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How To Write a Good History essay

First of all we ought be asking, what makes an effective history essay? No two people are likely to fully agree, if only because they believe that the quality of the essay is subjective – and also reflects the mind of the writer. This article goes beyond philosophical debates and provides practical tips on how to compose an essay that is sure to achieve top marks.


Witnesses in court vow to stand by their word in the totality of the matter and nothing less than the truth. All students in history should swear in a similar way: to answer questions in completeness, to answer the question and nothing but the question. It is the main rule. It is possible to write well and make a convincing case using a wealth of convincing evidence however, if you’re not relevant, then you might as well be tinkling with a drum. This means that you must think attentively about the question you’re being asked to respond to. Avoid the regrettable error of less experienced students who fail to in the end, fail to answer the test the examiners could have asked but failed to do so. Take your time, look carefully over the wording of the question and be certain that you’ve understood each of its terms.

If, for instance you are asked why Hitler gained power then you need to define what the procedure of gaining power consisted of. Was there a specific event that marked his acquisition of the power? If you immediately seize on the appointment as Chancellor think carefully and ask yourself what powers the position actually was conferred to him.Read about At website Was the passage of the Enabling Act more important? What was the date when the rise to power actually begin? Should you mention Hitler’s birth and childhood as well as during the time of hyperinflation, which was in the beginning of the 1920s? If you decide what years are relevant and , consequently, which ones are not relevant in the first place, you’ll be on a an excellent start. In the next step, you’ll need to figure out the many factors that accounted for his rise.

If you are requested to talk about the achievements of an individual Try not to write down your first thought to pop to mind. Take a look at the possibility of success. As you do this, will soon be faced with the challenge of defining what is’success’. What does it actually mean? What is the definition of ones goals? Are you able to say whether it is objective (a thing of fact) or subjective (a thing of opinion)? We must consider either long-term or short-term results? If the person enjoys incredible luck, is this still a successful event? When you are wrestling with the issue of definition will assist you make a list of the successes. You could then write a detailed explanation of them, tracing their origins by determining how they occurred. Do you have a basis for the success? If yes, it could make up the primary focus of your answer.

The word that is most prominent in the preceding paragraphs is consider. This is different from daydreaming or reminiscing idly speculating. It’s not an enjoyable process, and the majority people are trying to keep it out of our minds most of the time. But there’s no way around it for it if you’re determined to achieve an A+ grade. It is important to think as strongly that you possibly can on the significance of the question, about its implications and your options to respond to it. You need to think and think hard . Then you should think again looking for weaknesses in your reasoning. In the end, you’ll probably be confused. Be assured that confusion is often an important step in the process of achieving clarity. If you’re totally lost stop for a moment. If you come back to the question you may find that you have solved your problems. If not, you should give yourself more time. You may discover that excellent ideas appear in your brain at unexpected timings.

It is the Vital First Paragraph

Each element of an essay is critical, but the first paragraph is vital. This is your first chance you have to impress – or disappoint – the examiner, and your first impressions can be crucial. Try to craft a memorable first sentence. (‘Start with an earthquake and build up to a point of climax, according to the filmmaker Cecil B. De Mille.) Most important is that you be able to demonstrate your understanding of questions. Here , you outline your carefully elaborate definitions of principal terms. In addition, you establish the relevant time-frame and issues – more precisely, the conditions of the question. You also break the entire question into more feasible sub-divisions, or even smaller , more specific questions, on each of which you will subsequently write the length of a paragraph. Then, you formulate an argument, or at times, speak out alternative ideas, which you’ll later prove in the essay. The opening paragraph or maybe you could spread this opening section over two paragraphs. This is the first step to a good essay.

In the first sentence, examiners will be assured that it’s author is following the right track, and is relevant in his analysis, logical and thorough. They’ll surely feel as if they are relieved that this is one student at least who avoids these two common mistakes. The first is to not even consider the question completely. The second option is to write the story in a chronological order – often starting with the creation of an individual in a vain attempt at answering this question in the concluding paragraph.

Middle Paragraphs

Philip Larkin once said that the modern novel consists of an opening, a muddleand an end. This is, unfortunately, all too true of many history essays. But if you’ve crafted an effective opening paragraph in which you’ve subdivided the entire question into distinct and manageable sections your essay won’t be messy; instead, it will be coherent.

It should be obvious from your middle paragraphs what question you are answering. Indeed , it’s an excellent test of an essay that the reader should be able to make a guess even when you don’t mention it. So consider starting each middle paragraph will a generalisation specific to the question. Then , you can further develop this concept and back it up with evidence. You must give a judicious selection of evidence (i.e. quotes and facts) to justify the argument you’re presenting. There’s a limit to the amount of time or space to think about the level of detail you will need. Minor background issues can be described using generalizations; however, your most significant areas require more emphasis. (Do not be one of the naive candidates who, unaccountably “do the frog’s circling” in superficial areas, and gloss over important ones.)

The rules often state that during the A2 year, students must be familiar with the principal opinions of historians. You should not disregard this advice. However be careful not to take historiography so far that the past itself can be nearly ignored. Particularly, do not fall into the temptation to believe that all you require are sources of historical opinion. Most often, in their essays, students present a generalisation but back by stating the opinion of an historian . However, since they’ve formed this generalisation from their own opinion which is untrue, which makes it meaningless and untruthful. Furthermore, it assumes that historians are infallible or omniscient gods. If you do not provide real evidence that supports your opinion such as historians do, generally speaking, it’s just an assertion. The middle paragraphs can be the ideal place to present the main idea of an essay, and you do not pay attention to this at your peril.

Last Paragraph

If you’ve had to argue an argument in the body of an essay, you need to drive on the point in the last paragraph. If you’ve been looking at several alternatives, now’s the time to clarify what’s the most correct option. In the middle, you have the same role as a barrister conducting a trial. In the last paragraph, you’re the judge who summarizes your verdict.