Jamie's Blog

Jamie's Blog

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This blog is for anyone who wants to improve their general knowledge in record time.

Historical timelines!

September 2010Posted by Jamie Miller Fri, September 10, 2010 13:52:19
One of the most effective ways of improving your quizzing capabilities QUICKLY is adding to your historical timelines.


The more you have a sense of the order in which historical periods, civilisations and events occured, the greater your ability to work out the correct answer to a number of quiz questions.

If your historical knowledge is really scarce, there are certain key dates that you can learn really easily and remember right now.

As I Twittered a while back, some important dates can be remembered simply by remembering the number '6': 1066 (The Battle of Hastings), 1666 (The Great Fire of London), 1966 (England wins the World Cup).

The date of the French Revolution (1789) is easy to recall because once you know it occured in the 1700s, the rest of the numbers in that date merely count upwards: 8, 9... 1789!

For those with more advanced historical knowledge, it is possible to get even more specific. For example, learning the order of Egyptian pharaohs, Chinese dynasties, etc.

To illustrate how some knowledge of historical timelines can be so helpful in allowing you to work out the correct answer, let me use an example. Let us suppose you come across the following quiz question (history buffs, forgive me if you find this question too easy!)

Q: Who defeated Antony and Cleopatra in the Battle of Actium in 31BC?
A) Julius Caesar
B) Octavian
C) Pompey
D) Pontius Pilate
E) Scipio

As the question refers to 'BC', and Pontius Pilate was active during Jesus' lifetime, you can make a reasonable guess that it was not him. As Scipio was fighting in the Punic Wars (which occured from 264BC to 146BC), you can safely rule him out. As Caesar was killed in 44BC, you can rule him out. And since Caesar outlived his long-term rival Pompey, you can rule out Pompey. As a result, you are only left with the correct answer: Octavian!