History Gcse Essay Questions#

 
  1. Hello everyone!

    In History, I'm generally fairly good at remembering the information and inserting it all into my answers. But for some reason, I rarely ever reach full marks in my answers.

    My teacher keeps mentioning how it's due to structure, so I was wondering if anyone knows the structure for the 4, 6, 10, 8, and 12 mark questions?

    I've looked at the example questions in the revision guide, but even following that I've lost a mark due to structure, so I was hoping a History genius on here could provide an A* structure aha.

    Thank you! x

  2. Hi saffarinda!

    I'm not sure if the structure we're taught is official in anyway but it seems to work for our class :-)

    We've been taught to write them in the following way:

    4 Marks
    2 paragraphs


    OR



    6 Marks
    3 paragraphs

    8 Marks
    4 paragraphs

    10 Marks
    A more detailed essay
    • Introduction - introducing each side (for and against the given statement)
    • 2/3 paragraphs for the statement
    • 2/3 paragraphs against the statement

    • Conclusion - summing up the points made and answering the question (e.g I agree with the statement or the USSR was more effective)


    12 Marks
    If it is a utility question (e.g how useful is the source B in...) it should be written in a very similar way to the 10 mark question.

    • Introduction - introducing each side (for and against the given statement/ for and against the source being useful)
    • 2/3 paragraphs for the statement
    • 2/3 paragraphs against the statement

    • Conclusion - summing up the points made and answering the question (e.g The source is fairly useful because...)


    An important thing to consider in all 12 mark questions is to evaluate the usefulness of sources even if it isn't directly the question. Essentially you should just question all of the facts you state and whether or not they give conclusive evidence.

    I'm doing OCR GCSE but I guess that its very similar style questions :P

    I hope this helps (I'm not too sure about the 12 markers) and if you need them I have a couple of example answers I could show you.

    Good Luck!!

  3. (Original post by toby314)
    Hi saffarinda!

    I'm not sure if the structure we're taught is official in anyway but it seems to work for our class :-)

    We've been taught to write them in the following way:

    4 Marks
    2 paragraphs


    OR



    6 Marks
    3 paragraphs

    8 Marks
    4 paragraphs

    10 Marks
    A more detailed essay
    • Introduction - introducing each side (for and against the given statement)
    • 2/3 paragraphs for the statement
    • 2/3 paragraphs against the statement
    • Conclusion - summing up the points made and answering the question (e.g I agree with the statement or the USSR was more effective)


    12 Marks
    If it is a utility question (e.g how useful is the source B in...) it should be written in a very similar way to the 10 mark question.

    • Introduction - introducing each side (for and against the given statement/ for and against the source being useful)
    • 2/3 paragraphs for the statement

Answering essay questions in exams can seem a daunting task, especially in a subject like History, but there really is no need to panic. History exams are all about preparation. There are three simple steps you can apply in an exam which will help you write a good, solid answer: Revision, planning and timekeeping.

Firstly, revision. This might be a dirty word to some of you, but it is especially essential in History. History exam questions all involve you having to argue a point, and you cannot win any argument if you don't have evidence to back up what you're saying. This is why knowing your subject is so important. Before your exam you must make sure you go through all the content that your teacher has been through with you in class: these will probably include key figures, causes and triggers of events,the events themselves, the consequences of events, and maybe also some historical debates that historians are already having about the topic. I find a great way to revise History is to write out a timeline of the period you're studying, and write in the events and causes etc in different colours so you can see how things developed in chronological order. It will help you make sense of which events might have had an effect on others that followed, as well as getting them all into your head. 

Secondly, planning. This is something you will have to wait for the actual exam to do, but you can practise planning on any mock essay questions your teacher might have given you. Planning is almost as important as revision, as a History essay question, as I have already said, will expect you to contruct an argument. As with any construction, you need a blueprint before you start so you have a good idea of what the end product will look like. In an exam, your plan is your blueprint, so don't skimp on it and rush into the question. To begin, consider what the question is actually asking you - is it a 'to what extent' question? A 'discuss' question? or is there a quote from an historian that you have to agree or disagree with? Consider this first, as you don't want to start your essay and then look back and realise that you're not answering the question! When you know what the examiner wants, your knowledge of your subject from all that excellent revision you will have done will give you an opinion on the question - write this opinion down, as this will become your introduction for your essay. Then bullet point two or three points (depending on how long they are and how much time you have) that prove your opinion, again using your subject knowledge. These will become the main body of your essay. Your conclusion will sum up these points very quickly, link back to the original question so you've shown you've answered it. Top tip - its a great idea to link the end of every point you make back to the question so the examiner can see you're definietly answering it.

Last but not least, timekeeping. This is really linked into planning, but is really important in its own right. You don't want to end up running out of time to answer your question, especially when you've got a really great answer! So, when you get into the exam, make sure you can see a clock, and spend no more than 2 minutes deciding on your question if you have a choice, and then spend a good amount of time planning - if you have an hour to answer, make your planning time no more than 10 minutes, if you have forty-five, shorten it to 5 minutes. As you plan write in how much time you'll spend on each section of your essay - so if you have an hour and three points, you'll have approximately fifteen minutes per point. The time you have remaining should be about five minutes in all, which is easily enough time to write an  introduction and conclusion. Remember an introduction does not have to be long at all - just one line explaining what you will argue is all you need. The conclusion may be slightly longer as you relate your points back to the question, but should not take you more than three minutes. The key with timekeeping is to stick to your times you've set down so that you finish your question on time - if you see that have five minutes left for a point, it will let you know that you need to finish it soon and move on.

That's all there is to it! It may still sound a but new and scary, but these three things will get you writing really well structured and reasoned answers in exams. One more thing you can do once you've learnt your topic, is practise the planning and timekeeping techniques by answering practise questions at home under timed conditions. You will find that practising will give you confidence in the techiniques, and so you'll go into the exam feeling relaxed and confident. 

Just show the examiner how much you know! Good luck.

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