How do I answer a Question 2 essay on the HAT?

A question two essay on the HAT should be approached in a similar way to which you would approach a normal History (Unit I and Unit II OCR question) A-Level essay. Question II essays will, usually, be framed in an open-ended way, inviting discussion in a three-pronged manner. For example, my Q2 essay entailed discussing the forces of change in any period of my choice (was it from the top, the bottom, or the middle?). The phrasing of this essay gave me my shape, immediately: paragraphs would focus, separately, on the top, bottom and middle.There are certain things to remember when planning this essay. The first thing to do is draw up your three factors (in my case, I chose first-century CE Rome, using the emperor, the plebs, and the senate). The introduction need do nothing but outline these three factors, and, crucially, give an indication of which you think is most important. The first sentence of each themed paragraph is to (de)prioritise the factor, indicating how it stacks against the other factors. The paragraph should, from then on, flow normally, with a good balance of evidence and analysis. Interwoven into this, there should be some linkage between the current factor and the other factors you intend to discuss/have discussed. This, you should repeat three times. Concomitant to this discussion is also a 'However' section, in which you offer contrary evaluation, and look to challenge the factor you have discussed. This, likewise, happens for each factor. The structure, therefore, has certain features which combine to create the right sort of essay. It comes together as the essay goes along, and gives the Oxford don a good idea of what your conclusion will say. The question, therefore, is being answered all along. All that remains, after that, is for you, the student, to insert the knowledge.

Answered by Rory M. HAT tutor

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