Can't get the hang of A- Level history questions Watch

Wirefox
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Hey guys,

I'm really struggling with my A-Level history essays questions, so I was wondering if anyone had any advice or a good structural plan which I could borrow. I'm very good with including factual information including dates and specific people however this is obviously only half what is needed to make a good essay.

I've asked my teachers and looked at feedback on my practise questions however most of it is generic advice which everyone is receiving (despite being at different abilities).

So if anyone has any good advice or structures for A- Level history it would be much appreciated.

Thanks
BTW I'm studying the Tudors and Germany between 1919-1945
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CoolCavy
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is your exam board AQA?
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Wirefox
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(Original post by CoolCavy)
is your exam board AQA?
Yep!!
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CoolCavy
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(Original post by Wirefox)
Yep!!
ah that's good (i did AQA history last year albeit different modules to you) will have a look in my folders and see if i can pull out anything that might be useful to you
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AxSirlotl
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Привет! I'm doing A level history (beware it's not fun, I hate AQA) and my teacher said I have a nice essay structure. There's the basics which you probably already know as PEE or PEEL which is:
Point
Evidence
Explanation
(Link)

For my points I use words like "It can be argued that", "The source suggests" etc. For my evidence I use "Firstly", "secondly" and "this is shown by...". For my explanation I use words like "Therefore", "As a result".

Let's say that the question is "The consolidation of Henry VII's reign in the years 1485-1487 was primarily due to him being really cool". Something you should do is define what is meant by the key word in the question (in this case it's "cool"). Because AQA are a rubbish exam board, they'll probably use boring words such as "efficient" or "security". You've got to define what "cool" or "efficient" or "security" means within the context of the question. So for my example (Henry being a cool king), I'd explain it as being a king who had qualities such as mercy, cunning, intelligence. Another example could be "a secure dynasty", you could define "security" as a high level of royal authority, the ability of a King to quell rebellions, the solvency of his treasury etc. Then you argue how your evidence proves that he was a cool king according to your definition of "cool". I hope this rambling makes sense, if it doesn't I'll try to explain better.

For you conclusion: Let's also say that you're arguing in favour of that statement, you've got to say why the main reason for his consolidation (in the years 1485-1487) was him being "really cool" and not any of the other factors such as the rebels lack of domestic and foreign support or Henry's allies. You could say something like "although the lack of support of rebels, and Henry's own allies were important factors in the consolidation of his dynasty, if Henry wasn't a cool King, then it is likely that the rebels would have had more support and thus proven a more dangerous threat, and it is unlikely that Henry would have had such loyal and skilled allies because they would not fight for a King who was not a cool King".

I hope this helps somewhat, I tried to make it make sense to the best of my ability.
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Wirefox
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(Original post by AxSirlotl)
Привет! I'm doing A level history (beware it's not fun, I hate AQA) and my teacher said I have a nice essay structure. There's the basics which you probably already know as PEE or PEEL which is:
Point
Evidence
Explanation
(Link)

For my points I use words like "It can be argued that", "The source suggests" etc. For my evidence I use "Firstly", "secondly" and "this is shown by...". For my explanation I use words like "Therefore", "As a result".

Let's say that the question is "The consolidation of Henry VII's reign in the years 1485-1487 was primarily due to him being really cool". Something you should do is define what is meant by the key word in the question (in this case it's "cool". Because AQA are a rubbish exam board, they'll probably use boring words such as "efficient" or "security". You've got to define what "cool" or "efficient" or "security" means within the context of the question. So for my example (Henry being a cool king), I'd explain it as being a king who had qualities such as mercy, cunning, intelligence. Another example could be "a secure dynasty", you could define "security" as a high level of royal authority, the ability of a King to quell rebellions, the solvency of his treasury etc. Then you argue how your evidence proves that he was a cool king according to your definition of "cool". I hope this rambling makes sense, if it doesn't I'll try to explain better.

For you conclusion: Let's also say that you're arguing in favour of that statement, you've got to say why the main reason for his consolidation (in the years 1485-1487) was him being "really cool" and not any of the other factors such as the rebels lack of domestic and foreign support or Henry's allies. You could say something like "although the lack of support of rebels, and Henry's own allies were important factors in the consolidation of his dynasty, if Henry wasn't a cool King, then it is likely that the rebels would have had more support and thus proven a more dangerous threat, and it is unlikely that Henry would have had such loyal and skilled allies because they would not fight for a King who was not a cool King".

I hope this helps somewhat, I tried to make it make sense to the best of my ability.

