GCE A Level History Russia and Its Rulers Little Heath School May 2014 The Examination Two essays 60 minutes each Choice of 3 titles Timing!!!! • To get the TOP GRADES on this unit you need to write TWO equally impressive essays in TWO HOURS so be ruthless with yourself. • Good idea to plan both t the start (10-15 mins.) • Then after another c.55 MINUTES you must be concluding your first essay. The Specification • 4 topic areas (see next slide) • Examiner will set one essay from 3 of the 4 topic areas in each year • You are taught the course in smaller more bite size topics The Specification 1. Russian rulers: similarities and differences in the main domestic policies of Alexander II, Alexander III, Nicholas II, the Provisional Government, Lenin, Stalin, Khrushchev. 2. The nature of government: autocracy, dictatorship and totalitarianism; change and continuity in central administration; methods of repression and enforcement; the extent and impact of reform; the extent and effectiveness of opposition both before and after 1917. 3. The impact of the dictatorial regimes on the economy and society of the Russian Empire and the USSR: changes to living and working conditions of urban and rural people; limitations on personal, political and religious freedom; extent of economic and social changes 4. The impact of war and revolution on the development of Russian government: the effects of the Crimean War, the Japanese War, 1905 Revolution, 1917 Revolutions, World War One, World War Two, the Cold War. OFQUAL RULING • Ofqual have recently told the Exam Boards that no question can be repeated in the life of a specification; • Therefore however similar the questions you see on the paper next June may appear to be to those from a previous paper, there will be important differences. UNIT F966 JAN 2010 Question/ Topic Area 10. 11. 12. JUN 2010 10. 11. 12. JAN 2011 10. 11. 12. JUN 2011 “The nature of Russian government was changed more by Stalin than by any other ruler.” How far do you agree with this view of the period from 1855 to 1964?  Assess the view that all the rulers of Russia had similar aims in domestic policy in the period from 1855 to 1964.  Assess the view that the lives of the peasants in Russia did not improve in the period from 1855 to 1964.  How far do you agree that the October Revolution of 1917 was the most important turning-point in the development of Russian government in the period from 1855 to 1964?  Assess the view that Russia’s communist leaders did less than the Tsars to improve the lives of the working class in the period from 1855 to 1964.  “Opposition to Russian governments was ineffective in the period from 1855 to 1964.” How far do you agree with this view?  Assess the view that the 1905 Revolution changed Russian government more than other events in the period from 1855 to 1964.  ‘Communists and Tsars ruled Russia the same way.’ How far do you agree with this view of the period from 1855 to 1964?  Assess the view that economic change in Russia was more successful under Stalin than any other ruler in the period from 1855 to 1964.  10. Assess the view that the condition of the peasantry in Russia was transformed in the period from 1855 to 1964.  11. ‘The communist rulers were effective autocrats; the Tsars were not.’ How far do you agree with this view of Russian government in the period from 1855 to 1964?  12. ‘‘All Russia’s rulers tried to modernise Russia.’ How far do you agree with this view of the period from 1855 to 1964?  JAN 2012 10.‘Lenin was more successful in dealing with opposition than any other ruler of Russia in the period from 1855 to 1964.' How far do you agree with this view?  11. ‘The development of Russian government was influenced more by war than any other factor.’ How far do you agree with this view of the period from 1855 to 1964?  12. How far does a study of living and working conditions in the period 1855 to 1964 suggest that the Russian peoples lost more than they gained after 1917?  How far do you agree that Stalin’s rise to power was the most important turning-point in the development of Russian government in the period from 1855 to 1964?  11. ‘The rulers of Russia were reluctant reformers.' How far do you agree with this view of Russia in the period from 1855 to 1964?  12. ‘The peoples of Russia were consistently repressed by their rulers.’ How far do you agree with this view of the period from 1855 to 1964?  JAN 2013 10.‘Wars had more impact than revolutions on the development of Russian government.' How far do you agree with this view of the period from 1855 to 1964?  11.Assess the view that Russia’s communist leaders did less than the Tsars to improve the lives of the peasants in the period from 1855 to 1964.  12.‘The aims of all the Russian rulers were the same.’ How far do you agree with this view of the period from 1855 to 1964?  JUNE 2013 10. Assess the view that the October Revolution of 1917 changed Russian government more than other events in the period from 1855 to 1964.  11. ‘Lenin had a greater impact on Russia’s economy and society than any other ruler.’ How far do you agree with this view of the period from 1855 to 1964?  12. 'Alexander III was more successful at dealing with opposition than any other ruler of Russia.' How far do you agree with this view of the period from 1855 to 1964?  