MYTUTOR SUBJECT ANSWERS

380 views

What is the best way to structure a history essay in an exam?

Remember, a question in an exam is about what you know, not what you don't know. Make sure that you shape your answer to show off the breadth of your knowledge, while keeping focused on what the question wants you to demonstrate. Familiarity with your board's course specification and markscheme will help with this. The best thing to do is go into the exam with some general structural plans that you can rely on.

There are basic tips that will ensure your argument flows and adds clarity to your answer. For example, always open your paragraphs with a qualitative statement and close it with a mini-judgement backed up by evidence at the end. In fact, some markschemes specify that candidates cannot reach the top band if they do not make regular and nuanced judgements throughout their essay. You want to make it easy for a tired and busy marker to recognise you know what you're talking about and award you marks by setting out your argument as clearly as possible.

From personal experience the introduction to an essay is more important than a conclusion, as you should have made your central argument clear from the introduction and made judgements throughout, the conclusion is more of a summing up of an already apparent line of reasoning. That being said, if you're running out of time always prioritise reaching some kind of conclusion over continuing with your paragraph; again many markschemes specify that an ultimate judgement is needed for the essay to be awarded top-band marks. Although some teachers suggest you should not reveal the ultimate outcome of your essay in your introduction, I would personally recommend setting out your entire argument in an exam situation, especially if tie is a factor, the intent of your essay can at least be shown.

Once you've got these basics down, there are flourishes you can add to really stand out to the examiner and bump your grade up to an A*. For example, opening your essay with a salient quote from a contemporary which exemplifies the peculiarity of the era or phenomenon you're discussing or an event which you see as a turning point in your course. 

Laura S. A Level History tutor, GCSE History tutor, GCSE English tuto...

10 months ago

Answered by Laura, an A Level History tutor with MyTutor


Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist

91 SUBJECT SPECIALISTS

£24 /hr

Kate M.

Degree: Combined Honours in Social Sciences (Bachelors) - Durham University

Subjects offered:History, Philosophy and Ethics+ 2 more

History
Philosophy and Ethics
English Literature
-Personal Statements-

“Hi! I’m Kate and I’m a student at Durham University. My degree is made up of History and Politics modules, as well as some English Literature, Anthropology, and Art History, so I’m well equipped to provide as indepth or broad an insig...”

£20 /hr

Anna W.

Degree: History (Bachelors) - Cambridge University

Subjects offered:History, English+ 2 more

History
English
-Personal Statements-
-Oxbridge Preparation-

“I am a History student at Cambridge who has been through and succeeded in 11+ exams, GCSEs, A levels and the Oxbridge application process. ”

MyTutor guarantee

Oliver H. GCSE Government and Politics tutor, A Level Government and ...
£20 /hr

Oliver H.

Degree: Human, Social and Political Sciences (Bachelors) - Cambridge University

Subjects offered:History, Politics

History
Politics

“About me: I am a final year Political Science student at the University of Cambridge! I have studied both History and Politics courses at degree level and hold an A Level in History. I have spent the last year as student union Preside...”

MyTutor guarantee

About the author

Laura S.

Currently unavailable: for regular students

Degree: History (Bachelors) - Oxford, Balliol College University

Subjects offered:History, Government and Politics+ 3 more

History
Government and Politics
English
.HAT.
-Personal Statements-

“About Me:Hi! I am a history student at Balliol College, Oxford. I have always loved talking about and analysing ideas and texts, soI love nearly all humanities, like English and Politics, but myabsolute passion is History...I promise...”

You may also like...

Other A Level History questions

How can I move my answer up from an A to an A*?

How to get top marks in a History essay?

How can I quickly get to grips with a historical source in an exam?

Why did the Holocaust happen and how was it carried out?

View A Level History tutors

We use cookies to improve your site experience. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss

mtw:mercury1:status:ok