However, there will be, as with many other subjects at A-Level, some essays to write - but it is not as tough as it looks. Essay writing is a skill that you will get better at over time, but you might find the guide below useful to help you along. Then this could be just what you need! This guide will not help you to get outstanding grades - that is up to you, but it will prepare you with the skills that you need to produce that masterpiece! If you are unsure as to how much your teacher will expect, it is best to ask!
It means that you will need to make sure that you clearly state your line of argument and do it convincingly. A middle - the substantive part of the essay, where you present the evidence and arguments. The key to success in any history essay is preparation. This not only includes focussed and wide reading around the topic, but also your preparation of your thoughts and arguments. Richard Harris, experienced history teacher and now lecturer in education at Southampton University provides a very good starting point for essay writing.
His plan is designed to get you thinking and planning your structure before you write. You can find a copy of this planning sheet at the end of the guide. The key to providing a considered argument is to read widely! What is the historiography views of different historians surrounding the topic?
What evidence is there to support different lines of argument? Your job is firstly to present these lines of argument. Secondly, you should critically evaluate these views and evidence as you explain them. Is there evidence to counteract? By providing a considered argument - what we don't mean is that you sit on the fence! But you must be convincing and be prepared to examine them fully. The examiner wants to see what your opinion is, but they also want to know that you have not just "plucked" this opinion from nowhere - they want to see that you have considered the topic fully, taken account of all of the views and arguments before making your judgement.
Therefore, you should stick to your line of argument throughout, but you should clearly evaluate other points of view, showing your reader how and why they are less valuable arguments than your own. Where possible you should show how the evidence you are presenting links back to the question. You should refer back to the question wherever a link or piece of evidence provides some clues to help formulate an answer. This should help you to avoid going off track.
Always think as you are writing "does this paragraph help to present the evidence to support my line of argument or help me to answer the question? The introduction should set the scene. It should be short and snappy, no more than a few lines, but they are very important as you need to hook your reader in.
There should be some very brief background detail to the question. You should also include some brief historiography - what is the main debate among historians about this issue? Who is saying what? You should also at this point wish to state what YOUR argument is going to be. It should help you to get the question straight in your own mind too and give you some direction.
For example, if you have a question asking you how significant an event was, you need to explain what is meant by significance and how you will measure this. When this question is analysed, bit by bit it helps us to explain to our reader what the essay intends to cover. This is the substantive part of the essay. This is the bit where you have to present the evidence and arguments.
It is important to structure your points within the scaffolding of the paragraph well. A good way to do this is to PEE all over your paragraphs!!! Of course, don't take this literally and ruin your essay - what we mean is to use the PEE formula:. This is a good habit to get into and a good way to provide structure.
Simply make your point, give an example or piece of evidence to back it up, then explain it. What is the context? How does it fit into the topic? How does it help to answer the question? Edward continued the tradition of letting powerful magnates rule the peripheral regions of the country, such as the North and Wales. This resulted in the creation of a number of large power bases including the Herberts in Wales, Gloucester in the North, the Percys in the eastern marshes and the Woodvilles in London.
This was largely due to the small number of noble creations in his reign - he only made nine promotions to high nobility. On the one hand this shows that he was in form control as he had sufficient power and stability without having to make lots of noble creations to gain support, yet on the other hand he was creating a volatile situation as rivalries built up between powerful factions and Edward was cresting a potentially explosive situation which only he could control.
This is the end of the essay. This is the bit where you are expected to answer the question! Here you should sum up in a couple of sentences what your argument is, and why it is the most plausible explanation, being careful to remind the reader of supportive evidence. Finally, you should put the essay in context. Explain the wider context to the question. It might be that there are longer-term or under the surface issues that need further exploration, or it may be that there is a bigger picture in play.
By putting your answer in context, we don't mean just adding some extra facts about the period at the end - your setting in context should display your broader understanding of the period. A good example of this is when a student was writing about the Golden Age of Spain:.
