How to answer "to what extent" questions - AS History

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Pixie_95
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I've recently swapped courses and am now doing History (Modern European). My teacher gave me past pieces of h/w to complete so that i will be able to catch up.
I need to write an essay on "to what extent can the rule of Alexander III be described as reactionary?"

I really want to get a good grade for this piece, so if anybody knows a useful structure to follow whilst answering "to what extent" questions then i will be very grateful
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Yumnaarrhhh
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Ooh im doing Russia at the moment too

The type of question you are doing is causation

Introduction
Start of by answering the question
Provide a bit of context, BUT dont write a conclusion in the introduction..

Make sure you..
Open up the question
-Why has it been asked?
-What is the historical issue?
Define the terms

Analytical Paragraphs Use PEAL
-Point must be in someway tied to answering the question
-Evidence what event/factor reason are you going to use to support your answer?
-Analysis What is the significance of your evidence?
What are the potential weaknesses in this part of your argument?
Provide brief conclusion based upon this analysis
-Link where does this explanation tie in with other factors which could increase its significance?

Sentence starters: "___ was partially responsible for"
"___ was responsible to a certain extent"
"One could argue that..."
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crocker710
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(Original post by Pixie_95)
I've recently swapped courses and am now doing History (Modern European). My teacher gave me past pieces of h/w to complete so that i will be able to catch up.
I need to write an essay on "to what extent can the rule of Alexander III be described as reactionary?"

I really want to get a good grade for this piece, so if anybody knows a useful structure to follow whilst answering "to what extent" questions then i will be very grateful
To what extent is fairly straight forward. Firstly show how Alexander III was ruling as a reaction to his father (Alexander II)'s assassination. Show how he became repressive, you could possibly show how he went too repressive by giving examples of Nicholas II reversing some if his policies. Follow this with one or two other examples showing him being repressive.
Then go onto show how he did not rule as a reaction to his fathers death / the state of Russia. You could highlight the economy with the Count Witte expansion which was reformative and almost free of regulation (compared to communist economy), again repeat with 1 or 2 examples

(balance the amount of examples you use with your conclusion, i.e. if you're arguing he was repressive use more examples on that side of the argument)

Sum up in a preliminary paragraph both arguments again, and either at the end or in the conclusion compare and contrast both along the lines of ... 'Whilst it can be easy to claim that Alexander III was a reactionary ruler, such as increasing the power of the CheKa other areas of his policy, mainly economically, were necessary and modern'.

( have a look at my sig for the link to my thread it's got loads of examples you can use )

Hoped this helped

Tom
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Pixie_95
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(Original post by crocker710)
To what extent is fairly straight forward. Firstly show how Alexander III was ruling as a reaction to his father (Alexander II)'s assassination. Show how he became repressive, you could possibly show how he went too repressive by giving examples of Nicholas II reversing some if his policies. Follow this with one or two other examples showing him being repressive.
Then go onto show how he did not rule as a reaction to his fathers death / the state of Russia. You could highlight the economy with the Count Witte expansion which was reformative and almost free of regulation (compared to communist economy), again repeat with 1 or 2 examples

(balance the amount of examples you use with your conclusion, i.e. if you're arguing he was repressive use more examples on that side of the argument)

Sum up in a preliminary paragraph both arguments again, and either at the end or in the conclusion compare and contrast both along the lines of ... 'Whilst it can be easy to claim that Alexander III was a reactionary ruler, such as increasing the power of the CheKa other areas of his policy, mainly economically, were necessary and modern'.

( have a look at my sig for the link to my thread it's got loads of examples you can use )

Hoped this helped

Tom
Thank you! Your post was very helpful, and i looked at your History thread which is going to come in very useful. You are a lifesaver!
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crocker710
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(Original post by Pixie_95)
Thank you! Your post was very helpful, and i looked at your History thread which is going to come in very useful. You are a lifesaver!
np if you need anymore help PM me or quote me, good luck
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Pixie_95
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(Original post by Yumnaarrhhh)
Ooh im doing Russia at the moment too

The type of question you are doing is causation

Introduction
Start of by answering the question
Provide a bit of context, BUT dont write a conclusion in the introduction..

