5 Tips To Write A Good History Essay

History is a beautiful subject that teaches students about the best and worst sides (and everything in between) of Mankind. The subject may not seem to yield tangible benefits but it plays an integral role in shaping the mindset and thinking of individuals. It is a subject that encourages students to think critically and infer, as well as engage in self-analysis.

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However, from an exam point-of-view, students find it challenging to score good grades even though they may like the subject. History essay writing requires students to be well-versed about all the content, they need to have the dates and the names of people at the tip of their fingers, and on top of all this, students need to infer and evaluate to produce a top-notch essay.

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This is challenging to a great extent and many students seek the help of history tuition teachers to improve their skills.

So, here are some tips for students to write better history essays.

NO.1: QUESTION ANALYSIS

Students must learn to analyse the essay questions before even attempting to brainstorm points. One common mistake that many students tend to make is not answering the question or going out of point. Although these essays usually have no right or wrong answer, there is still an expected structure. There are some points that tutors expect and look out for while marking essays.

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Once students understand the importance of analysing the question, they must learn how exactly they should analyse it.

  • Firstly, students need to read the essay question more than once to understand it better without missing any details.
  • Secondly, students should spot the topic words. These are words which indicate what the students should write about. Once locating these words, students have to search for words that narrow down the topic. These words will give the general direction in which students should take with the essay.
  • Lastly, students need to identify words that tell them what exactly to do. For example, an essay that says discuss will be written in a different manner as compared to an essay that asks the student to critically analyse.

NO.2: PLANNING

Once understanding the question, students need to plan out what they are going to write about. This should be done even in an examination setting no matter how tight the time limit given may seem to be. This plan should start with students writing down briefly about their initial responses and thoughts about the question.

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It can include their initial opinion and stand on the topic. Next, students should identify the people, topics and historical events associated with their essay topic. Even if these are used in their essay, they will still be useful in helping students understand the topic better. From the initial question given, students can also choose to branch out further specific questions. By doing that, they can come up with a more detailed plan.

This may be where many students may face their first problem. Students may hit a brick wall and may not be able to think of anything to write. This is difficult to overcome in an examination setting. In other settings, students should consult classmates or their teacher to get a general idea.

NO.3: CONTENT

Once the general dots have been laid out, students need to connect them and structure their essay. This begins with them doing extensive research to understand all the details of the historical event they are covering. In an examination setting, this research should have been done prior to the essay. This step will consist of simply recalling the research they have already done.

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Some students may think that research refers to simply searching the question online and trying to look for model essays. However, this method generally fails and may be more detrimental than helpful. A more effective method would simply be to read up on the details of the topic or issue. It is important to try and find unbiased sources or at least multiple sources of different biases.

This will ensure that the students have an initial unbiased view before evaluating their evidence. Students should be more creative in their research such as reading through books or research papers instead of Wikipedia.

NO.4: ESSAY STRUCTURE

Once students have planned out their points and their stand on the question, it is finally time to plan out the essay structure. Almost every history essay has an introduction, body paragraphs and a conclusion. The introduction informs the marker what their essay is about. It is important for the introduction not to contain any points or evidence.

This should be in the body paragraph as it complicates the structure of the essay. It may also make certain points repetitive. Body paragraphs must be arranged in a logical manner so that readers are not lost.

Paragraphs can be arranged chronologically and bring their readers on a journey across the timeline. They can be arranged thematically to emphasise the points that they are trying to make. Finally, the conclusion should be a simple summary with no added points or arguments.

NO.5: REFERENCE

Students must ensure that their essays are properly referenced. When quoting details to substantiate an argument, students need to cite an appropriate source. The source needs to be reliable and relevant. Many students make the mistake of not analysing their sources properly and may end up using it to incorrectly justify an unrelated point. This will greatly impact the credibility of the essay.

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Similarly, students may also make the mistake of not citing sources when they are supposed to. Plagiarism is punishable by law and it is important to avoid it. Saying that it was an accident is not an acceptable excuse. Referencing not only acknowledges the efforts of others but also justifies their own points.

After writing the essay, it is necessary for students to proofread their own essays and attempt to look for logical and structural flaws. Skipping this last step can result in all of their previous efforts going to waste.

BOTTOM LINE

Mastering the art of essay writing cannot be done overnight. This requires lots of patience and practice. With proper guidance from a tutor, students can excel beyond their expectations for sure!