Helpful Instructions on How to Write a History Essay

To start with, take a moment and ask yourself, what makes a good history essay. Probably, no two opinions will match, as we all love to interpret history and historical events in our own ways. A history composition, therefore, would reflect the intellectual state of the student, which is you. So it is wise to skip philosophical claptrap and present your facts in a lucid way. Keep in mind that a clearly written history composition is what your examiner specifically wants to see.

  • A history composition should be relevant
    Just like a witness to a case takes oath to speak the truth, history students should also take the oath to answer the question only. This is the rule of thumb for scoring well in history exams. You might be a gifted writer and you have read a lot about historical figures, notable wars and pacts, rulers and dynasties and so on. However, unless you are not writing relevant things, you may not score well in exams. There are weaker students who write a lot of things, but a large chunk of the information they furnish are unrelated to the topic or the question. This is a fatal error.
  • The first paragraph is vital
    Although your examiner will go through your composition minutely, the first paragraph has to be extraordinary. Keep in mind that the first impression of an examiner is often decisive. You should start your composition with a startling fact or a piece of information or some quote of some famous person or historian. You can demonstrate how well you understood the question in the first paragraph itself.
    Also, it is important for you to pay close attention to the ensuing paragraphs. For this, you can break the entire composition into small subsections. These subsections should answer the smaller questions. Later, when you will draw a conclusion, you can just touch the main points once again to wrap up.
  • Middle of the composition
    For many history students, the middle of the composition often turns into a ‘muddle’. This is because they take a great headstart but due to lack of knowledge of incoherence in hought process, they cannot add flesh to the bones properly. This way, it often becomes a top-heavy or bottom-heavy composition and the student ends up scoring low. If you have raised expectations of your examiner, it is you who has to add relevant information in the middle part of the composition. One failsafe strategy is to plan ahead about the subsections, preferably when you write the introductory paragraph.
  • Drawing the conclusion
    Lastly, you should close the argument in the penultimate and the final paragraph or section of your paper. If you have presented several contrasting views and opinions of prominent historians in your essay, you need to sum up in the concluding paragraph and write the verdict. A conclusion is a tricky part of the whole composition. Here, you need to sum up the key points as well as leave room for further debate and discussion.
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