hiss-toe-ree ‘n’ maffs

I like History. I like it a lot. It pleases me to know about times gone by and all the funny/glamorous/profoundly disturbed people that inhabited the earth before I was even thought of. So when it came to choosing my LC subjects it was a no-brainer. History! Yay!

I received my wake up call in the Christmas tests. History is NOT easy, nor is it fun. It is, quite frankly, a bitch. It is like the girlfriend or boyfriend that bosses you around and belittles you in front of your mates yet you can’t quite get the courage to break up with them. You simply love them too much. You don’t want to hurt them. You are convinced that somewhere deep inside there is a delicate flower waiting to get out. You are wrong. 
History is out to get me. It is the one subject I am more than a little afraid of. One word can totally change what’s asked of you in the question, and that one word always catches me out. It could be the tiniest, most insignificant word, but it’s the difference between a B or a C in that question. Date parameters. Timing. It sucks.
At the moment, I am averaging a C in History. I’m not too happy about this, mostly because my problems lie in timing and understanding the questions, not the retention of information. And since I’m relying on it for points (no honours Maths for me, haha!) I’m anxious that I need to get cracking on trying to improve my timing skills. I think that involves doing a lot of questions with a stopwatch. Yuck.

Maths! Pass Maths! How I love thee. I gave up honours about 6 months into Second Year. Yes. Didn’t even attempt the honours in the Junior Cert. No amount of begging or pleading, from parents or teachers alike, could get me to continue, seeing as I had just completely ceased doing any maths homework because I knew, I knew in my heart of hearts that I couldn’t do it. Every day the teacher would come down and look at me beseechingly, but to no avail.
It is strange when you move down from honours to pass at first. You are miles ahead of everyone else, you’re flying at it like, and you start to get pure cocky, thinking that you might actually be good at maths. Then of course the teacher starts something new like trigonometry, there’s cos’ and tans coming at you from all sides and you’re back where you belong again.

Paper 1 is OK. Algebra is agreeable, those formulas (without surds) are bearable, complex numbers aren’t so complex.
Paper 2. Oh, what can I say about Paper 2. Stuff with angles and degrees and the aforementioned cos and tans and then and then and then…nope. It’s too  much. I sure am glad I don’t have to count maths for points, but this education system still deems the failure to differentiate with respect to whatever as grounds for a total exam repeat. Le sigh.

Time to go back to the Coleraine University controversy and the remainder of my Irish homework.
Keep it real you guys.


PS: I’m hoping everyone had enough fun on New Years Eve to last them the month of January. My NYE was suitably mental. 🙂

49 thoughts on “hiss-toe-ree ‘n’ maffs”

  1. We are aterting 2 sound very alike Valerie, i too THOUGHT history would be great, but was very wrong! what are you doing your project on? and i also decided that myself and hons maths were not going 2 be a good match in early 2nd year! 🙂

  2. Some advice (useless though it may be) from a History veteran of LC ’09 (I got an A1… sorry, sounds horribly smug, but that was by far the mark I was happiest with!).
    Make sure you get lots of points from the documents question by answering all the comprehension/comparison/criticism sections really well *but* do be super quick about it. *Don’t* spend ages on the contextualisation – the same goes for studying for it. When I think of all the info I learned about America and the comparitively tiny amount I put in my essay, I feel a bit sick. You’ll probably get the Space Race (unless they screw you over), so just make sure you have some solid points on what’s likely to come up (I’d guess it’ll be on the importance of the Moon landing, or something about the US/USSR “rivalry”) with plenty of facts to back them up. In the exam, take a moment to plan and then write like mad.

    As for the other questions, definitely make predictions, but don’t be too reckless. There’s no way you can learn off the whole course but some people rely way too much on predictions (ahem, the institute!) and then are fucked when none of them come true. Also, any essay you do well in LEARN – whatever works for you, maybe putting them into points? But yeah, even looking over things like that the night before the exam can be a life saver. I got a question in the Irish section that was almost the exact same as an essay I’d been studying the night before (well, at 2am that morning…).

    As for the timing, *yes* it is a bitch. I think it’s completely unfair to be honest – no exam should be that hard, but they won’t be changing it yet. Just practice – you’ll definitely get there by June but it will still be a horribly stressful exam!

