MYTUTOR SUBJECT ANSWERS

542 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...

1 year ago

Answered by Laura, an A Level History tutor with MyTutor


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

78 SUBJECT SPECIALISTS

£20 /hr

Seb C.

Degree: History and Politics (Bachelors) - York University

Subjects offered:History, Maths+ 1 more

History
Maths
English Literature

“Hi Everyone! I'm Seb and I am in first year studying History and Politics, both of which I am passionate about equally!”

MyTutor guarantee

£24 /hr

Jessica T.

Degree: MA Viking and Anglo Saxon Studies (Masters) - Nottingham University

Subjects offered:History, Latin+ 4 more

History
Latin
English Language
Classical Civilisation
-Personal Statements-

“About Me Hi, my name is Jess. I am currently doing a Masters at Nottingham University in Viking and Anglo Saxon studies. This sounds like it would be a history course, but it’s actually with the English department as it is very langu...”

£26 /hr

Stephanie K.

Degree: MA History (Masters) - University College London University

Subjects offered:History, Sociology+ 1 more

History
Sociology
-Personal Statements-

“I'm a masters student, at UCL, available for help with course content, exam and essay writing and we'll as academic advice.”

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

What was the most important factor in causing the US civil war?

Tudors: Why was Richard III able to usurp the throne in 1483?

What's the best way to write a history essay?

My coursework essay question is really intimidating, what is the best way to approach a task like this?

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