Top 10 Exam Tips

Generally speaking, the top ten things you should keep in mind as you do your exam:

  • Exam tip #1: Make it easy for the marker.
  • Exam tip #2: Use a black pen.
  • Exam tip #3: Write on one side of the page only.
  • Exam tip #4: Try to avoid writing extra pieces in margins that are linked by asterisks, arrows, etc.
  • Exam tip #5: Read and follow all key instructions. For example, if you are asked to provide a title to a response, than make sure you do.
  • Exam tip #6: Write in the correct genre/form and sustain it throughout. For example, if you are asked to write a speech, make sure it is clearly a speech from beginning to end. If you are asked to write a letter, make sure it has a salutation and address at the start, reads like a letter throughout the response and has a farewell or something similar at the end.
  • Exam tip #7: Try, as much as you can, to write clearly and legibly. Perhaps leave a line between paragraphs. Don’t be afraid of white space – it makes reading easier.
  • Exam tip #8: Practice the key conventions that demonstrate mastery of English: the correct use of apostrophe, the correct title conventions (either underlining or using inverted commas), the full use of a text’s title at least once and the correct spelling of key character names and composer’s names (at least).
  • Exam tip #9: If you have time during the exam, quickly proofread your work and check the pages are in the right order and that as many mistakes as you can find are corrected. (Examiners understand you are under pressure and that this is a first draft but demonstration of control of the key conventions is the mark of a more sophisticated response).
  • Exam tip #10: You may also be required to write a more personal response, which includes your ability to demonstrate you have reflected personally on the effect of studying a particular module or area of study. Think through how to do this.

This exam advice is general in nature and may need to be adapted for different subjects.

Modern History

“Assess the importance of the Allies’ treatment of Emperor Hirohito to the success of the Allied Occupation and the development of democracy in Japan to 1951.”

First, we must understand what the question is asking, by breaking it down into the key terms and phrases, as follows:

We will start with the events that the question is talking about. In this question we will be talking about three events: “the Allies’ treatment of Emperor Hirohito,” “The success of the Allied Occupation of Japan” and “the development of democracy in Japan”. The question also puts a time frame on these events: “to 1951”, so we should not talk about what happened after 1951. So, firstly, we should research these three events, asking the key questions, what were they, when did they happen, how did they happen, and why did they happen.

Now we know about the events we are going to be talking about, we can work out what we are being asked about these events by looking at the other half of the question: “Assess the importance of the Allies’ treatment of Emperor Hirohito to the success of the Allied Occupation and the development of democracy in Japan”.

So, the question is asking us how important the Allies’ treatment of Emperor Hirohito was to the success of the Allied Occupation and the development of democracy in Japan. To answer this, we must decide the following things:

First, we must decide how important the Allies’ treatment of Emperor Hirohito was to the success of the Allied Occupation and the development of democracy in Japan, based upon the research we have done on each of these events. In relation to each of these events, we must decide: Was it the most important factor? Was it unimportant? Was it only one of several important factors? If we need more information to reach a conclusion, we should look up a few historians’ books about the postwar period in Japan in general.

Second, we must decide how important other factors than the Allies’ treatment of Emperor Hirohito were to the success of the Allied Occupation and the development of democracy in Japan. So we must turn back to our research and look for other reasons for the success of the Allied Occupation and the development of democracy in Japan than the Allies’ treatment of Emperor Hirohito. Another reason might, for example, be that the Occupation forces were relatively honest and not corrupt, or that the war had completely sapped the resistance of Japanese civilians.

Now we know what we think about the question, it is time to plan a structure. A basic plan includes your main point in the form of a complete sentence (which will become your essay’s opening sentence), followed by a list of points that will form the topic sentences of each of your paragraphs. An example of a plan for structuring this essay would be as follows:

The Allies’ treatment of Emperor Hirohito was crucial to the success of the allied occupation of Japan, but did not significantly assist the development of democracy in the period to 1951.

1) The Allied occupation of Japan would not have been successful if Hirohito had not been treated so well, because without the symbolism of allowing the Japanese to retain their honour while accepting surrender, strong resistance would have been likely.

2) The allied occupation was successful, and while there were other factors responsible for this, their good treatment of the Emperor was one of the most important.

3) The treatment of Hirohito was not particularly important to the development of Democracy because the failure to indict the Emperor in the War Tribunal actually weakened the perceived power of the new ‘democratic’ institutions by implying that the Emperor was above them…

4) Other factors such as effective implementation of non-corrupt occupation policies were far more helpful to the development of democracy in Japan than was the American treatment of Hirohito.

Now, you must use the research you did to support your points, giving examples that support each of your paragraph points, and then saying why that evidence proves the paragraph point. Finally, in each paragraph, you should finish by saying how the point you made in the opening sentence of the paragraph supports the point you made in your opening sentence at the start of your essay.

Modern History Syllabus

The Modern History HSC syllabus is designed to develop knowledge and understanding of general constructs using studies of particular core studies, national studies and international studies.

Feeling prepared for the up and coming exams? Or at least you did until your trial results came back? Never Fear Smart Moves HSC Tutoring is here! Happy to help you beat the exam nerves through building a firm foundation of understanding of that BOS syllabus. An array of real students top-band responses, practise exams, text book resources, handy web links, and more, to enrich your Modern History tutoring with Smart Moves.

At Smart Moves, we provide

One-on-one HSC tutoring for our students with highly qualified and personable HSC specialised tutors, personalised learning schemes to complement our students individual learning styles. As well as providing vital educational materials such as a variety of top band past HSC Modern History model responses, past Modern History HSC exam papers, information sheets, handy web links, as well as study guides.

Modern History Core Study:

The Core Study teaches students how to undertake an in depth analytical study of a significant point in History. The HSC Core Study, World War I and its Aftermath 1914-1919: A Sourced-based Study, develops the students ability to critically analyse and synthasise information from unsighted sources. It is therefore essential for students to have a firm understanding and knowledge of the general constructs used in the study of this particular HSC Core study.

Modern History – National Studies

Smart Moves HSC Tutors focus with their students on the importance of understanding the various aspects of the syllabus. It is vital that students learn how to understand, and apply the BOS Syllabus to the HSC Modern History content:

• How individuals shape and experience modern history
• How identifiable groups shape and experience modern history
• The nature of change and continuity over time
• Key historical concepts
• Significant historiographical issues

Let us bring you to your full potential in this demanding year! We have qualified tutors and plentiful additional resources in ALL topics including: Arab-Israeli Conflict, United Nations and Conflict in the Pacific.