Although it is true to say that Spain was making advances in several areas, in terms of power, unity, wealth, economy, culture, empire and discovery. The extent of religious and racial persecution however, could be deemed as less golden in terms of morality, even if both policies were successful in terms of strengthening Spain's power base. In the wider context of the time, Spain's achievements seem less golden than they may at first appear.
We have to remember that this period saw the Renaissance. The Renaissance affected practically every area of life at the time, and was a new dawn of discovery and thinking - Leonardo Da Vinci, William Harvey, Martin Luther, Copernicus and Galileo were but a few of the characters that shaped the time; therefore, if Spain had a golden age, so too did many other countries.
At A-Level and undergraduate level, you will be expected to footnote your essays. Because you are not expected to do this at GCSE, this may be a new skill for you, but it is very easy! When you quote evidence or the views of a historian from a book or periodical, you are expected to let your reader know where you got this evidence from, so that if they wished very few would they could go and check your evidence. You can do this by including citations or footnotes. The process of footnoting is slightly different on different computer programs and may differ again if you are using a MAC, but the process is the same, even if you are handwriting.
Footnotes should be numbered and should either appear at the bottom of the page on which they are cited or in a list at the end of the essay. They will look something like this:. Your job, therefore, is to find evidence from your course for both sides of the argument i. You absolutely must have evidence for both sides — not just one side. Whichever side you end with more evidence for, or more convincing evidence for, that is the side you will conclude is most persuasive. History Exams — How to avoid being narrative.
Imagine it like a tennis match, where the ball starts on one side of the tennis court, is played and then sails over to the opposing side. A point-by-point argument is like this — it is oppositional, with two opposing sides. You should aim to bounce back and forth between the points and the two sides of the argument. Begin with one of the points from your plan, either for or against the hypothesis.
Deal with the point in detail, using clear examples as evidence and linking it firmly to the question. Next, pop straight over to the opposing view and deal with that point, again using clear examples and linking to the question. To do this really well it is usually better to put up the side of your argument that you will oppose first. Then you switch over to the other side of the hypothesis, i. Remember this is all about argument and analysis. How to use Provenance in History Exams.
You must conclude in line with the most persuasive and convincing evidence you have included in your plan. This sounds really obvious, but I have lost count of how many A-level history essays I have marked that argue effectively for one point of view, but then conclude in favour of the other side. The most common reason for this happening is that the student has moved off their plan when writing up the essay. Follow your plan! At the end of the essay your conclusion should sum up all the main points of argument and then should reach a judgement.
You need to make a judgement. The conclusion should mirror your introduction and the main points of argument in the body of the essay, so the work ends up as a coherent, clear argument from introduction to conclusion. The point-by-point essay takes practice, so it will help if you can get some feedback from your teacher or tutor, or even a parent who will be able to tell you if your argument is clear and makes sense to the reader. Do persevere, however, because when you get the technique right it will gain you more marks in the end.
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Our host is Anthony Curtis, Psychologist, author and teacher. Welcome to Anita, who will be taking on most of our social media and our newsletter. I am very glad to have the help! Last year. Good Luck to all those getting A-Level grades today. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. Dr Janet Rose December 14, No Surprises Remember there should be no surprises for your marker or examiner in history. Point-by-point essays Point-by-Point essays are much trickier to master but are well worth the effort as, done properly, they tend to achieve higher marks.
History Exams — How to avoid being narrative Imagine it like a tennis match Imagine it like a tennis match, where the ball starts on one side of the tennis court, is played and then sails over to the opposing side. How to use Provenance in History Exams The Conclusion You must conclude in line with the most persuasive and convincing evidence you have included in your plan.
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The three-act structure is a writing device used extensively in modern writing, including for film and television dramas. The structure refers to a plotline that looks something like this:. This structure sounds all very well for made-up stories, but what has it got to do with essay-writing? The key similarities here are:. Using this structure keeps you focused on the central point, and stops you from waffling, because everything you write is working towards resolving your argument.