JUNE 2012 10. Meet the examiner What markers are told • “Candidates are expected to demonstrate understanding of the issues in each question over a period of at least a hundred years”. • “Candidates are reminded of the synoptic nature of the unit”. • “Answers are required to demonstrate understanding of the processes of historical continuity, development and change across the full breadth of the period studied”. Synoptic? • Effectively – in the context of this paper and the requirement to demonstrate knowledge & understanding across 100 years of history – this means taking a comparative approach throughout your essays. • It is also crucial to maintain a sharp focus on the exact question set. Comments on June 2013 Q10 Assess the view that the October Revolution of 1917 changed Russian government more than other events in the period from 1855 to 1964. • • • • • The very best answers saw October as ending a liberalising trend that had begun in 1905, if not under Alexander II, and reached its height under the Provisional Government. Most candidates, however, simply dismissed the Duma period as continuing autocracy. Good answers also picked up on the impact of the Civil War, or the reforms of Alexander II, or the totalitarian approach of Stalin with a nod to Khrushchev. Weaker responses merely listed turning points exclusively with little synthesis. Candidates set out to list key events but without much cross-referencing and synthesis. It was also frequent for candidates to not cover the whole period and fail to discuss completely, or at best only make passing comment on events after 1917. A major problem for some candidates was their tendency to forget that the Provisional Government was the victim of October, not the Tsarist regime. Comments on June 2013 Q11 Lenin had a greater impact on Russia’s economy and society than any other ruler.’ How far do you agree with this view of the period from 1855 to 1964? • • • • One problem with this question was the focus on ‘impact’. Many candidates had a very good grasp of the developments in economics and society across the period but they were less at home with ‘impact’. This question was also one where a ruler by ruler approach led to a collapse in synthesis. Weaker candidates took a “leader by leader approach” and were limited to C at best. essays tended to start with Lenin followed by a series of paragraphs on some of the other rulers with very little comparison. Better answers came from those who used close comparison of several leaders inclusive of Lenin against specific strands of the economy and society. Most candidates did address both economy and society in their answers as per the requirements of the question. However, the economy was by far the strongest section of most. Comments on June 2013 Q12 'Alexander III was more successful at dealing with opposition than any other ruler of Russia.' How far do you agree with this view of the period from 1855 to 1964? • • • • Stronger responses identified features of opposition early on and compared leaders directly throughout each theme. The best answers were thematic and defined success, concentrating on the different tools of repression (e.g. secret police and show trials) and also reform as tools for dealing with opposition. The best answers considered the scale of opposition as a good criterion for judging effectiveness. Some weaker responses adopted a “leader by leader” approach rather than a thematic comparison of Alexander III against his counterparts and this prevented or made synthesis very difficult. Question Planning How to plan in the exam • The most effective answers were usually preceded by a brief outline or plan of the candidates' intended approach. This practice is strongly recommended. • ‘Better plans indicate the key words of the question and the direction in which the answer is to go’. • ‘Candidates who want to achieve high grades must focus their answer on the key word or phrase in the question’. • ‘Candidates need to spend a significant amount of time planning their answer and thinking about the themes they will use before they begin to write’. Chief Examiner’s Report Question Key Words and Phrases in the question Key issues to be discussed Point Line of Argument Ideas and line of argument. Content (How does this tie to the key words in the title) (Which different periods to compare) Introduction 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Conclusion 4 paragraphs may well be enough. Submit any plans by email to: [email protected] Plan – initial thoughts • Key Words • Key Issue to focus on • My argument • My counter-argument • My probable overall judgement Consider appropriate course language / terminology http://heathenhistory.co.uk/russia/materials -to-support-your-studies/useful-terms/ Plan – My paragraphs • What can I focus each paragraph on to enable me to then write synoptically, cross-referencing and comparing several turning points / criteria / themes / rulers / events in each paragraph (if not sentence by sentence)? 1. P1 2. P2 3. P3 4. P4 Keep tying your paragraphs back to the key words / issues in the question Introducing yourself Introducing yourself • First impressions are important! • ‘The candidates who perform best are those who indicate some cross comparison in their opening paragraph as a way of establishing a particular argument in relation to the question. • In this opening paragraph, they establish which themes are relevant to the question, then structure the rest of the essay around discussion of these themes’. Chief Examiner’s Report Writing powerful paragraphs Powerful paragraphs • Start each paragraph with a sentence that makes a new point and drives your argument forward; • You must argue NOT describe • Support your argument with well-chosen examples and evidence; • Evaluate the value / worth of this evidence; • Conclude each paragraph with a sentence which also links your argument forward towards the next paragraph. Achieving A* SYNOPTICITY How to be synoptic • Writing synoptically involves comparing various themes / factors / events / rulers across the100 year period in each paragraph. • Grade B candidates make cross references, comparisons and links between different themes / factors / events / rulers in each paragraph. • The highest scoring essays will make consistent comparisons between different historical events relevant to the themes, often on a sentence by sentence basis. How to achieve A* • ‘Several candidates scored full marks on both essays. They demonstrated a remarkable ability to write synoptically. They produced a good overview introduction, then crossreferenced, thoughtfully selecting evidence to support their argument and counter-argument before concluding with a clear judgement based on their prior arguments’. Chief Examiner’s Report Assessing views • Assess the strengths and weaknesses of the historical view named in the question - use wellchosen evidence to both agree and disagree with this view; • Similarly, assess the strengths and weaknesses of other view(s); • Compare the strengths or weaknesses of the named view and another view in each paragraph (if not