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WRITING ESSAYS

Year 11 History

PLANNING AN ESSAY

PLANNING IS ESSENTIAL.
The purpose is to succinctly answer the question asked in a
logical manner, without telling the marker everything you know
about the whole period of study.
The quality of an unfolding, logical and coherent argument
(supported by relevant information and evidence) is more
important than pages and pages of content.
Be neat!

STEP 1: SELECT YOUR QUESTION

Study! Fill your head with knowledge on the topic.


PLAN! Write your plan at the back of your answer booklet you
must put a large cross through your work, and write draft on
the top of the page.
To plan successfully, you must be clear on what the essay
question is asking. Underline the instruction words (like
analyse), and highlight key words (like significant leader).
Establish a thesis.
Plan the structure of your essay by noting down key details
that will form the basis of your paragraphs.

WRITING AN HISTORY ESSAY

INTRODUCTION
BODY PARAGRAPHS
CONCLUSION

INTRODUCTION
Tell the marker what youre going to say in response to the essay question.
1. Set the context for the essay.
- Identify the topic and set the boundaries of the time period or era you are writing about. Example: The popular discontent
arising from the economic conditions brought by the Depression and the inability of the government to deal with these problems
was one significant factor in the rise of Nazism.
2. Define terms.
- Define any key terms in the essay question, such as historical movement, identity or key ideology. Make your interpretations
absolutely clear.
3. Proposition/thesis.
- State the proposition that you are going to argue in the coming paragraphs. For example, Whilst popular discontent at the start
of the period was a significant factor in explaining the rise of Nazism, it was not the only factor.
- Consider what your answer is the the essay question how can you communicate this answer in one sentence?
4. Outline of essay.
- Outline the major points of information that will be paragraphs in your essay.

BODY

Use paragraphs that start with a topic sentence outlining what


information will be in the paragraph.
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CONCLUSION

Remember that this is the last part of the essay the marker reads, so
leave them with a clear indication of what you know about the question.
Make sure you write one!
Keep it clear and emphatic.
Make a direct reference to the essay question by re-iterating the key
words of the question.
Draw all, or the major points of your response, into one or two powerful
statements. Drive your argument home!
Do not: vaguely summarise or use clichs like, Thus is can be seen
that Dont fall into the trap of summarising your intro.

WHAT ARE THE MARKERS LOOKING


FOR?
Your capacity to demonstrate conceptual understandings, apply process skills and to use relevant knowledge.
A careful and precise reading comprehension;
The marshalling of relevant evidence in answers;
The organisation of evidence into a coherent account;
The lucid, literate exposition of the material;
The explicit interpretation of evidence and the demonstration of some critical facility with the development of a sustained
argument;
The capacity to recognise and accept different point of view (in sources, and amongst historians);
An ability to evaluate and assess historical interpretations and perspectives;
An interest in empathy with the past;
A desire to understand the past in an awareness that simple judgments based on contemporary criteria will not achieve this;
A capacity for independent thought.
Independent though does NOT mean that you make up history, or completely reinterpret historical events.
Independent thought is where you demonstrate an understanding of the event by marshalling the relevant
evidence to support your interpretation.