Tuesday 13 July 2021

 CODE: 8223


Revise the key themes of the Normans unit – focusing on key areas of difficulty and developing strategies to maximise marks in exam questions – especially on the HE question. This will enable students to feel more confident in what is expected on this part of the paper


  • Review the key concepts of change and continuity; cause and consequence and how to address these themes effectively in exam questions. Advice from a senior examiner and current teacher.
  • Learn how to approach the Historic Environment question with ideas on the types of questions likely for the White Tower.
  • Target higher grades by recognising how to write an effective answer relevant to the question – know what the examiners are looking for.


4.00 – 4.05  pm Welcome and Introduction

4.05pm – 4.25pm:  Change and Continuity – how to get to grips with life 1,000 years ago in England.

What effect did the Norman invasion actually have on the English?

One of the key parts of the Normans course is how much they changed England – but the reality is that much did stay the same. Not all people were affected in the same way – the rich experienced far greater changes than the poor.

  • Review of these concepts and how they apply to the Normans (review of key material)
  • Example exam questions and how best to tackle them – e.g. Write an account of how towns changed under the Normans.
  • Showing examples of effective answers so students know to aim for – especially how to reach that elusive level 4.

4.25 – 4.45pm: Cause and consequence               

Another key part of the course which covers why the Normans succeeded at Hastings; how William was about to successfully crush the English. This will also cover areas of the course that students find tricky – how did government change and with what consequences? What was the consequence of changes to the church?

  • Review of these concepts and how they apply to the Normans (review of key material)
  • Example exam questions and how best to tackle them e.g. Explain what was important about the reforms of local and national government for Norman England? Explain what was important about Norman reforms of the church for Norman England.
  • How to approach the ‘How convincing’ question effectively – e.g. How convincing is the interpretation about the feudal system in Norman England? 

4.45pm – 5.00pm Historic Environment – what are the likely questions on the White Tower and how should they be answered to gain the most marks                                           

  • Summary of key points about the White Tower – e.g. the dual purpose of the White Tower – not just military defence but also the King’s home when in England. The tower was also to exert political control and show how powerful William was (for intimidation).
  • What areas are likely to be covered by the question e.g. what was the main purpose of building castles, how far does the White Tower support this?
  • How do you write a good HE answer? Looking at an example question and how to approach it. For example: “The main change castles brought about was that it allowed Normans to defend their new lands” How far does a study of the White Tower support this statement? Explain your answer. You should refer to the White Tower and your contextual knowledge. An explanation of what the examiners are looking for.

5.00-5.05pm Any questions


Helena Clarke
Helena has over a decade of teaching and examining experience. She teaches at a large comprehensive school in Cheshire and has extensive experience with students of all abilities. She is an experienced national presenter and author of GCSE History textbooks for the current specification, as well as being an Assistant Principal Examiner with a leading awarding body.