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This is an obvious tip – but one sadly neglected by some students.
For example, the following contention might form the basis of an essay question on the rise of the Nazis: Q.
Why did the Nazi Party win 37 per cent of the vote in July 1932? The Nazi Party’s electoral success of 1932 was a result of economic suffering caused by the Great Depression, public dissatisfaction with the Weimar Republic’s democratic political system and mainstream parties, and Nazi propaganda that promised a return to traditional social, political and economic values.
All good history essays have a clear and strong contention.
A contention is the main idea or argument of your essay.
To write an effective essay, students must examine the question, understand its focus and requirements, acquire information and evidence through research, then construct a clear and well-organised response.
Writing a good history essay should be rigorous and challenging, even for stronger students.
Underline, highlight or annotate keywords or terms in the text of the question. Do any additional questions or issues flow from the question?
What topics or events do you need to learn more about? If you encounter a mental ‘brick wall’ or are uncertain about how to approach the question, don’t hesitate to discuss it with someone else.
As with other skills, essay writing develops and improves over time.
Each essay you complete helps you become more competent and confident.