Make sure you..
Open up the question
-Why has it been asked?
-What is the historical issue?
Define the terms

Analytical Paragraphs Use PEAL
-Point must be in someway tied to answering the question
-Evidence what event/factor reason are you going to use to support your answer?
-Analysis What is the significance of your evidence?
What are the potential weaknesses in this part of your argument?
Provide brief conclusion based upon this analysis
-Link where does this explanation tie in with other factors which could increase its significance?

Sentence starters: "___ was partially responsible for"
"___ was responsible to a certain extent"
"One could argue that..."
Thanks for taking your time to post the structure will be useful!
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IB_19
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I haven't studied that course so I won't be able to help you in that way. However, I do know how to answer those questions and I achieved quite a good grade in AS History.

Introduction: set the scence/ tell the reader what you will write about/ create an argument.

Your paragraphs (the body of the essay) should have a specific theme, and try to begin with a topic sentence relating to it. Be analytical and careful to not slip into narrative.

"To what extent" questions usually require a balanced essay. Therefore part of your essay needs to argue in favour of the argument/statement/question, and the rest (apart from the intro and conclusion) should argue against the argument/statement/question.

Your conclusion should in a way summarise what you've argued, and then reach a final decision (whether you agree/ disagree). But, never ever personalise! (I.e. never say "I" or "in my opinion" and so on).

Writing a first essay is rather difficult and at the beginning of the year I wasn't on very good grades, but through determination to improve throughout the year, I did.
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mirandaandhector
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General key to history essays - regardless of precise question type, is structure, I posted this on a similar thread a couple of weeks back, but hope it helps you too:
I have just completed the AQA A level History course, acheiving an A*, but hopefully these pointers will help regardless of the exam board.

- Before starting, take a minute to read the question carefully and decide what it is getting at - sounds obvious, but precisely targeting your answers is key to getting the top marks!

- Make a brief plan - on paper or in your head, highlighting the key areas which relate to the question - this helps with the organisation of your essay

- Categorise the factors/events/elements of your answer eg. politically, socially, milatarily, internationally, technologically... - This will also help to provide a structure which is more advanced and showing clarity of thought compared to a chronological list

- Ensure essays involving judgement remain balanced, looking at both sided of the argument, resulting in a logical conclusion. YOU SHOULD KNOW ROUGHLY WHAT YOUR JUDGEMENT/ CONCLUSION IS BEFORE YOU START THE ESSAY - This will help your answer to flow and give clarity. It is therefore sometimes possible to state a contention (highlighting the direction of your argument) in your introduction.

- Keep evidence e.g. dates, names, facts concise and strongly related to the argument - don't wander away from your path in order to include every fact you know, as it will just tend to make your answer seem muddled, as well as wasting time in the exam situation.

A good idea of where you are headed is key - I know it helped some people in my year to write one essay using a plan structured by someone who had 'got' the structure, so if you are still struggling it might be worth asking your teacher to check an outline plan before you write an essay or something similar
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jamestg
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(Original post by alishasim)
Hi, my essay question is "to what extent did foreign intervention lead to a British defeat in the American war of independence?", does this mean i wirte about how they contributed to the defeat and then discuss other factors that may have led to the defeat aswell?
point 1) foreign intervention
point 2) factor 2
point 3) factor 3

simple!
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jamestg
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(Original post by alishasim)
Hi, my essay question is "to what extent did foreign intervention lead to a British defeat in the American war of independence?", does this mean i wirte about how they contributed to the defeat and then discuss other factors that may have led to the defeat aswell?
Piece of advice - make your overall points as broad as possible. Three points may not sound like a lot, but you can include a lot in them if they're broad.

For example if you were wanting to make a point on instability in Germany in the 1920s - you don't have 'the wall street crash' as a point, you have economic instability as your point.
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alishasim
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Thankyou! So just to check i would still be answering the question if i wrote about British military inadequacies as a factor?
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jamestg
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(Original post by alishasim)
Thankyou! So just to check i would still be answering the question if i wrote about British military inadequacies as a factor?
I've got no idea lol, I study nationalism in 20th cent. Europe

Quick google wouldn't hurt
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alishasim
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hahah thanks! also, even though the question is asking about foreign intervention the other factors dont have to be related to this right?
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jamestg
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(Original post by alishasim)
hahah thanks! also, even though the question is asking about foreign intervention the other factors dont have to be related to this right?
Nope the others have to be different!
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alishasim
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Thank you for your help!
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