Are you a history student wondering how to make your university sojourn easier? Are you an aspiring historian looking to learn practical strategies that would help you understand history? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you are in the right place. Yes, history is a relatively complex course that often leaves students with numerous information to process. Fortunately, history students can learn easier ways to process and memorize this information. This article serves as a guide to help history students understand tips and techniques that will make their studies easier.
Why Study History?
Studying history comes with numerous benefits. For starters, history students have an edge when looking for employment because they are equipped with most of the soft skills that employers seek. Additionally, the elements of history exist to guide your interactions with others, making you stand out to employers. There are many other reasons to study history; here, let’s review some of them.
To Understand the World
The past shapes the present; we all know this fact. Therefore, we need to study the past if we must understand the world. As a course, history shows how past societies, nations, ideologies, cultures, governments have operated and changed over time. History students have the rare privilege of understanding how the world works today. After all, they get a daily glimpse into the factors that cause change and why such factors exist.
Learn from Mistakes
By now, you probably already know that history equips you with the ability to see patterns from past events. These patterns are not just there for fancy. A proper understanding of these patterns can help individuals and nations to solve present problems. Fortunately, history shows you these patterns and teaches you how to interpret them. This is why history students see when society is going down the same dangerous route, it has gone in the past and call it to order.
Develop Soft Skills
This is perhaps one of the essential benefits of studying history. Most employers and workplaces are looking for people with soft skills. Fortunately, most of these soft skills come quickly to history students. Skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills will make you stand out when seeking employment. Here are some of the ways history can help you develop fascinating soft skills.
- Critical thinking from examining past complex events. History students have to search patterns, critically analyze how these patterns change over time, and spot patterns repeating themselves in the present time. The complex process involved in interpreting these past events equip history students with the ability to make sound arguments and judgments.
- Communication skills from the ability to examine a place, time, period and tell stories of that time in an enlightening and engaging manner.
- Problem-solving skills from asking difficult questions about events that occurred and evaluating these events. You examine the nuance of different cultures, societies, governments and see a possible solution through observing patterns and how to solve those problems.
Cultural Awareness and Moral Contemplation
With history, students can understand how and why certain cultures, people behave the way they do. Once you see a series of events and patterns that certain cultures have been exposed to, you will be able to understand their behaviors and become more empathetic to their plights.
Develop Research Skills
People often underrate the ability to carry out proper research. But, unfortunately, there’s very little you can do in the academic world today without this vital skill. History students have to study different aspects of the past. As a result, they develop research skills, source information, and evaluate the sources of this information that sets them apart.
What Jobs Can You Get If You Study History?
Simply put, history opens several doors as far as career opportunities are concerned. Unfortunately, many people do not know about these opportunities until they venture into the field. While many undergraduate degrees only lead to job opportunities in their particular field of study, you get many job opportunities in different areas when you learn history. In addition, studying history helps you develop soft skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, and writing tips that are in high demand by employers. Therefore, putting history students ahead in the labor market. Below is a list of some job opportunities available to history students.
Throughout school, history students receive training in several different aspects of life. One area that history emphasizes is mentorship. Students are trained to be inquisitive, do research, and relate the results of their research to others in an easily understandable manner. This skill sets students up to do well as teachers at the high school or university level. While at it, you can also enjoy researching and publishing scholarly works.
As a historian, you can work for private and government organizations as well as nonprofit organizations. You will research and analyze historical matters such as documents and artifacts and advise the organization in this capacity. You can also decide to specialize in different periods, areas, and topics.
Studying history helps you develop strong communication and customer service skills. In addition, it helps with organization skills to flourish in your job as a librarian. If you derive joy from assisting people to find the information they need, this is a career choice you would want to explore.
The skills necessary for administrative work are easily available to history students. Throughout school, students learn such skills as communication, research, updating information sources, and creativity. In addition, you will work with people from different social and cultural backgrounds, and your study of history has adequately prepared you for that.
The skills required to function here draw directly from studying history. In your capacity, you will provide educational support to the museums and give lectures to visitors in an engaging and enlightening manner.
Marketing and Advertising
Critical thinking, analytical, and communication skills are essential in marketing and advertising. Because your study of history has adequately prepared you to understand how past events and trends shape future events, you can predict market behaviors, analyze consumers’ behaviors and habits.
What Should You Expect When Studying History?
History is not just about memorizing dates, names, and places; this is where many people get it wrong. Therefore, before applying to study history, you need to review everything you’ll need to do carefully. Here is a list of what to expect before you apply to study history.
Studying history requires having independent thoughts. To Develop these independent thoughts, you’ll need to read through the opinions of several different authors on different events and occurrences. You need to question their beliefs and arguments for or against a particular theme and draw your conclusions. No wonder history students always have a bulk of textbooks to read. Reading journals will be a key to providing students with detailed and critical insights into the various aspects of history.
