Not A Typical Teenager: How to Humanities - A Guest Post

Sunday, 5 February 2017

How to Humanities - A Guest Post

Hello! As you may not know me, hello, I’m Jemima and I blog at Another Ranting ReaderI am currently in my first year of A Levels, taking my AS exams in the summer, 4 humanities subjects (English Language & Literature, History, Classical Civilisation and Government & Politics), almost the complete opposite of Ashleigh’s subjects. So, we thought we’d work together to share our opinions and tips for tackling our different subject areas. 

Does your school/college treat different subjects differently?

As far as I’m aware, I don’t think so. I think that in my college the resources are spread out quite evenly between each subject area. However, I know that in school and outside there is a lot more emphasis put on the sciences and their importance, whilst, in my opinion, the arts are incredibly important to society.

Are there any misconceptions about your subjects?

1. Classics is just Greek mythology

In reality it’s like History and English combined. I really love the social history aspects, as we study a lot of court cases and texts on real people. Can be something unsuspected for some people, but I thoroughly enjoy it, although it is maybe more suited to someone interested in History more than mythology.

2. Essays are written every lesson

Nope, nope, nope. Believe me, this is really not the case. Yes, our exams are essay based, but a lot of our actual lessons are not spent writing essays. First of all, that takes up a lot of time and we still have to learn the content of our essays. Our lessons vary in structure and content just as much as science or art subjects do. 

3. Humanities are just an easy option for someone who isn’t good at science.

Okay, here’s the thing, humanities take a lot of work, maybe just the same as a science. I know plenty of people who have chosen to do humanities when they could have just as easily chosen sciences, myself included, but we didn’t simply because we didn’t enjoy the subjects so we didn’t take them. Humanities subjects require a lot of skills, despite their differences from the sciences. Instead of dealing with equations, we deal with words and analysis, finding true and deeper meanings as well as being able to structure essays and we still have a load of stuff to learn, perhaps just as much as science students. 

Any revision techniques?

1. Practise papers, practice papers, practice papers!

For humanities, this is the technique that I cannot stress enough. In every humanities subject, you will have to write some sort of essay, whether that’s in shorter exam format or in the form of coursework, it’s gonna happen. In your exams, you’re going to have a time limit that is probably too short what you need to write (I know that’s definitely the case with me for at least Politics and English) so you need to write fast. By doing practise questions you are getting your writing speed quicker whilst also getting used to the style of answering certain questions and the content you need to include in your answer.

2. Talk about it

I find this a very useful way for reinforcing my knowledge on my various subjects. Teach someone you know (who doesn’t know about the topic) and get them to understand it. By doing this, you’re making it more memorable as you’ve said it out loud, your brain has processed it and by making yourself say it it’s kind of true. I don’t know the science behind it, but it works. For something like this, it could just be a discussion on the news with your family and friends or a debate society. This way, you’re socializing as well as expanding your views and adding to your own knowledge.

3. Use social media!

This is something that mostly applies to Politics. As a Politics student, you are required to provide lots of relevant evidence to back up your points. To do this, you should be reading the news and staying up to date with current fairs, as any of the events being reported in the news could be used in one of your answers. To keep in touch with current affairs, I follow lots of newspapers on Twitter (a wide range so you can see the bias) as well as online political sites. 

Also, politics is interesting! It’s especially important to understand what’s happening in the world at the moment, regardless of whether you find politics interesting or not, it’s people’s lives who are being damaged, particularly with the threats rising constantly in the US. 

4. Great a glossary for each subject

This may seem boring (and believe me, it’s really not very exciting), but I believe it’s worth it. Create a word document and steadily add in terminology for your specific subjects, not forgetting to add definitions and examples from your subjects. 

I hope you enjoyed this post! Make sure to let me know about your study tips, I genuinely would love to read them and see if they can help me with my own studies. You can find me over at Another Ranting Reader!

Jemima x


  1. Thank you for working with me, I really enjoyed it!

    Jemima x

    1. Thank you for approaching me! I really enjoyed it and make sure to keep in touch!
      Ashleigh x