How to write ahistory essay A basic guide for grades 9-12
General formatO Introduction: contains thesis (=your answer to the question), relatively shortO Body paragraphs: 3-7; each should start with a topic sentence followed by sufficient number of facts/evidence to support itO Conclusion: briefly restating thesis and the points made; no new information presented
What is a thesis?O Your answer to the questionO Your evaluation of the topic in questionExample: How important do you think technology is in ourlives? It is up to you how you answer: technology is very important, not so much, we can live without it, etc. Your opinion MUST be supported with specific facts, evidence. This is the crucial part of your essay: how the facts and evidence you use back up the claim you make!
What is a topic sentence? O A major point in defense of your thesis or a supplement to it O Each major point is presented in a new paragraph Let’s still use the technology example: Let’s say, your thesis states that technology is very important in our lives because it makes daily life easier, it makes important contributions to science, and it provides entertainment. Your topic sentence for the paragraphs will be the three statements highlighted in red above.
Structuring the paragraphs: O Start with a clear topic sentence that supports your thesis. O All evidence and facts, events, and other details you use MUST support the topic sentence and your original thesis statement. O Arrange the evidence in some logical order (with a historical essay, the order often is chronological, but it does not have to be).
Planning the essay:O Create a brainstorming web where nothing is off limits! Start thinking and see where it takes you!O Then organize your thoughts; add more, discard some, add details, etc.O Create an outline following the essay format: introduction, required number of paragraphs, conclusion
Tips to follow:O Focus on what the question is asking: underline important words to make sure you understand the questionO Be structured; have an outline or a mind map.O Have a clear thesis that answers the question. It can be just ONE sentence if it is a well-written one.O Keep checking that all evidence and examples you use SUPPORT your argument!O Keep the question in mind AT ALL TIMES and ask yourself: “Am I answering the question? Supporting my thesis?”
Things to avoid:O Just reciting historical events and not making a pointO First person statementsO General statements