Before we actually dive into this vast subject, I would like to touch on a few things. Firstly, studying history is like studying any other type of subject in that it demands participation and a big amount of patience. The successful student forces him or herself to study, of course there are certain tactics to make the whole thing go by easier and more effective.
Having that said, you should know that the following advice is what I feel is the most appropriate approach to studying history, it does not imply (by any means) that it is the only way to study history, we should have this issue clear. Secondly, if this way of studying does not fit your way of learning, throw it out and never look back! What! Did I just tell you to dismiss my own advice? Well, yes, but only if you find it reprehensive enough to the degree that you feel that the advice will actually give you worse result than benefit. Albeit, here it goes:
Studying history is often perceived as boring… I have to disagree, it’s not just boring it is really boring if you don’t know how to tackle it! Here’s my take on the two elements you should always look at when studying history:
a) The Reasons/Causes behind an event.
b) The Consequences that followed.
By understanding why things happened and what the events led to, you have in fact answered most of the questions. This is what any person studying history should look at, in contrast to getting caught on all the details. So the first action you need to take when you’ve received a new history assignment is to write down all the possible causes to the event and the consequences that erupted due to the causes.
You will find that most of the time, finding the consequences is by far easier than trying to understand why it happened in the first place.