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Transkills: supporting transition to University

  • It is important to create a revision timetable: what you are going to achieve and by when
  • Work with, but don’t be ruled by, the timetable
  • Identify your weakest paper and either start with it, or do it early in revision
  • Day per topic, or half day per topic for variety: a matter of personal preference
  • Time off: yes, you should have some, and ideally a day a week, or you’ll get stale!
  • Keep reading fresh literature on the subject; it will stimulate ideas and keep you fresh

Revision notes

Notes should be in line with what you want to be the end result:

  • Notes about historiographical arguments and the evidence which reinforces or undermines them
  • A detailed chronology
  • Your own views and evaluation
  • Revision for Part I is about thinking, not just about learning

Revision supervisions

  • You should always submit practice essays in advance, but check how many a supervisor is prepared/able to mark
  • You should go armed with a list of questions in order to make the best use of these
  • You should organise supervisions early. Don’t leave them until the last minute: odds are that your supervisor will not, by then, be able really to help you and may not have space to see you


Activity: Revision essays

Asking your supervisor to mark essays which you have produced under timed conditions is a useful way to evaluate your progress and to adjust to the different requirements for exam essays. Many supervisors incorporate this kind of exercise into supervision work anyway but, before making any additional requests, do check how frequently they will be able to mark your work.


  • It is important not to get stale: one 3 hour paper at the end of the revision of each paper is a good idea: a series of one hour timed essays does not give you a sense of what it will really be like in the exam
  • Produce lots of plans to practise creating sustained, clear arguments
  • Focus on good grammar, vocab and expression: these create clear arguments in themselves

You are encouraged to write an essay under timed conditions in response to the following question:

'The evidence about population trends between 1275 and 1348 is too diverse and uncertain either to prove or disprove the theory of a Malthusian crisis in the early 14th century.' Discuss.

Once you have attempted the essay yourself, read this version (pdf) which was written under timed conditions. With reference to the Faculty's marking and classing guidelines (pdf), consider what feedback you would offer this student and decide which classification would be appropriate.

If you also attempted this essay, how does yours compare?

Now click here to access Supervisors' feedback on the essay.