I really liked GCSE History and because I got an A* in it, I took it for AS Level. However, I haven't really been adjusting well to the essay writing. I don't entirely understand how to structure the essay in terms of what actually goes into each paragraph. I understand that you need to develop analytical responses whilst having explicit understanding with relevant evidence but it's really difficult to put this all into a paragraph. Also, I get really distracted and it normally takes me ages to write a history essay whereas everyone else completes it within 1 hour.
Ah, I'm doing Edexcel AS History and the units are: Scramble for Africa and Britain and the American Colonies 1740-1769. Can anyone help me with the content in this as well?
I know it's a lot to ask but thank you!
I am also with Edexcel for A2 - however I'm doing Medieval History. I may be able to help on a few things.
Firstly, the most important difference between GCSE and A Level History is that you are negatively marked for any irrelevant information - therefore try to make sure that your essay is tightly argued and is focused.
Moreover, at the beginning of AS , I fell into the trap of trying to include everything related to the topic and many examples, this was a major pitfall- try and avoid this. Rather, you are better of including a few relevant examples and focusing on your analysis.
A good structure to use is Point, Evidence, Explain and LINK. Linking your arguments will get you the higher grades.
Finally make sure you always refer back to the question so you keep your essay cogent.
With regards to timing issues, at this point of the year don't worry too much about spending more time. I too was like this. But, I promise with practice, it will become second nature! Perhaps you can slowly start setting yourself time limits when completing essays at home, and eventually build up to the time required for your exams.
I hope this all helps ! And like I said, at this time of the year don't worry too much (assuming you don't have any January exams!!)
Building up both sides of an argument then demolishing them through further points is pretty key to scoring top marks, my Hist teacher said.
Introduction to 20 mark essay writing
Essay writing in Higher History is very important. Overall, 70% of your grade will be ascertained from the essays you write, 30% from your extended essay and 40% from your 2 essays in Paper 1 of the final examination.
As you have advanced through the school in Standard Grade and Intermediate 2 you will have learned how to write short essays worth 8 marks. You will remember how daunting these essays seemed to be when you first started writing them. You will also remember how writing these essays became easier with practice.
Essay writing is a skill, something that has to be learned. You had to learn how to introduce your essay, develop the points and then conclude your argument when writing 8 mark answers.
Essay writing at higher takes you a stage further in your development as rational, discursive and deliberating beings and again you will have to learn how to write Higher Essays skilfully.
However, some words of warning! Your development of these “higher” skills will not come naturally, neither will they come from listening attentively to your teacher or copying your friends essays (it does happen and these people are invariably caught). Your development of these essay writing skills will be down to hard work, reading and practice. Simple.