We get lots of requests to write articles on the site as well as requests for writing tips from would-be writers and students. So, following yesterday’s piece on biographical essays, today we’re sharing an article on history essays… What does it take to compose a great essay in History? Today we’ll look into three key prerequisites of a paper worth the top grade.

Writing in History...  A Lady Writing  by Johannes Vermeer, 1660s.

Writing in History... A Lady Writing by Johannes Vermeer, 1660s.

How to Prepare a Stellar History Essay – 3 Key Steps

Have you ever been in a courtroom, or seen on television, a situation where a witness pledges an oath to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? The same rule works in the case of History essays. When writing about the question or topic of your paper, seek to operate with relevant evidence, proven facts and solid data. Do this and the foundation of a great essay will be in place.

What is more, there are 3 key elements to a strong historical essay on top of doing this research and using it well.


Number 1 - Plan your essay through first

Many students and essay writers make one and the same mistake – they rush into drafting content right after background data has been read. But what a smart student does is prepare an outline for their ‘manuscript’ that seeks to closely answer the topic or question of the essay.

·       “Explain Why” – Having to dwell upon a certain historical event, you’ll have to organize data in a way to explain why this or that happened. Analytical skill is important with this type of essay

·       “Discuss a Quote” – Giving a student a quote by a renowned historical figure and asking them to elaborate on its meaning and content is a quite common History assignment. What’s key here is keeping your answer focused and supporting it with as many meaningful arguments and sources as word limits allow you to

·       “Access and Evaluate” – This is perhaps the most difficult type of History essay. It asks you to carry out a deep analysis of a certain event or a historical figure’s activity. Giving your personal evaluation might sound easy, but that’s only when your judgment is based on thorough study of the historical period/person and is backed up by strong sources

·       “Compare and Contrast” – For most students, comparing and contrasting two historical figures or two historical events sounds interesting and even entertaining, but often you will need to research both people/events thoroughly (which can lead to double the research!) and think even more carefully about how you will plan your essay


Number 2 - Mind your judgment

Logic and analysis are key to making your essay a success. Logical and analytical skills are important to History writing, which makes it quite a challenge for some students who are aiming for a really high grade. Indeed, History is a subject that often requires a higher than average ability to analyze complex information and establish cause-and-effect relationships.

So, what’s the problem here? Many people make haphazard conclusions based on their analysis. If you have written your essay in a hurry, or, for example, do not properly understand the events in question and what led to them, you may not be able to join all of the information together leading to errors in your analysis.

In a History essay, it is imperative to think through the subject and not write down the first conclusion that comes to your mind. Some people recommend that you ‘sleep on it’ - meaning let your mind process the sources you have read and allow yourself enough time to form judgments.

But when deadlines are pressing, some students seek History essay help, because they can’t quiet see how a topic links together and answer the essay question well enough. But if you are aiming for a high grade, causes and effects of historical events must be understood and studied thoroughly.


Number 3 - Be critical towards yourself

A truly excellent History essay usually has engaging content, is well-thought through, and easy to read, with credible information that is well sourced. So, what else can you do to produce such an essay? Proofreading is the answer. Many students prepare the first draft, read it a couple of times and then hand it in. Such an approach might work for an average essay, but for somebody who wants to make a real impact with their essay, such an approach is flawed.

You should expect to heavily revise and edit your first and (depending on the context) second draft. Except if you are an amazing talent, there is likely to be significant room for improvement after the first draft, but after a number of revisions, and ideally review from others, the final draft will be worthy of being shown to your professor or evaluator. Don’t worry about to criticizing and fundamentally changing your early drafts as they are there to be improved.

On a final note, don’t be offended when somebody who reviews your essay or your professor provides feedback and points out weak spots in your text, suggesting where the essay could be improved. Consider it another opportunity to improve and turn in an even better paper, rather than their attempt to annoy you. Don’t take someone else’s criticism personally; turn it into an opportunity to improve.


This article was produced in conjunction with Do My Essays.


Now, tell us below: What have your history essay writing experiences been like?

AuthorGeorge Levrier-Jones
CategoriesBlog Post