How do I approach an essay question?

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The layout of your essay is crucial. Make sure your ideas are clear and explicit - your teacher shouldn't have to decode what you mean! Use correct grammar and make your vocabulary interesting, using words such as 'undoubtedly' and 'crucial'. Make sure to embed quotes and, most importantly, set your ideas out so that your line of argument is easy to follow - this should be driving your essay, especially in your introduction and conclusion.

It is also important to spread your essay out over a week or two to ensure you can complete multiple drafts. Get used to looking at your work critically and try to correct yourself - especially with grammar Also, make sure to read your teacher's comments carefully and act on their advice.

Read the question carefully. Make sure you use appropriate evidence that fits the criteria of the question - if the question gives you a timeframe, don't provide evidence outside those dates unless for contextual reasons! Additionally, unpick the question to address each aspect of it.

Your evidence should support your line of argument, not drive the essay - don't overload your essay with facts and turn your argument into narrative. Also, you can write an excellent essay, but if your evidence is not relevant then your words are pretty useless. Relevance is key!

Moreover, historical quotes can be used to back up evidence and your line of argument. This can be useful and add validity to your words but is not crucial. Make sure you understand what the historian is talking about!

Think about the breadth of your course when answering your question. Keeping context in the back of your mind will help to improve your understanding of the topic and allow you to make a more insightful response.

Distinguish your work from everybody else answering the question with the same evidence. Use unique ideas and link your ideas together - this will come with a greater understanding of the course ... revision is important!!

Overall, remember relevant evidence, line of argument and read the question!

Caitlin B. 13 plus  History tutor, GCSE History tutor, A Level Histor...

About the author

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

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