    Don’t lose faith in History, it’s the best : )

  3. To add to Roisin’s advice -> a good RSR will bump you up a grade, and it’s not hard to do if you put some thought and effort into it. It’s an easy 20% (if it’s still 20%), and is one of two things that makes History slightly less than impossible (the other one being the Documents question, which is as easy as kicking newborn kittens)

  4. They (they…) have changed the document question this year, so absolutely no predictions can be made. It’s on Northern Ireland, and they’ve chosen impossibly boring events that are horrible to study. 🙁

    I’m doing my project on Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected to local government in America. I saw the film, Milk, with Sean Penn in it and by the end I was teary and angry so I decided I must do my project on him. My teacher nearly had a canary, she thought I was just doing my project on a *gay man* but when I told her he was a politician too she settled down a bit. Older people are weird.
    Many thanks Roisin and Emerald, I need all the History advice I can get.

    zzz, Medicine is nowhere on my horizon, so I can’t help you there. My apologies.

    Haha Sarah, snap!

    And Eoin, good for you. I am in awe of honours Maths students.

    1. Hey,

      I’m now going in to the dreaded leaving cert year, and during the summer I had to start thinking of possible history projects! fun I know! I was also thinking of harvey milk as a possible idea, and your blog came up in one of the google hits. I know you have finished the leaving cert and probably dont really want to think of your history project but I hope you could answer a few questions for me 🙂 I was just wondering was it a good topic to do your RSR on, and how you got on?

      That is If you even check this thing anymore haha. thanks!

    2. (To mods – sorry for posting the comment twice, I couldn’t find Sorcha’s original comment to reply to it so I stuck it down at the end! Feel free to delete the other one 🙂

      Hi Sorcha,

      I haven’t gotten an email from this website in a loooong time!

      Harvey Milk was an absolutely brilliant topic for an RSR, in my opinion. It’s something a bit different, which will (hopefully) be interesting to an examiner. There are a fair amount of sources – I used “The Life and Times of Harvey Milk” by Randy Schilts, “The Times of Harvey Milk” DVD documentary and “Out For Good” by Dudley Clendinen and Adam Nagourney. The last book was good for a viewpoint from someone separate to the events. Randy Schilts was a friend of Harvey’s so you could say he was biased (though I don’t really think that comes across in the writing.)

      One thing is you will have to edit a TON before you get below the word limit. There is so many details that are important and interesting, you can get carried away. That is something your teacher can help you with though – my teacher had never heard of him before so she could see which parts seemed unnecessary.

      I got 99/100 marks for the project in the end (I can’t help but wonder what lost me that one mark…) and I was delighted!

      If you have any more questions, feel free to ask – since I still receive notifications about comments on this website I’ll get back to you as quickly as I can!

      Good luck. 🙂

    3. Hey Valerie,
      I know this was written 3 years ago but what the heeyyyy. I’m doing my lc project in history on Harvey Milk too , and also used Randy Shilt’s book and the movie as sources. I was wondering what angle did you use for the essay. Like I don’t know whether to call it “The Political Life of Harvey Milk” or like “The influence of Harvey Milk on the gay civil rights movement “. My history teacher is so vague and I don’t know whether or not the essay has to have a particular angle or a question before the essay that is answered? me confused

  5. Thanks for the advice roisin & emerald, but i’m more worried about having a good project, and i just can’t come up with a good title 🙁 anybody got any ideas?

  6. I did my RSR on The Magdalene Laundries last year and it was the project that got me a pass in history. I completely freaked out in the exam and couldn’t think so what do you do in times of stress? RUN!!!
    I think I was in history for half an hour!
    But i’m back repeating so….fingers crossed this year!! 😀

  7. Finally, people who are in the same situatiion with History as me! Absolutely fascinating subject… except when it comes to writing it… oh boys!
    Also, loving the Harvey Milk RSR! Kudos!
    There’s no way of predicting the questions this year, is there? Gaaaah, why did I repeat?!

  8. I hope your research on your Harvey Milk project, included Uncle Donald’s http://www.thecastro.net
    Unlike the Movie “Milk”, this site is not a recreation of events that may or may not have happened.
    Many photographers including myself have posted hundreds of pages of that era on that site.
    My images are thecastro.net/street/memoriespage/pritikin/pritikin.html

    I knew Harvey as a friend, and Mayor Moscone,too. For the month of June… and maybe longer
    I will be having an exhibit at Roosevelt University’s Gage Gallery here in Chicago… I have yet to name the show.
    If you have any questions about Harvey, or that era… just ask! I am proud to boast that one of my images of Harvey… introduced him nationally, as an openly gay spokesman against anti-gay forces 5 months before he was elected as a S.F. Supervisor.

