Writing History Essays Gcse Exams

There are two principle elements that a 'To what extent...' essay question should include.

The first is detailed source evidence and extra material, to support your argument. Let's use an example essay question here to demonstrate. In a history exam, the essay might ask: “To what extent was the character of Charles II responsible for his problems with parliament?".

The student is being asked to do two things here: to show an in-depth knowledge of Charles II's character, and to analyse which specific aspects of his character may have affected his political relationships.

Incorporating detailed evidence will always demonstrate how much you know of the subject matter, and will help to support the angle and strength of your argument.

The second element is linking to wider issues, topics or arguments that support your point of view. For example, in this particular history essay, a student could refer to other historical events that were responsible for problems between Charles II and parliament, but which were not related to his character.

Drawing on other factors in this way helps to increase the significance of your argument, and will round out your essay fully.

These two elements of analysis – including detailed evidence and linking to wider ideas – can be used to answer any 'To what extent...' question. In other words, when answering this type of essay question, keep the general structure the same and change the the appropriate information in the right places.

Remember also to analyse your evidence as you weave your argument. Do this by answering questions like, 'how significant is your evidence in supporting your argument?' and, 'what are the potential weaknesses that this evidence carries?'.

 
  1. I've just started Year 12 and A levels are already seeming impossible to do. I got an A for history in my GCSEs so i decided I would pick it up again as an A level course. Trouble is, I'm finding it difficult in writing/structuring my essay.
    Any tips?
    Thank you (:

  2. Well it probably depends on the essay title. Of course there the basic consistent elements like introduction, followed by a main chunk arguing certain points and using evidence (be it specific and factual or a historical quote/opinion) to support them, then a "verdict" and conclusion. Not to mention different sides of the argument preferably shown, if it's something like "Do you agree with this" or "To what extent is this true"



    Last edited by math42; 21-09-2015 at 20:13.
  3. An essay structure should flow logically. There's no witchcraft to it, but neither is there a perfect structure which you have to use every time. In short, as long as it works, you're golden.

    I disagree that you should have a 'verdict' at the end. It would make the preceding parts of your essay directionless or superfluous. Instead, I suggest that your answer should unfold throughout the course of the essay.

    (Original post by MaiyaWilliams)
    I've just started Year 12 and A levels are already seeming impossible to do. I got an A for history in my GCSEs so i decided I would pick it up again as an A level course. Trouble is, I'm finding it difficult in writing/structuring my essay.
    Any tips?
    Thank you (:

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