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How to write effective Modern History Notes - Nick Hampton

Updated: Jul 23, 2019

As a content heavy subject, Modern History proves itself quite the challenge when constructing your own set of notes for the subject. Often, many feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information each syllabus module includes and struggle with organisation and focus points.



Actually knowing what you need to study proves a challenge in itself, as such finding and downloading the 2019 Modern History Syllabus and studying what you need to understand and learn will put you ahead of other students not using this to their advantage.

Find what you study with the table on pg.61 of the syllabus and figure out which topics your class has been studying, then move to pg.64 and move through the syllabus requirements and download what you study. You will now be able to structure your notes directly around your syllabus. This is a highly effective Modern History note taking method, and can also be utilised for your other subjects. Using each Syllabus dot-point as a heading/subheading, list your notes underneath to consolidate your knowledge, doing it this way will also visibly show where your understanding is lacking.


Including a variety of sources at the end of each section of your notes is also an incredibly effective method of solidifying your knowledge, through this, you will easily be able to make the essential links between the content and sources necessary for exemplary analysis within the HSC. Include the opinions of prominent historians, make sure to know their biases and context in order to have a correct understanding of the intent behind their argument/judgement of the topic.


Often a timeline recounting the key events of your topic will allow you to visualise the progression and obtain a better understanding of the period you are studying. While many believe it is absolutely necessary to have a detailed knowledge of specific dates, only knowing the progression of events is okay (however do not write off learning a handful of key events to prove a deeper understanding of your subject).


Leading into your exam period, cutting down and sifting through your notes allows you to obtain a better understanding and omit any information irrelevant for your set of notes. You should start this about 4-6 weeks beforehand, so make sure your notes are maintained throughout your entire study of the Modern History course.


Overall, while the Modern History course may seem monumental, with good organisation and an understanding of what you need to know you will fly through the course with ease finding it one of your more enjoyable subjects!

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