Post-Exam Thoughts: GCSE History (Paper 1) – 12 June 2012


This afternoon saw me donning my school uniform for the first time in a couple of weeks, as I went in to complete the first of my two GCSE History exams, in which I was examined in International Relations (1919 to 1945), and Germany (1919  to 1945).

SYMBOL OF PRIDE: I visited the rebuilt Reichstag as part of school's Berlin trip in February. (IMG_8074)

Due to the canoeing course I attended last week, I didn’t have as much time to revise for today’s paper as some of my friends and classmates had done so, but my father had worked hard with me in recent days to help prepare me. Working through the textbook, I managed to revise both subjects in as much depth as one could hope, and (quietly) felt relatively confident going into the exam hall. I knew from the start I wasn’t going to get a top grade in this subject for all manner of reasons, but I thought it important to enter with a focussed frame of mind to ensure I would do as best as possible in this paper.

I managed to work through the cartoon question – we’d actually covered that exact Punch cartoon last year at school, not that I was able to actively remember many of the connotations discussed then – and, crucially, relate it to my knowledge of Germany at the time.

Two questions (one worth four marks, the other worth six) regarding the successes of the League of Nations in the 1920s confused me – I’d only really been taught of its failings, aside from its health and social condition improvements.

I spent too long on the first section, leaving me with less time than I hoped for to complete the Germany Depth Study questions. It was from here that I think the exam really went downhill: I think I probably picked the wrong set of three questions to answer, as I went with my first thoughts and was punished with having to argue the effect on Nazi support of the family policies versus the policies aimed at families. And as for the ‘Purpose’ of the poster cartoon – it was nicht gut.

I think, then, that I’ll score fairly well in the first section, but my examiner will have their head in their hands by the end of my script. Still, I’m a lot happier with how I think I’ve done today than I was at the end of my December mock – that was a real disaster.

Andrew Burdett

Andrew Burdett is a 20-year-old from Maidenhead in Berkshire. A self-professed "lover of life", he enjoys a busy calendar of activities and engagements. With regular involvement in the Scout Association and his church, he was made Head Boy in his final year at school. After a gap-year spent as a Teaching Assistant at a local junior school, he is now half-way through his Journalism Studies degree at the University of Sheffield. In his spare time, he swims, reads, and enjoys writing about himself in the third-person.

2 Responses

  1. Katie says:

    I had the same paper as you, and found that wolf question inexplicably hard! – I don’t think I did very well at all on that paper!

    • I’d only heard of Bolshevism through my own reading, I didn’t really know anything about it – I really struggled to cobble together an answer that would score even a few marks on that question! Thanks for your comment.