    1. Can I just say I’m stunned that you found my blog!
      I will certainly look into that website, your pictures are absolutely amazing.
      I have read “The Life And Times Of Harvey Milk” (by Randy Schilts) and watched the documentary of the same name as part of my research for my project, so don’t worry, my research isn’t based solely on that film. It’s great to see pictures of the events I read about in the book!

      Yes I’d love to ask you a few questions! I’d like to put a bit of thought into them first so would it be ok if I contacted you at your blog when I’ve decided on them?

      Thank you so much!

  9. Patting myself on my back… I worked with Randy on several chapters of the Mayor of Castro book, and even gave Randy the name to the Orange Tuesday Chapter. The reason I found you… I have a google alert for Harvey Milk. Your site came up today. When I can, I’ll leave messages to those who I feel may enjoy the Castro.net site. If your in Chicago during June… I’ll be exhibiting images
    of actual events, some recreated for the movie. I just might forgive Harvey for hitting on one of my dates over 30 years ago…

    1. That’s cool and all, but are you sure Milk would appreciate you dropping his name everywhere for attention? Personally, I’d haunt your ass…

  10. I don’t mind going to History but when I’m put in an exam situation I like spontaneously combust and write a whole lot of nonsense. I completely miss the dates, as in if it says 1918-1933 you can gaurantee I’ll write about 1945. My brain just shuts itself down. It’s unpleasant.

    I just heard that my school is remaining closed til Monday! Yusssss. I think it’s time for a smiley overload :):):):):):)

  11. I feel the exact same about History. D: I thought it’d be great too. It was the one subject I was 100% sure of when we were choosing LC subjects. I hate it now. With a passion. It’s the one class I actually HATE going to. Considering Pass History, even.

    And Pass Maths is just beautiful, isn’t it? :’)

  12. Anyone have the history special topic done? Oh lads its ridiculous like my whole class has it done except me!
    Trying to do it now… pick sources. I dont even have a good topic, any ideas? My teacher gave me 2 books on the russian gulags but tbh it is the most boring stuff ever.
    Fair enough its important and a bit interesting, but liek wtf I just cant get my head around conditions in the bloody camp-industrial complex … :L

    1. Last year I chose to do my project on the bombing of Pearl Harbor and it’s a nice easy topic as there’s so much you can use to write about.I ended up with a B2 which I was delighted with.Might be a topic you’ll consider as there are plenty of books and Dvd’s you can use as sources.Good luck with it anyway 🙂

  13. Hello James, I’m in your boat 2, I have NO idea what 2 do my project on, and it’s depressing me now! 🙁 my whole class are like that 2 well every1 has started anyway and a few are nearly done, have 2 have a first draft in soon. mise = SCREWED! 🙁

  14. Thanks Amy, ill def have a look into that now, sounds good and interesting indeed. When did you have yours done for, does it take a lot of time?

    Hello Sarah, jeeez great theres someone else in this boat! Such a pain innit, the thing is iv had a ridiculous amount of extensions too! Basically a year lol ,we were supposed to start last year and get a head start.. So SCREWED fresin…. Do you have any idea at all so? I want to do something im interested in so its not very boring.

    Hopefully some more snow and ice – buy us some time xD

    1. Hi James.I didn’t finish mine until March which is quite late but I didn’t really start working on it properly until January :-P.I had read one book(by Dan van der Vat) in September though which I used as my main source.I read bits from another two which I didn’t really like just before I started writing to get a few more facts.Then I watched the two films to give me a proper understanding of what happened and my teacher told me I could even use ‘Tora, Tora Tora’ as a source, which was great.Hope that helped…you should try to get a start on which ever topic you decide to do over the extended holidays 🙂

  15. Yea, that’s what my teacher was like in 5th year, telling us all 2 get ideas. . .blah, better 2 get it done sooner than later, blah, wish i looked more into it then! I love Irish history and have thought about doing something around 1916…..but it’s VERY common, and I hear the examiners hate that type of thing and now i just can’t think of ANYTHING!

    Also loving the snow, my school was open 2day and i heard a total of 6 people in my year showed up! ha, 🙂

    1. Yeah i love 1916 its so epic! But yeah you have to be very specific apparently, if you go for an interesting angle on it tho im sure the examiners would like it!

