Whilst history can be an endless source of wonder and inspiration, studying for any examination isn’t exactly fun. It can feel like those weeks before your exams just move from classroom to textbook to essay to lecture to homework. And this can be too much for even the most confident and conscientious candidate.
So, regardless of whether you are studying history for A Levels or GCSEs, iGCSEs or the Baccalaureate, we’re here to help with preparing for your exams and with achieving the grades you need. However, we’re also here to show you how to do that in the most engaging way, without you having to sit down and learn by heart your timelines, texts, or handout. There are better ways to study.
In this article, then we’ll guide you through the best apps and podcasts designed to teach you history so that you can revise just by listening, or by creating your own digital flashcards. So, if you need to nail modern history or the early modern world, the Second World War, empire, or revolution, these online history resources will give you everything you need.
Make history come alive with the best revision apps!
The Gojimo app is run by The Telegraph and it now claims that a third of all GCSE and A Level students use it – which, honestly, is quite an impressive number. It now covers twenty-eight GCSE subjects and twenty A Level – from psychology to sociology, politics, English Literature and maths – and its content is catered to the specifications of each exam board. So, whether you are being taught OCR, Edexcel, or AQA, Gojimo will help.
The app works with you choosing your course and downloading the relevant quizzes. These quizzes test you on your knowledge of the syllabus and give you an explanation following every answer. It allows you to track your strengths and weaknesses and let’s you check off each topic once you have gained the right knowledge.
Once you are in the exam period, it provides info on revision strategies and managing stress – and even provides you with tips on how to apply to universities and higher education, and how to impress a potential employer.
Quizlet is a popular revision app for students of all subjects, whether geography, chemistry, or mathematics. It’s so popular, in fact, that thirty million students across the world use the app monthly as part of the exam preparation.
The app gives you access to millions of flashcards created by other students – and you can make them yourself. These give you the opportunity to test yourself whilst on the move and to consolidate your history knowledge from wherever you have your phone. Teachers are increasingly using Quizlet in the classroom too.
For history students, you will find flashcards with key terms, personalities, and concepts – from the growth of nationalism, the Holocaust, and the role of medicine throughout history.
The right revision tools can be as engaging as history museum.
Specifically designed for those studying GCSE History, the company Revision Buddies has built an app called – you guessed it! – GCSE History. Again guided by exam board specification, it covers popular GCSE topics from the contexts and consequences of World War II to the Cold War.
Whilst the app itself is free, you will need to pay for the course content, which is set out in order of micro-modules, upon which you will be tested. The app includes past papers, mark schemes, and detailed explanations of each important event.
For its user-friendly navigation and its engaging, interactive content, the GCSE History App is worth your time.
The Student Room, the famous forum for students worrying about applying to university or learning the best exam technique, has launched an app – and it’s called Get Revising.
This app is less about teaching you things and more about giving you the structure, organisation, and timetable to get what you need out of your revision. It gives you reminders of when – and which subjects – you should be studying, and allows you to set notifications of homework and coursework deadlines to manage your time effectively.
If you are the sort of student who needs a bit of discipline and structure to your study life, then Get Revising may well be the perfect app for you.
Whilst apps are a little more interactive, podcasts are a wonderful way to learn at your leisure, to free up your hands to take notes, and to add a bit of diversity into the way you revise.
The GCSE History Revision Podcast is a particularly good way to build on your GCSE learning – as it compiles information essential to your course into entertaining, engaging, and hugely interesting little audio files. If you are looking into the revolutionary movements of sixteenth-century Britain or the imperialism of the United States in the twentieth century, this podcast will make learning actually enjoyable – and you can revise while sitting on the bus, walking down the street, or even with your eyes closed.
Note, however, that this is only for GCSE students!
An incredibly famous history revision podcast is that run by Scott Allsop – a Cambridge graduate and history teacher. Its fame comes from the fact that it is hugely comprehensive, with episodes covering everything in the history curriculum – at GCSE and sixth form.
Mr Allsop’s podcasts are available on iTunes and on his own website and they range from modern global history to the ancient world. They are all organised by syllabus and are catered to the content of the exams. As any experienced history student will tell you, you won’t go wrong with Mr Allsop’s podcasts!
The wildly popular revision site, Bitesize, is run by the BBC and is something of an authority on revision of all secondary school topics.
Whilst it’s known primarily for its articles, quizzes, and easily digestible information, Bitesize now has plenty more to offer – with their considerable selection of downloadable audio revision guides. Available for both A Level and GCSE, Bitesize’s free revision resources are a gift for any student who is struggling or who may just want a recap.
It’s a fantastic site, and its content covers everything in the humanities, sciences, and literally every other subject you could think of.
The History Resource Cupboard is something of a gem for history learning. Set up by teachers for teachers, tutors, and students, it offers one of the most humongous arrays of secondary education resources in the history world.
The website offers paid membership alongside free resources with a focus on GCSEs, giving teachers homework resources, teaching materials, and lesson plans.
However, as you know, we are talking here about podcasts. The History Resource Cupboard has only a handful of podcasts available for download – on Versailles, the League of Nations, America in the Roaring Twenties, and on the causes of World War II. Although they are few in number, they are rich in quality – and they come with a variety a suggested ways that they may best be used.
Youtube isn’t all videos of cats being scared by cucumbers or clips of the worst X Factor performances. These days, it’s rather loaded with great educational content by helpful members of the public who want to make your studies as smooth as they possibly can be.
Just a quick search of ‘history revision’ brings up an overwhelming variety of options on every GCSE, A Level, or Key Stage 3 topic under the sun. Some great channels to follow are Revise GCSE History or the by now familiar Mr Allsop History. But really, just enter the name of your course and the exam board and you’ll find hundreds of videos designed to make it all easy.
Your computer can unlock a world of possibilities for your history revision.
The last on our list is Tes’s history podcasts. You might remember Tes if you have seen our article on the internet’s best websites for history revision. But, for those who don’t know, it’s a site for teachers to post resources, discuss teaching practices, and share ideas.
Whilst that may not sound exactly like something a student might want, this sort of behind the scenes peek at teaching is actually very helpful. There is a series of podcasts on every module in the GCSE syllabus, and you’ll find exactly the same for A Levels too.
So, without overwhelming you too much with options, there you are! Check out our pieces on the best history books for revision and the most helpful history revision websites in our series on history revision resources whilst you are here!