Justastranger__
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Hi guys,
I’m currently doing A-level history and I am struggling with the essays. Does anyone have any tips? If I try really hard I just get average marks, but If anyone knows any techniques they use please let me know.
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yzanne
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hey! yes - i just finished my a levels and TRUST me it's a lot of essays. i was writing maybe on average 2-4 per week just for history. :woo:

i would suggest making each essay about your last peice of feedback and really focus on it, instead of just reading over it - that really helped me practise the skill.

also, put a LOT of knowledge in there - even if it's just small facts you can put in here and there, it will really help you and you'll seem confident in the subject :yep:

try not to waffle! keep it super concise and learn a bunch of stats that can relate to different topics intersectionally.
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wastedcuriosity
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hey i did history a-level

the advice above is great, the only thing i'd add is always plan your essay before you write it. you could do this as a mindmap, bullet points, whatever, but it helps you to keep on track and not go off on a tangent when writing the essay
oh also, if you can, maybe try to get some historians in to support your argument (one of my friends who always got A*s did this, I could never remember any quotes during timed essays though lol)
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Justastranger__
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(Original post by wastedcuriosity)
hey i did history a-level

the advice above is great, the only thing i'd add is always plan your essay before you write it. you could do this as a mindmap, bullet points, whatever, but it helps you to keep on track and not go off on a tangent when writing the essay
oh also, if you can, maybe try to get some historians in to support your argument (one of my friends who always got A*s did this, I could never remember any quotes during timed essays though lol)
Honestly at this point I appreciate every advice and thanks for the reply. I don’t know if I can go from D/C grade to B, I just keep doubting myself and the feedback from teachers never helped me in anyway.
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Justastranger__
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(Original post by yzanne)
hey! yes - i just finished my a levels and TRUST me it's a lot of essays. i was writing maybe on average 2-4 per week just for history. :woo:

i would suggest making each essay about your last peice of feedback and really focus on it, instead of just reading over it - that really helped me practise the skill.

also, put a LOT of knowledge in there - even if it's just small facts you can put in here and there, it will really help you and you'll seem confident in the subject :yep:

try not to waffle! keep it super concise and learn a bunch of stats that can relate to different topics intersectionally.
I REALLY appreciate your reply and I’ll try and make it concise. It’s just that most of the time feedback from teachers aren’t clear enough. Sometimes my essay’s seem too narrative. Also hope you do well on results day
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Sinnoh
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(Original post by Justastranger__)
Sometimes my essay’s seem too narrative.
I think this could well be it - it's easy to fall into the trap of just telling the story. Just have it in your mind always that you're not there to just say what happened. Try structuring it like an English literature answer - point, evidence, explanation, link back to the question. Never start a paragraph off by stating a fact, always start it with an argument. Something that could potentially not be accepted at face value, that you have to back up with evidence that proves your argument to be correct.
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yzanne
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(Original post by Justastranger__)
I REALLY appreciate your reply and I’ll try and make it concise. It’s just that most of the time feedback from teachers aren’t clear enough. Sometimes my essay’s seem too narrative. Also hope you do well on results day
It's a common problem, when they seem to story-like. Try to remember you're not giving a history of events - the examiner will know how the cold war unraveled etc.

What they might not know (they don't always mark topics they know about!) are the specific facts. analyse by saying how this was important - link back to the question every time you give a fact. :yep:

say if the question was 'why did the hungarian uprising develop the cold war' you might say 'nagy was executed which developed the cold war because he was a liberal, western-style leader, which clearly posed a threat to the hard-line communist approach that khrushchev ordered, which reinforced the Soviet's power over the East'. you see how that's analysis and not a story of events?

If the teacher feedback isn't clear, I'd suggest going to them and saying 'I want an A. How do I get it? I was confused on the last essay feedback'. It makes you look really proactive, and they will work to help you if you really want it.

Thank you by the way! :woo:
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username2244141
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Narrative is always an issue with History essays, and I even still struggled with it during my degree, but it's a problem that can be solved easily. Speak to your teachers about feedback, tell them you really want to do well and you need them to really point out where you're going wrong and actually how to do better. For issues with narrative, you need to just think about every piece of knowledge you put into the essay and what the consequences are. Why have you chosen to put that piece of information in? Is it relevant to the question - why? Does it support or contradict your/someone else's argument? What effect did it have?
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