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So I started doing History for A levels in September, and since then I have been getting 9,12 or 15 out of 30 in my essays (GERMANY& ITALY). My teacher says its because I do not know how to form an argument, yet she will not help me with this. I am struggling and I just don't know how to form an argument ):
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Report 5 years ago
I'm doing History A Level with Edexcel and am doing Henry VIII and USA but the skills for the question are the same. In my opinion the best way to form an argument is through this basic structure:

I know nothing about Italy or Germany but looking at this question I can establish an argument and counter argument
How far do you agree that the defeat of Austria in 1859 was the most significant event in the process of Italian unification in the years 1859–70?

First off: Decide if you agree or disagree with the underlined part of the question

Secondly: Decide how far you agree- completely/ to an extent/ not at all

Thirdly: Establish an argument and a counter-argument
For this question your argument could the defeat of Austria in 1859 and your counter-argument would be other factors that impacted the process of Italian unification

Then you start your essay

Introduction: In here outline your ARGUMENT and COUNTER-ARGUMENT- the introduction should be 3/4 sentences

Paragraph 1: Argument e.g. defeat of Austria
Start off your paragraph by signposting: The most significant event in the Italian unification was the defeat of Austria
Then: Add a little description of the event- but only 1 sentence, this description has to be relevant to support your argument
Thirdly: Explain/ Analyse the event: why was the defeat of Austria the most significant event? Why did it have the biggest impact?
Finally: Link it back to the question- almost like a little conclusion to your paragraph- outlining how this means that the defeat of Austria was the most significant- this should only be a sentence or two.

Repeat this for anymore paragraphs supporting your argument

Paragraph 2: Counter-argument e.g. other factors contributing towards the Italian unification
Again you start off by signposting: Although the defeat of Austria was the most significant event, the... was also significant in the Italian unification-
Then: Add some description of the event- again only one sentence, this description again will be relevant to your counter argument
Thirdly: Explain/ Analyse the event- significance and impact
Then: Link it back to the question like a little conclusion and explain how this means the defeat of Austria was the most significant- the argument must be carried through the essay.

Repeat this for any other paragraphs on counter-argument

This should be short, analytical, and say pretty much the same thing as your introduction- the most important thing in your essay is consistency.
Start off by saying something like: Whilst... was important and... was highly significant the most significant event in the Italian unification was the defeat of Austria because....
You then outline the reasons why it was most significant.

Top Tips- Always include the counter-argument and argument everywhere- introduction/ paragraphs/ judgement
- Stick to the time frame- you won't get any marks for this question if you talk about an event outside the time frame
- Never over-describe- you won't get passed level 3 if you over-describe
- Link every paragraph back to the question
- Focus your analysis on impact/ significance/ limitations- for counter-argument
- Take a stance before you start writing the essay- don't decide if you agree or not at the end
- Keep calm- it sounds weird but if you think you've done crap you probably haven't

Hope this helps. Good luck!

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