VCE History exam structure

vce history exam

The VCE History (Revolutions) course is assessed by four school-assessed tasks (SACs) and one examination. In 2019, the exam will be held on Wednesday November 6th between 3.00pm and 5.15pm.

Like other VCE exams, the History (Revolutions) exam is written, convened, invigilated and moderated by VCAA employees, not by your teachers. The exam is standardised and assessed externally so it is the best guide to how each student has performed, relative to other students. Because of this, the exam is a major determinant of your study score.

It is essential that you prepare thoroughly for the exam – not just with study and revision but also getting to know the exam structure and format. The earlier you do this, the better prepared you will be.

At the start of the school year, take some time to examine old exam papers, taking note of their structure and content. At first, the exam will appear long, difficult and complex – but as your studies progress, you become more confident, both with the course content and questions. Eventually, the exam paper will become much less daunting than it seems in January.

Exam format

Students undertaking the exam are given two booklets: one containing the exam questions and one for your answers. The total time allocated for the examination is two hours 15 minutes, or 135 minutes.

The first 15 minutes of this is reading time. During this time you can read and examine both booklets – but you are not allowed to write down any answers or notes. Once the reading time is finished, you have two hours of writing time to complete your answers.

Exam structure

The exam question booklet contains two halves, called Section A and Section B. Each section tests a different revolution. You must write about both revolutions you have studied during the year, not just one.

You can write about either revolution in either section, however, your teacher may offer advice or guidance about how to approach this. You do not need to complete the exam in any specific order.

The exam answer booklet contains lined spaces where you write your answers. There are also overflow pages provided if you run out of space.

Section A

Altogether, you will complete five exam questions: two extended response answers, two evidence analysis tasks and a short essay.

Question One

Here you will complete evidence analysis questions on a piece of evidence, such as a document, a visual representation, a commentary or a historical interpretation.

The evidence will focus on a topic or issue from Area of Study One (Causes of revolution) in your first revolution. It will be followed by several short-answer questions, ranging in length, difficulty and mark value. Together, these questions will be worth 20 marks.

Questions Two and Three

For these questions, you must complete two extended responses to specific questions about Area of Study Two (Consequences of revolution) in your first revolution.

There are about 20 lines of space allocated for each of these extended responses. Each extended response is worth 10 marks, making 20 marks in total.

Section B

Question One

For this question, you must write a short essay that demonstrates knowledge and critical evaluation of Area of Study One (Causes of revolution) in your second revolution. You will be asked to respond to a contentious statement as the basis for your essay. This question is worth 20 marks.

Question Two

For this question you will complete another set of evidence analysis questions, responding to a document, visual representation or commentary. The evidence will pertain to Area of Study Two (Consequences of revolution) in your second revolution.

This task will be similar to Question Three in Section A. There will be a series of short-answer questions ranging in length, difficulty and mark value. Together, these questions will be worth 20 marks.

For examples of exam papers, visit past VCAA exam papers or Alpha History practice exam papers on this site.


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