to set aside the necessary time to study for the exams, but the exact amount of time will depend on each individual’s learning preferences. Online tools such as tutorials and practise exams can also be very helpful in improving knowledge and skills in preparation for the exam.

To maintain interest in this complex subject, it is also important to keep in mind why you are learning. Understanding the key differences between A-level and GCSE History and interpreting historical sources correctly is crucial to achieving the desired results. Any student can achieve their goal of an A or A* grade in A-level History with a combination of effort and commitment.

The road to get there may be difficult, but if you take it step by step and are persistent and determined, you will eventually reach the pinnacle of success. It is comparable to climbing a mountain peak.

Online A Level History Tuition

Recommended articles for A Level History

Contact Us

A service you can depend on


The quickest way to talk with us

Message Us

Our partners

We are proud partners of TheProfs and BitPaper