Thank you so much!!! This is really helpful and clear and much better than when my teachers tell us to use PEEL paragraphs
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CinnamonSmol
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hey im struggling with history too (apparently working at an E like what?!) im doing Nazi germany as well and I have the textbook but most people seem to have other books on the side too. I don't really know if I should use another resource or if the textbook we use is good enough by itself to make notes on already, what are you using? (im using Robert Whitfields, Ofxord Press Democracy and Nazism)
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Wirefox
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(Original post by CinnamonSmol)
hey im struggling with history too (apparently working at an E like what?!) im doing Nazi germany as well and I have the textbook but most people seem to have other books on the side too. I don't really know if I should use another resource or if the textbook we use is good enough by itself to make notes on already, what are you using? (im using Robert Whitfields, Ofxord Press Democracy and Nazism)
That’s the same book I’m using!!!
The thing is that I can’t find any other books available that would be helpful- I found something on amazon but it just turned out to be useless.
They need to produce something that can explain the essay writing structure and really go in depth of what’s needed to get good grades!
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CinnamonSmol
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(Original post by Wirefox)
That’s the same book I’m using!!!
The thing is that I can’t find any other books available that would be helpful- I found something on amazon but it just turned out to be useless.
They need to produce something that can explain the essay writing structure and really go in depth of what’s needed to get good grades!
exactly! my college recommends random books that are like £30 each but then they don't use them or someone gets it and they complain its useless but I don't know whether our textbook goes into much depth or if we even need to know loads of little details at all
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LifeIsSoHard
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(Original post by CinnamonSmol)
hey im struggling with history too (apparently working at an E like what?!) im doing Nazi germany as well and I have the textbook but most people seem to have other books on the side too. I don't really know if I should use another resource or if the textbook we use is good enough by itself to make notes on already, what are you using? (im using Robert Whitfields, Ofxord Press Democracy and Nazism)
I do Stuart Britain & Nazi Germany as well!! And i too am baffled on how to make notes & essay technique.

I'm okay for Germany, because it's something I love learning about. But Stuarts on the other hand is just not as interesting imo.

I use the Oxford press book for both topics, and everyone in my school does as well, but personally i don't find it that useful. The way the information is laid out is not engaging at all! It just seems like paragraphs upon paragraphs.

I saw this book for stuarts & was thinking of buying (although it still has paragraphs of information, i feel like it's got more of the key stuff in): https://www.amazon.co.uk/AQA-level-H.../dp/1471837726
What do you guys advise? Do you use any other books for the Stuarts/Tudors side of the course?

And essay writing is another pain in back for me! I literally struggle to structure essays & think of inferences or suggestions to develop my explanations. I also have this terrible habit of writing in 1st person (e.g. I would say 'I believe... or I think...' when it should be written more academically in 3rd person.
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tabbyglitter
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(Original post by Wirefox)
Hey guys,

I'm really struggling with my A-Level history essays questions, so I was wondering if anyone had any advice or a good structural plan which I could borrow. I'm very good with including factual information including dates and specific people however this is obviously only half what is needed to make a good essay.

I've asked my teachers and looked at feedback on my practise questions however most of it is generic advice which everyone is receiving (despite being at different abilities).

So if anyone has any good advice or structures for A- Level history it would be much appreciated.

Thanks
BTW I'm studying the Tudors and Germany between 1919-1945
Point
Context of situation with lots of knowledge

Analysis of what happened more facts and usually a historian view to back u up

Link back to the question

E.g Somersets foreign policy wasn't successful. (point)

He landed in Berwick with 3000 troops in 1548 and destroyed the Scots at the Battle of pinkie more knowledge blah blah

However this wasn't successful as his garrisons proved expensive and was draining the English economy causing inflation. It also increased the risk of a French attack through the auld alliance. Historian mcaffrey claims Somerset was 'inept', thus further proving his incompetence regarding his foreign policy.
(analysis and link)
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CinnamonSmol
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(Original post by LifeIsSoHard)
I do Stuart Britain & Nazi Germany as well!! And i too am baffled on how to make notes & essay technique.

I'm okay for Germany, because it's something I love learning about. But Stuarts on the other hand is just not as interesting imo.

I use the Oxford press book for both topics, and everyone in my school does as well, but personally i don't find it that useful. The way the information is laid out is not engaging at all! It just seems like paragraphs upon paragraphs.

I saw this book for stuarts & was thinking of buying (although it still has paragraphs of information, i feel like it's got more of the key stuff in): https://www.amazon.co.uk/AQA-level-H.../dp/1471837726
What do you guys advise? Do you use any other books for the Stuarts/Tudors side of the course?

And essay writing is another pain in back for me! I literally struggle to structure essays & think of inferences or suggestions to develop my explanations. I also have this terrible habit of writing in 1st person (e.g. I would say 'I believe... or I think...' when it should be written more academically in 3rd person.
Hi, thats the textbook we use at college too! it's okay, in fact probably better than most textbooks but it can be a little confusing at times (but thats because my teacher would teach us from all over the place -they got demoted so hopefully that wont be a problem anymore) My teacher did suggest using some book from Catherine Brice howver I haven't actually checked it out because the handouts from Brice seemed to be even more unneccesarily detailed and overcomplicated.