      Ya snow is mad! Ha 6 people nice=] Bad one for them 🙂

  16. Ah so glad i didnt pick history, chose Geography instead. I dropped to pass maths like 2 months ago and im loving it!

    Tip for paper 2 you probly know but helps a ton

    Silly Old Harry sin= opp/hyp
    Caught A Herring cos=adj/hyp
    Trawling Of America tan=opp/adj

    Are you doing much study? I seem to sit there for an hour and get nothing done :/

  17. I didnt realise theres another james. I will change my name 🙂

    Ah so glad i didnt pick history, chose Geography instead. I dropped to pass maths like 2 months ago and im loving it!

    Tip for paper 2 you probly know but helps a ton

    Silly Old Harry sin= opp/hyp
    Caught A Herring cos=adj/hyp
    Trawling Of America tan=opp/adj

    Are you doing much study? I seem to sit there for an hour and get nothing done :/

  18. Today I sat in my study-room-den for hours, occasionally glancing at FB, playing a couple of rounds of ‘Guitar Rock Tour’ on my phone (Yeah, I’m dead cool like that ;)) before rising from my desk and rummaging around for my Biology papers. Couldn’t find them so accused my sister of stealing them(?!). Found them 10 minutes later. Currently feeling exhausted from the intensive academic exertion I have endured today.

    LC 4Eva.

  19. Ooh yes I know another one, emmm:

    Some Officers Have
    Curly Auburn Hair
    Til Old Age

    Tis crazy 🙂

    Orla I actally did stuff today (amazing, i know) cos I thought we were going back to school on Monday, so I tried to get ALL my homiework finished. Then I saw the news. I wrote a blog about it but it’s not published yet. Woo!

  20. I love doing that crammed rush job on homework <3
    Before the holidays even started I did all my Christmas English homework, which included an essay, a 6 page comparative question and a full comprehension just to have it done. Of course it's all very simplistic, minimalistic and generally half-arsed, but it's done, right?!

    Much snow in your part of Mayo?

    As opposed to my part of Mayo that is 🙂

  21. Ugh, comparatives. The embodiment of evil.
    Yeah I wish I could say the same, I’ve drawn it out so much now…it’s like “a paragraph a day keeps the bad-OMG-I-should-be-studying feelings away!” Eventually I will cop on.

    My part of Mayo? The ‘Na? Not really, its barely an inch thick.
    What is your part of Mayo?

  22. Comparatives are terribly dull and boring and repetitive. Like terribly repetitive. Awful bad. Prosaic passages full of mindless drawl about various characters. Terrible. Trite, overused phrases and conventional references to the text…

    …Tautology ftw 🙂

    Anways, where was I? Or rather, where am I? Oh, the other half of Mayo! Down south, where all the cool kids roam 😀

  23. Oho! Oho. South where the cool kids roam eh….yeah you’re probably right.

    *laments her situation*

  24. On second thoughts, this is Mayo… there are no cool kids 🙁

    Meet up with you some day in the bog for a study sesh? I’ll take the horse and cart. You brings the spuds and I’ll bring the flask o’ tae.

    Sound job.

  25. And the Tayto. Don’t forget the Tayto.


    I wonder did the former bloggers/bloggees ever meet up when they went off to college? It’d be a nice thing to do imho. Where do you plan on going?

  26. Ara musha, better throw some hang sangwiches in there for good measure

    I plan on going to college. Somewhere, preferably. 🙂
    3 main options – UK (got 2 interviews but rejected them, I’m hoping for Edinburgh), NUIG (trusty ole local option, where they’ll accept me, the Tayto-crunching, farming, country yob that I am :D), or UCD.
    Most likely to get No. 1 spot on my CAO? UCD probably, but that changes on a daily basis. 🙁


  27. Me. I intend to go to DCU, it doesn’t change on a daily basis cos I actually can’t think of anything else I want to do 🙁

    I always envy people who have a calling, like how people know they want to be doctors/mothers/unicyclists etc.

  28. Well yes, I have always aspired to doing something wonderful like tuba-tuning or being the director of a nail-clippers factory, but I couldn’t find a college course for any of them so I decided to stick with the Med-sin.

    Did you do TY? Work experience, career guidance etc. etc.
    You seem like a journalist to be anyway, I think it could be your calling.
    Just as Jesus was called to eh, lead people and stuff, Valerie was called to eh, write stuff and stuff.