This is essentially the theoretical aspect of studying history. As a history student, you will effectively study the different interpretations of history by various historians as time progresses. Not only that, students need to be able to identify and explore their reasoning and why the difference in interpretation came about. You have to ask questions about the time these authors were writing, their political affiliations, sources they used, etc.
Writing essays is a little bit different from what students were used to in high school. Here, lecturers or professors are not looking for the correct answer; they want you to form an opinion, an independent thought on a particular event. Therefore, you will have to present arguments that are evidenced and convincing when forming your opinions about an event. You also have to state why you disagree with another person’s interpretation of an event in clear terms.
The study of history opens you to opportunities to travel abroad to historical destinations such as Paris, Brussels, Rome, etc. Of course, you’ll also get to visit local historical sites. These visits may seem attentive at first, but they’ll soon become repetitive and boring.
Unfortunately, this field requires you to make such visits even when you don’t feel like it, and you’ll have to live with this lifestyle for a very long time.
How to Prepare for History Exams?
Many bright young minds run away from studying history because they believe it will be difficult keeping up with theories- dates, time, places, and events. There is no need to fear such, especially when there are study strategies that you can adopt for easier study. Here are some valuable tips that you may want to try.
Make flashcards of key events and dates and look at them more often. Ask questions about the events; who did what, when, and why. Making flashcards of these questions and answers helps for easier memorization and better understanding.
Practice Test and Quizzes
A great way to prepare for history exams is to take practice tests and quizzes on different topics. You will identify areas of strength and weaknesses, adequately prepare yourself, and condition your brain to take the test.
Study Previous Examination Questions
Studying previous exam questions will give you an idea of what to expect from the actual examination. You will see the patterns the test takes, and answering these questions will mentally prepare you for the real one.
Form your note and make study guides
Make notes of key events, dates, and places as you read. Ask your teacher for help regarding exam format and essential information. When you read your notes, highlight the areas where you perceive that you are not so strong. Preparing your notes also means you are actively studying and learning at the same time.
Reading aloud makes a more robust connection in your brain and gives you better memory. It helps with retention by activating your senses, which helps your brain make connections and memorize information. Students can record themselves reading aloud and listen to it like an audiobook even while sleeping.
How to Learn History in Fun Ways?
History is not just about memorizing dates, places, people, and events. It is full of great, rich, and intriguing stories and mysteries. Learning history can be exciting, especially when you find a formula that works for you. Here are popular formulas that history students and professionals adopt to make history fun and exciting.
Watching Historical Movies
While not all historical movies are accurate, some movies do an excellent job of accurately describing the history of a particular event. Such movies could be a perfect way to pique your interest in such events and encourage you to read books for more insight and details about such events.
Most museums contain artifacts, relics, gems, garments that give a visual perspective of a particular period/event in history. Visiting museums will expose you to items of interest, making you interested in such items and curious enough to learn more about them.
Visit Historical Destinations
When you visit historical sites, the events that took place in those sites come alive. Nothing beats being able to see and touch tangible objects connected to the stories you have heard.
Reading biographies will make history come alive. You get to see the events that occurred, the tragedies, mistakes made, opportunities missed, and cultures through the eyes of someone who has lived through that period.
5 Effective Techniques for Studying History
As stated earlier, many people run away from studying history because they think they have to cram so much information within short periods. Fortunately, people that are brave enough to try often find that there’s more to studying history. Of course, several effective techniques exist to ease students into learning the simple and complex parts of history. Let’s review some of these techniques.
Study Events in Chronological Order
Since most of the events in history follow a chronological order of occurrence, it is crucial to study these events in the order in which they appear. This will help you to connect subsequent events in the correct order. Apart from helping you understand the right details, this technique will also help ensure that you do not get details of events mixed up in exam situations.
Flashcards are a great way to help you quickly memorize important dates and names. Create color-coded flashcards with questions relating to specific dates and names to support your retention levels.
Create Multiple Choice Test
As usual, history features tons of dates, events, and texts to be memorized. Unfortunately, reading through tons of information can become tiresome. If this is the case, you can use multiple choice tests to spice things up. Fortunately, today’s history guides contain these multiple-choice questions to help you test your knowledge and retentive memory.
Watch Historical Videos
Watching short films and documentaries that accurately depict historical events is an effective method to supplement your knowledge. These films are often laced with detailed reports of events. If you pay careful attention, you can pick vital information that would be helpful in exam situations and real-life applications.
Create a Mind Map
A mind map allows you to create and outline a visual representation of events, ideas, and information that succeed each other. A mind map is an excellent way to study history; it is like a tree, where the central idea forms the root, and other related ideas serve as the branches. Start at the center of a paper with the main idea and then branch out with other essential and supporting ideas.
Wrapping Things Up: How to Study History
There you have it, a detailed look at effective techniques that every history student can adopt to make their studies easier. Indeed, history is a very detailed course, and students need to work extra to understand, memorize, and remember historical topics. We’ve done the job for you by providing helpful information for more effective study time.