sentence by sentence). Assessing views Assessing a view Can describe the historical view named in the question Can assess the strengths and weaknesses of the historical view named in the question - can use well-chosen evidence to both agree and disagree with the view Can identify an alternative view (or views) Can assess the strengths and weaknesses of the other view(s) - can use well-chosen evidence to both agree and disagree with the view(s) Can compare the strengths or weaknesses of the named view and another view in each paragraph Can compare the strengths or weaknesses of the named view and another view in most sentences Change & continuity Similarity & difference • When comparing change and continuity think has more changed or more remained the same? • Consider the impact of earlier events on later developments. • Make sure you use examples from right across the 100 year period. Assessing Change & continuity Assessing change and continuity Can identify what has changed in the hundred year period Can identify continuity - what has stayed the same in the hundred year period? Can compare change and continuity - has more changed or more remained the same? Can explain the impact of earlier events on later developments When comparing change and continuity draws on examples from across the entire 100 year period Assessing Similarity & Difference Assessing similarity and difference Can identify what has been similar over the hundred year period Can identify what has been different over the hundred year period Can compare similarity and difference - has more become different or more remained similar? When comparing similarities and differences draws on examples from across the entire 100 year period Turning Point Essays • In the June 2011, January 2012 & June 2012 Chief Examiner’s reports these essays have been identified as causing candidates problems. • This is because ‘they simply produce a list of possible turning points and then analyse each one in turn, but this does not allow synthesis or comparison between different turning points’. • In other words although 4 or 5 possible turning points are discussed, each has its own separate paragraph with comparison missing until the end. Turning Point Essays • The Chief Examiner recommends 2 good approaches: 1. Select 4 or 5 major events and then approach the essay thematically by analysing their impact in terms of issues such as political, social, economic etc. In this way candidates will ensure that they compare the events in each paragraph and can conclude that event X might be most important in terms of political change, but event Y is more important in terms of economic development. • However this approach is wrong if the question specifies ‘most important turning point in the development of government’. • ‘Development of government’ still confuses candidates, who include large sections on the economy and economic policies. • The focus must be on governmental areas, politics, parties, one party state, structural changes, constitutions and the like; repressive methods, methods of control, support, the fate of opposition etc. Assessing Turning Points Assessing the importance of turning points Can and use themes or criteria to assess the importance of the named turning point in the question Can identify other turning points during the hundred year period that are relevant to the key issue in the question and use themes or criteria to assess their importance Can compare, using themes or criteria, the relative importance of the named turning point and other selected turning points Compares the relative importance of at least two turning points in each paragraph using themes or criteria Compares the relative importance of at least two turning points in most sentences using themes or criteria Getting stuck at Grade C (or worse)? How to get stuck at C at best • ‘There seems to be a reluctance or inability amongst some candidates to structure answers in such a way which provides direct cross comparison of material from different historical periods. This is a pity, because many candidates clearly have plenty of relevant knowledge at their disposal, and could boost their overall mark by a whole grade by simply making more direct cross comparisons within paragraphs’. Chief Examiner’s Report How to get stuck at D • ‘Weaker candidates adopt a chronological approach, with synoptic assessments being made in a more random manner, often being left until the conclusion, or emerging fairly infrequently in the course of the essay’. Chief Examiner’s Report Bombing out in style How to do really badly • ‘Answering a question that has been written or prepared in advance rather than the EXACT QUESTION ON THE PAPER leads to candidates being marked down as their answers are insufficiently focused on the key words in the question’. Chief Examiner’s Report How to annoy the marker • ‘Unfortunately some candidates still use abbreviations such as Alex II, AIII, N2 or PG. Some even state at the start that this is what they will do. This short-hand neither looks good nor reads well’. Chief Examiner’s Report • Spell key words and names from the course inaccurately. • Don’t write historically; abandon the past tense and start writing in the present tense. Concluding in style Time to show judgement • Use some key words or a phrase from the question in the opening sentence of your conclusion. • You must display judgement by directly answering the exact question set in a conclusion that is supported by the arguments in the main body of your essay. • If you do this you will have sustained a fixed focus on the key issue arising from the question throughout the essay. Concluding in style Concluding Can conclude by directly answering the exact question set Can display judgement by directly answering the exact question set in a conclusion that is supported by the arguments in the main body of the essay In doing so has sustained a fixed focus on the key issue arising from the question throughout the essay Now It’s Your Turn • You will now be given a possible three questions. • Plan your answers to the 2 you would choose to answer. • In your plan pay attention to being SYNOPTIC (how would you maintain COMPARISONS in each paragraph).