    Oh my, I’m so eloquently spoken 😀

  29. Only looking at this again now, but Emerald makes a very good point about the RSR! If anyone reading this is in 5th year then I seriously, seriously reccommend you try force yourself to have it more or less done and dusted by 6th year. It’s such a relief. Also it will pretty much let you know whether history is something you want to do in college (for me it was and I love it)

    If anyone is looking for a very interesting/controversial/political topic, do the Armenian Genocide. I found it so fascinating, and ended up getting so into it that I’d drop refernces of it into my essays and my teacher would be like ’em… that doesn’t work there at all!’

  30. Spot on about history there.. I flipped a coin between that and accountancy,,, startin to really regret my coin choice method towards life’s desicions but how and ever

    I actually have a fair few ‘A standard ‘essays and notes off mates who did history in the institute.. i have most of them scanned on the oul laptop so just give us a shout if the course gets too hectic for ye ..
    and i can send them to ye

    gd post btw

  31. Roisin, I meant to ask you how did you study for history? Did you just make tons and tons of notes? (I don’t know if there’s any other way to study history =/)

    Haha gerraa, seems a lot of peeps feel the same way as I do, which is a relief. I have at least 4 more subjects left to blog/moan about so we’ll see if my luck holds out 🙂 Oh and thanks…A standard essays are few and far between.

  32. Valerie – Ooh gosh I dunno…! My studying was generally fairly bad/sporadic/pointless. BUT what I found useful for history, overall, was going over essays I’d done well in (and of course only if there’s some chance that it might come up – and particularly if it’s a sort of ‘adaptable’ one). Typing them up helped, but then history is all about learning to write quickly so…
    But yeah, notes too. This can be pretty impossible as the course is HUGE and there are plenty of pointless details in the books… But it’s gotta be done.

    And then just generally try and stay interested/force yourself to enjoy it, which will make it accidentally all sink in! Ooh, and this might be hard in your tiny class, but if you can get into debates/arguments with people over a topic it is super useful. Really sticks in your head.

    1. Yeah that’s what I mean…History like there’s so much of it, I do my best but really it’s impossible. Also my teacher is a genuine fruit and nutcase, and since there’s only two of us in the class we don’t do many essays (I know, it doesn’t make sense to me either.) The only essays I have done are only C standard due to my aforementioned timing and understanding the question problems. SO it seems I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place. 🙁

    2. Aww, sounds hard alright. Best thing to do though is make yourself write essays (give yourself more than 40 mins for the moment cos otherwise you won’t manage to get any facts in!) and then make your teacher correct them.
      They do a really helpful seminar type thing in Trinity at some stage (might have been March last year…? Dunno), which I found good. It’s sort of like a grind, I suppose, but better.

    3. Yeah force the teacher! Has to be done in several of my subjects too and that’s what they’re paid to do. Besides, 90% of teachers actually like when a student puts in the extra effort so most won’t turn ya away. Now the other 10%, them’s the issue..

      I don’t know if it’s of any use, but sometimes I find myself spacing out when reading the same book all the time. Or maybe I don’t get an explanation. YouTube, Wikipedia.. there’s billions of sites that can go into more detail/look at it differently. Ok, it mightn’t be syllabus-specific, but DNA really stuck in my head after watching a few vids on YouTube. Also, at JC the Shortcuts to Success (Rapid Revision maybe…?) books were insanely, insanely good. Maybe the guy did a LC book?

  33. Sit down, and map out all the topics that came up over the previous years. Then take the topics that came up last year, and ignore them. Then look for a pattern. Try to think like an examiner (i.e. look for stuff that hasn’t come up in a while)

    You don’t need to learn the whole course off. That’s impossible, with all the detail you need to know. You should have to learn everything, but in less detail, if the system was half-way intelligent, but as it happens the LC is retarded, so you just have to adapt. Know about 3-4 topics that are likely to come up, per section (so about 9-12 overall), and you should be fine. My old history posts may or may not come in handy. All I’m saying is I got a B2, so I wasn’t a complete idiot. Back then.

  34. My friend told me today that history was an extra 20 mins longer this year. I nearly jumped on her with excitement. Just checked examinations.ie. She was wrong.

    Thanks everyone, I am truly lost when it comes to history and on top of all that my history teacher has decided to take a month off for medical reasons…now I’m not trying to be mean but Jesus H Christ could she have picked a worse time, we now have a teacher fresh out of college and shes basically reading to us. Grr.

    I have a Less Stress More Success History revision book my friend gave me, I’m confused as to how to use them really I never used them before 🙂

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