Answering AS-Level Questions on the Henrician Reformation

John Matusiak explains how to tackle typical questions successfully.

One of the most regrettable paradoxes of history teaching is that not all thoroughly good history students are thoroughly successful in terms of their final examination grades. The reason for this exasperating discrepancy is that while all good history students know their chosen period well, they do not always fully understand the habits and behaviour of the examination beast that lurks hungrily in wait for them at the end of their studies. What follows is an attempt to help tame one particular variant of the AS-Level examination and, at the same time, to deal briefly with some specific examples of actual questions on the Henrician Reformation. The comments are especially relevant to Edexcel's AS paper entitled, 'A Very English Reformation: Henry VIII and the English Reformation,1529-47', but they are valid for a wide range of similar syllabuses. 

Making Inferences from Sources

AS-Level students are required to make inferences from sources and this is a comparatively simple task to score highly on, provided that the right techniques are used. The source below is an extract from Simon Fish's famous anticlerical satire, Supplication of Beggars. Here the author is addressing the King about the shortcomings of the clergy: 

And what do all these greedy sort of sturdy, idle, holy thieves, with all these yearly exactions that they take of the people? Truly, nothing but exempt themselves from the obedience of your grace. Nothing but translate all rule, power, lordship, authority, obedience and dignity from your grace unto them. Nothing but that all your subjects should fall into disobedience and rebellion against your grace and be under them.

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