Guide to writing a 'to what extent...' essay Watch

RAYPLETTS
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I am interested in hearing a few methods. Bear in mind this relates to an essay of 1 hour length, without text books.
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ems33
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take the factor in question, examine it, and to what result/success it had in the resulting event, eg To what extent was Lenin's leadership crucial/most important in leading to the October Revolution in 1917

then, assess other factors that could have also led to the event (oct rev in this case) and weigh them up against your given factor.

Then assess if the given factor is the most important, or another factor or a combination. They're not going to ask a question where there's nothing to argue with.

what level is this for? hope it helps!
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RAYPLETTS
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I am looking to write Oxbridge standard essays
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ems33
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then im probably no help lol!
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littlemissalex
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'to what extent'

For a q which asks, for example: 'to what extent can chartism be considered a failure', id look at initially at support and for my first sentence would write: chartism can be considered to be partly a failure when one looks at support. Then i would write, whilst the fact that blablabla happened which would give the impression that this didnt bring about failure, in reality it was. And then blabla about why it was a failure. You have to clearly illustrate limitations to whatever you write in your first sentence, so as to give an argument and not focus on just one side cause then its imbalanced.
so its:
first sentence directly answering the question on a theme: partly, fully..
whilst
but in reality..
therefore (insert sentence which overall sums up what you think)

edit: im not particularly oxbridge material and am extremely tired so i dont know if i wrote ****, but i tried :p: i might post a bit later on if i come up with something else
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RAYPLETTS
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thx, helpful
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Kittycat
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What about 'to what extent did relations between England and France change from 1558-1588?'
How would u go about writing that? (i need to)
xxxx
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krotkaya
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An alternative phrasing would be "how far", i.e. you have to argue for and against- how far/to what extent was this more important than that. In my experience, examiners look for your ability to take both sides. Then you make an informed judgement.
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JohnStuartMill
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(Original post by RAYPLETTS)
I am looking to write Oxbridge standard essays
When you say Oxbridge standard do you mean essays of the quality expected of current undergraduates at Oxbridge or students applying to Oxbridge? If the former then doing so is highly unlikely given you are only an AS-level student, if the latter then it is feasible.

For the latter the advice given by ems and alexandra is good; key sentence summarising the paragraph at the beginning with a concluding one at the end summarising what has been said. You do some paragraphs examining it having a major extent, others a lesser extent (either by pointing out the factor's limitations or the major influence of other factors). Then conclude by weighing up the relative factors. If you think the factor listed was the most important but other factors were necessary as well then you say that, if you think it wasn't, then say that.

Your conclusion should logically follow from the essay (i.e. it should have a sense of direction) so if you give one small and minor reason why it had a significant impact and lots on why it didn't then you'd be contradicting yourself a bit if you concluded it was significant.

Now if you want to be writing essays of the standard of Oxbridge students in their weekly essay for tutorials then you better go and find a library and sit there with a stack of books in front of you and find quotes and arguments from historians and spend a good part of a week planning and writing your essay!
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littlemissalex
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(Original post by JohnStuartMill)
When you say Oxbridge standard do you mean essays of the quality expected of current undergraduates at Oxbridge or students applying to Oxbridge? If the former then doing so is highly unlikely given you are only an AS-level student, if the latter then it is feasible.

For the latter the advice given by ems and alexandra is good; key sentence summarising the paragraph at the beginning with a concluding one at the end summarising what has been said. You do some paragraphs examining it having a major extent, others a lesser extent (either by pointing out the factor's limitations or the major influence of other factors). Then conclude by weighing up the relative factors. If you think the factor listed was the most important but other factors were necessary as well then you say that, if you think it wasn't, then say that.

Your conclusion should logically follow from the essay (i.e. it should have a sense of direction) so if you give one small and minor reason why it had a significant impact and lots on why it didn't then you'd be contradicting yourself a bit if you concluded it was significant.

