How to study History: effective tips

How do you learn history? If history is understood as everything that happened to mankind in the past, then the answer is no, because the past, the history of mankind, cannot be learned. You can only study it, and the more you learn, the more questions appear, which means that the process is endless.

If history is understood as a story about something, then you don’t have to learn it either.

The question of how to learn history will make sense if by history we mean an academic subject, a certain course that we study in an educational institution.

In answering this question, we must clarify several points for ourselves:

  • What do we need to learn, how much information do we have to assimilate?
  • How much time do we have?
  • and do we need it, try to understand what motivates us, what is our motive?
  • What are our capabilities (health, memory, attention, reading skills, access to necessary information, etc.)?

Finding out:

  • that finding out the scope of the task is easy – almost every one of us, with a minimum of effort – looking in the table of contents of the textbook, finding the course program on the Internet, overcomes the first barrier, not even a barrier at all, but a tiny hurdle. So, the first step is taken.
  • The question of time does not cause difficulties, so we can roughly plan the study of historical material.
  • As for the motive and our capabilities, we either make the most of what we already have – looking for and finding what we lack (textbooks, lectures, audio courses, videos on the subject), as well as developing our memory, attention, health, and as a result move towards the goal.
  • Or we find a thousand and one excuses to show ourselves and our loved ones that the task of learning history is impossible!

In our opinion, the main condition for beginning to learn a subject, including history, is desire. Our desire can be based on interest: ‘I am studying because I am interested because my curiosity drives me’.

The human capacity to learn is inherent. And in the process of becoming a person, this ability and the accompanying sense of curiosity either develop or, for many reasons, fade away.

What to do if history does not arouse interest?

We must try to latch on to some event or personality, to see something that catches our attention, arouses surprise, makes us ask questions. And then the process of learning about history will begin to gain momentum. And what about if we or the people around us have failed to show interest? Then we hope that the understanding of the need to learn this or that material will come.

And what to do if there is no interest, and in the head, there is a thought – “Do I need it? Or maybe I’ll get by. Somehow it will all work out.

We think that in this case, too, overcoming internal resistance, a sense of indifference, you need to start working and try to achieve at least minimal success:

  • learn a date or two,
  • tell at least in general terms about this or that event,
  • locate an object on a map,
  • speak in class about at least one of the questions asked.

That is, to start by surprising, in the best sense of the word, with their actions themselves, friends, relatives. And, perhaps, the process of learning the material will come into motion.

So we’ve taken our first steps. And perhaps we have faced our first difficulties.

The question before us is, how do study history? To not just portray the process of learning, but to succeed along the way.

The first problem we may encounter is the problem of understanding the information we get while reading, listening to a story, a lecture, watching video material. If there is understanding, we can take the next step. And if there isn’t, what should we do?

The easiest thing to do is to give a command-read until you understand! But if we don’t understand, we are still at the beginning of our journey.

What is it that prevents us from being consciously perceptive?

Many factors influence this. For example, a lack of focus in the learning process on a particular task. We kind of read, listen, look, but our thoughts are far away from what we are doing.

Another reason for not understanding the text, the lecture is the lack of understanding of the meaning of certain words, phrases, expressions, heavy text, tedious lecturer and the like.

What can you do if there is a difficulty with the terms?

You need to turn to dictionaries, reference books, encyclopedias. Fortunately, in most cases, this is now no problem.

But what if the words individually seem to be clear, but the meaning of what you read is not. That is, we are dealing with heavy text. In this case, the solution to the problem will be to choose another source of information on the subject, perhaps in a different form. Instead of a text, an audio lecture, or video material. And maybe everything will fall into place.

The overall success of working with text is simple. As a rule, the more we read, the better our reading skills are, the more productive our learning is. If we are better at learning by ear, and we need to hear a sensible, interesting presentation of a topic or an individual question, what can prevent us from going online and finding a great lecturer on our topic?

The same can be applied to video lessons.

By the way, the effect of comprehension of the studied material increases significantly if we combine reading, lectures, and video lessons.

A good result in the understanding of the studied question, topic, course, preparation for exams give extracts, which we can make in different forms. For example, in the form of plans, outlines, charts, cards. It should be borne in mind that simple rewriting cannot give us much. It is most often just a waste of time and effort. A greater effect will be achieved by working on a plan, an outline, diagrams, cards. Working in this direction, we kill two birds with one stone: we help ourselves to understand the material and, at the same time, begin to work on memorizing it.

If nothing that we’ve written above doesn’t help you, you can always ask for history homework help.