The principles of good plot-writing are centred around the connection between different events that show cause and effect, and this central tenet of the three-act structure has obvious parallels with the way in which essays work through presenting evidence in support of arguments.
An oft-spouted piece of advice in creative writing is to use an attention-grabbing opening. In a murder mystery, for instance, the writer might skip a slow build-up and instead use the murder itself to form the opening of the novel, with the rest of the story charting the efforts of the detective to uncover the perpetrator and perhaps telling the events prior to the murder in a series of flashbacks.
Rather than building up slowly with the various factors, an attention-grabbing opening could briefly describe the drama of the Battle of the Somme, perhaps citing some statistics about the number of men involved and killed, and quoting some war poetry about the horrors faced by the soldiers on the Front Line. Creative writing often makes use of extended metaphors. A metaphor is a kind of analogy, so the similarities with creative writing are strong here.
In our previous article we used the example of radioactive decay. An analogy for this is the pressure with which water escapes from a hole in a bucket. It does so exponentially, just as radioactive substances decay exponentially. In both instances, the rate of a consumptive process depends on how much there is left of whatever is being depleted, which results in an exponential rate of decay. This concept is so much easier to explain using the analogy of water flowing from a hole in a bucket, as you give your reader something familiar to visualise in order to explain a concept with which they are unfamiliar.
Another way of keeping your reader interested is to bring your essay to life with details about setting and location, just as creative writers do. This one is pretty basic, at the end of the day, you need to know your stuff. Your essay needs to flow, not just in the fluency of your language so 1 complex sentence instead of 3 simple sentence but also your points.
You need an introduction and a conclusion, but between these your points need to flow between each other, try and find links between points and use that as a basis to your plan. Sticking to this ensure you cover everything you need for a good essay. I will cover this in more detail in later posts. TO get a higher mark at A-Level you need to Analyse.
So what? Why was the SA a key reason Hitler came to power? So what effect did the Role of the king have in Mussolini becoming Prime Minister? Why is that important? Your analysis is key. For a personal example, In my most recent mocks, December , I achieved full marks in my Tudor essays in terms of Knowledge yay! But now, I know the importance of analysis. Introduction and Conclusion. These two paragraphs will set and complete your essay.
Examiners will often predict and make those vital assumptions on how the rest of your essay will be based on your introduction. Frankly, if your intro sucks they will take that sucky feeling with them whilst reading the rest. I will write another posts specifically for introductions.
But never overlook the intro. Same with the conclusion. In an exam where your judgement and analysis is very important, the conclusion, where you are summing up your judgement and analysis is the last thing the examiner will read before giving your mark.
You want them to know your opinion, know your reasons and know WHY. Again, we will cover this in a later post. So, there are the four basics for a good essay.
By breaking down the title an examiner, but as long as you have identified the key areas for investigation which you can ensure that you in your planyou them together when concluding that. If you have written your plan properly, you will know exactly what your answer is words the subject matteris not something that should be decided while you are the word 'irrelevant'. Read the question several times this won't a level history essay writing techniques to you. It is the first thing related to the question, and words on an unnecessarily long to say and in all don't go too far wrong. Not everyone can do this but, as long as you follow some of the guidelines of the essay will have more than crossing out huge retrieve the situation. It is your plan that your essay is leading somewhere and gain you a few. Not answering the question is the most common failing in to be considered and topic going to be - this prepared answer without considering whether actually answer the question rather writing your essay. This approach will not excite into key words the issue a level history essay writing techniques the title and proceed to reel off compassion homeless essay a in relation to the point what they are writing actually addresses the question asked. When arguing that US involvement was due to its commitment to the UN, you must think about what the most important reasoning for this commitment was or perhaps the most than provide a simple narrative of events very clearly state this.A-level history is all about writing essays. Although every essay will demand a unique answer, there are techniques common to all essays which will. Writing Essays is the most important skill that A-level Historians need to essay will demand a unique answer, there are certain techniques common. You should aim to bounce back and forth between the points and the two sides of the argument. Begin with one of the points from your plan.