Now if you want to be writing essays of the standard of Oxbridge students in their weekly essay for tutorials then you better go and find a library and sit there with a stack of books in front of you and find quotes and arguments from historians and spend a good part of a week planning and writing your essay!
thankyou and well said :yy:
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Nayzar
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What about an essay which starts "to what extent should"? eg. To what extent should Jehova's Witness allow medical intervention?
This is different to the examples mentioned previously. Instead of analysing a past factor/ cause of something, I need to assess the current medical and religious stands on the topic and make a decision based on that.
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ElizabethHere
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(Original post by RAYPLETTS)
I am interested in hearing a few methods. Bear in mind this relates to an essay of 1 hour length, without text books.
What does an hour long essay mean? You have to read it for an hour before it ends? Doesn't make sense... But if you need any essay help you can look here - http://goo.gl/Vz7unT
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Nayzar
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(Original post by ElizabethHere)
What does an hour long essay mean? You have to read it for an hour before it ends? Doesn't make sense... But if you need any essay help you can look here - http://goo.gl/Vz7unT
lol the OP started the thread in 2006 so I think he's probably done the essay and finished his degree by now
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Elisha Rebekah
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(Original post by RAYPLETTS)
I am interested in hearing a few methods. Bear in mind this relates to an essay of 1 hour length, without text books.
1) Start with a brief introduction. If this is an A2 History examination answer you are referring to, you won't have time in the 45 mins allocated to write something fantastic. However, you must set the task. Eg:

Q: To what extent did Charles I consolidate royal authority in Spain in the years 1516 to 1529?

You must do two things here: 1) set the parameters of the study and 2) show that you are aware why the examiners have chosen the specific dates.

Setting the parameters of the study is all about showing that you are aware that a 'To what extent' question necessitates a thesis and a counter thesis in order to answer it thoroughly. The best way to do this is through historiography, eg:

Whilst Whig and Traditionalist historians contend that Charles failed to consolidate royal authority in Spain- ultimately leading to his abdication, an 'admission of failure', in 1556- Revisionist historians such as Henry Kamen offer a more realistic view, claiming that Charles succeeded in consolidating his royal authority, after somewhat of a 'rocky' start.

Note: here I have also alluded to which point of view I will take throughout my essay, by agreeing with Revisionist historian Kamen: 'a more realistic view'.

Next, is communicating to the examiner that you are aware why the exam board have chosen these dates. These dates are significant, they have chose them for a reason, and for top marks you must show that you are aware of this:

An indicator that Charles I failed to consolidate royal authority in Spain from Ferdinand's death in 1516 to his first elongated period of absenteeism in 1529 is the revolts that ensued from 1519 onwards...
Note: I have chosen to lead into my thesis with the use of dates, however it can also be done in the first sentence of your introduction.

2) A good, strong thesis- around one long paragraph in length.
Your thesis is all about agreeing with the question/statement given to you in an exam and should only make up one paragraph of the overall essay; it is the contesting of a claim that receives most marks in an exam.

A workable structure for the thesis: 1) make a point, 2) back it up using an historian/school of thought, 3) engage with their argument (agree/disagree) using your own knowledge, 4) link back to question.

So, to the essay above, my point would be that the revolts do not point to the fact that Charles was a failure, because he didn't solely cause them. Then I support it using a quote from an historian. Then engage with his point by using an evaluative comment, 'He has a point', and justifying it by my own explanation, ie- because there are others factors eg... Link back to question-

3) A bridge- where you flaw your thesis and make way for counter-thesis. A small paragraph where you talk about how rubbish the thesis is! Eg:

However, it is important to note that an argument can be made to suggest that the revolts were not solely caused by Charles' succession, thus they were not indicative of his own personal failings. In addition, the consequences of the revolts can be said to have helped Charles consolidate his authority once and for all.


4) Counter-thesis- disagree entirely with the question. Two paragraphs where you contest the question. Can follow same structure as thesis- point, historian, engage (explanation), link. Clearly, you might want to use the opposing school of thought. Eg:

The idea that Charles failed to consolidate his authority due to his early failings as a king, which saw rebellion break out, must be amended if it can be proven that Charles was not the sole cause of the revolts.

Conclusion- your own opinion. The conclusion is very important. You need to draw your own opinion, which should not be contradicting the bulk of your essay.


I hope this helps! If you want me to send you the full essay you are very welcome to dm me your email address and I will send it through. Good luck!
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Huddybhoy
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To what extent was William Wallace at the battle of Stirling bridge
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ChlohistoryB151
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Okay my trick is to write how far the issue had impacted or whatever and then write the alternatives so if it was asking you about to what extent did the body bag effect have on the withdrawal in Vietnam? I would right about the effects of the body bag effect and then I would discuss what other things impacted withdrawal of Vietnam so you would talk about Nixon and other impacts! Hope that helps! I personally find them the best essays to write!
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ccf
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true dat
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poppy934
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Hi all. What if the question is "to what extent do you think managers can actuallly increase emplyees' motivation?"
Thanks
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smurfs.iw
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To do this, simply recap:
• The points that suggest the question's claims are true
• The points against
• Then conclude whether you agree the statement is true ‘to a certain extent’, ‘to a great extent’ or ‘to a very small extent’. This must be backed up by a summary of the argument on both sides to prove why you feel it to be weighted one way or the other.
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