How do I structure a history essay well?

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While structure can be a rather flexible feature of one's essay, having an established structuring strategy can help a student save time in the exam and present his/her points clearly. A structure that I have found particularly useful is as follows:

1) Introduction - One can use his/her introduction to present the point s/he will be arguing and to provide a mini plan of the essay with the most important points that will be mentioned. This helps the student be consistent and ensures nothing important will be missed.

2) Body paragraphs - Each paragraph should have a point, evidence to support that point, and an explanation as to how that evidence has been used in supporting the point. A good way to keep one focused is to use the first sentence of the paragraph to present its main point and relate it back to the question. The last sentence of the paragraph should also relate back to the question by providing a direct answer to it based on the point presented alone.

One should present 3-5 good points and try to balance the arguments for and against the claim provided in the question. At the same time, one should  always show explicitly how each point supports his/her argument, and how the points opposing it can be refuted.

3) Conclusion - The conclusion is a place to weave in all the points made so as to prove the thesis one has set out to argue in the introduction - it is not a place to simply repeat shortly all the points made throughout the essay. No new points should be introduced either in the concluding paragraph.

While this may seem as a very complicated way to oragnise one's essay, practising writing essays using it will make the process a lot easier and even automatic, so that structuring does not take too much time during the exam. It is a very effective strategy that keeps one focused and consistent and ensures that the questions is answered clearly.

Veleka G. Mentoring -Personal Statements- tutor, A Level English Lite...

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is an online A Level History tutor with MyTutor studying at Durham University

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