As for Nazi Germany, I'm so unsure what to do as I feel like that the textbook we use, whilst v good, doesn't include as many details as it could but I don't know what else I could use, AQA does have a list of books that they do recommend for further reading though so if you feel it isnt as detailed too then you can always check it out
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Sid The Kid
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(Original post by Wirefox)
Hey guys,

I'm really struggling with my A-Level history essays questions, so I was wondering if anyone had any advice or a good structural plan which I could borrow. I'm very good with including factual information including dates and specific people however this is obviously only half what is needed to make a good essay.

I've asked my teachers and looked at feedback on my practise questions however most of it is generic advice which everyone is receiving (despite being at different abilities).

So if anyone has any good advice or structures for A- Level history it would be much appreciated.

Thanks
BTW I'm studying the Tudors and Germany between 1919-1945
Hey I'm doing the same exam board and topics.
So for the standard question,

Introduction (like 3 sentences that state your side of the argument give an example)
1st/2nd Paragraph arguing the agree/disagree
3rd Paragraph - Counter arguing one of the points you made
4th/5th Paragraph - Arguing the other point
6th - Counter argument
7th Conclusion

I normally link back to the question throughout the paragraph but mostly at the end of the sentence.
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Sid The Kid
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(Original post by CinnamonSmol)
Hi, thats the textbook we use at college too! it's okay, in fact probably better than most textbooks but it can be a little confusing at times (but thats because my teacher would teach us from all over the place -they got demoted so hopefully that wont be a problem anymore) My teacher did suggest using some book from Catherine Brice howver I haven't actually checked it out because the handouts from Brice seemed to be even more unneccesarily detailed and overcomplicated.

As for Nazi Germany, I'm so unsure what to do as I feel like that the textbook we use, whilst v good, doesn't include as many details as it could but I don't know what else I could use, AQA does have a list of books that they do recommend for further reading though so if you feel it isnt as detailed too then you can always check it out
I find the Nazi Germany book much better than my other side of the course, it's a good basis for any questions AQA ask however if you want more depth into other statistics or events that occurred the internet is quite good at finding most information but also this book called ''Weimar and Nazi Germany (SHP Advanced History Core Texts) as it adds to them missing pieces that you may not find in the AQA book.
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CinnamonSmol
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(Original post by Sid The Kid)
I find the Nazi Germany book much better than my other side of the course, it's a good basis for any questions AQA ask however if you want more depth into other statistics or events that occurred the internet is quite good at finding most information but also this book called ''Weimar and Nazi Germany (SHP Advanced History Core Texts) as it adds to them missing pieces that you may not find in the AQA book.
thanks for the recomendation, I'll check it out
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Wirefox
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(Original post by Sid The Kid)
Hey I'm doing the same exam board and topics.
So for the standard question,

Introduction (like 3 sentences that state your side of the argument give an example)
1st/2nd Paragraph arguing the agree/disagree
3rd Paragraph - Counter arguing one of the points you made
4th/5th Paragraph - Arguing the other point
6th - Counter argument
7th Conclusion

I normally link back to the question throughout the paragraph but mostly at the end of the sentence.
(Original post by Sid The Kid)
I find the Nazi Germany book much better than my other side of the course, it's a good basis for any questions AQA ask however if you want more depth into other statistics or events that occurred the internet is quite good at finding most information but also this book called ''Weimar and Nazi Germany (SHP Advanced History Core Texts) as it adds to them missing pieces that you may not find in the AQA book.

Sid the kid that’s a really good structure that I’ll try out, though I do struggle with justifying my counter arguments

And I’ll be sure to check out this other book
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seph_muriel
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Anyone knows where I can find AQA history specification with answers please? I'm doing Tudors and American Civil war☺
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CupOfCaramel
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I'm doing AQA the Tudors and Nazi Germany too! What topic are you on now for each?
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Wirefox
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(Original post by CupOfCaramel)
I'm doing AQA the Tudors and Nazi Germany too! What topic are you on now for each?
We’ve just started Henry VIII in the Tudor stuff and with the Nazi stuff we are still looking at the impacts of Versailles and the political stability in Germany
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CupOfCaramel
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(Original post by Wirefox)
We’ve just started Henry VIII in the Tudor stuff and with the Nazi stuff we are still looking at the impacts of Versailles and the political stability in Germany
You're abit further ahead in the Tudors, I've just finished foreign policy Henry VIII, and I'm on the same for Germany
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