What is a good history essay?

Along with abstracts, term papers, exams and academic testing, students face no less difficult task – writing an essay. Students tend to consider this task an easy one until they are assigned it for the first time. A short paper becomes a daunting task for most students, first and foremost because it requires creative thinking, high-level literary skills and personal point of view.

Almost all disciplines at the college have essay assignments. However, some academic courses include essays as a compulsory task. One of them is History. So what is an essay and how to write it? How to create a smart history essay? This article will answer all these questions to the fullest.

All students without exception have difficulty writing an essay because they are used to completing papers according to a strict plan and structure when the brain habitually displays the established picture of writing. An essay, on the contrary, is a flight of thoughts, fantasies, and an expression of the author's personal point of view. And, of course, it is difficult for students to open up and write freely a composition on a certain topic.

The main feature of the essay is the narration on one topic. In fact, this is the answer to one question. Let's try to understand as much as possible about the procedure of performing an outstanding essay. We will give you a number of great advice on essay writing. However, there are three basic and simple rules to follow when writing essays:
  • Given the fact that an essay belongs to a category of free genres, there is no limit on the number of pages for it. But teachers can set the upper limit. Some of them will ask you to write a two-page paper while others will be satisfies if you will present a ten-page essay with a title page and the list of references. If your fantasy is not limited by the teacher’s instructions, you may write an essay of average length – four or six pages.
  • When assigning an essay, the teacher is unlikely willing to read about your ideas only, he wants you to learn how to express your views more coherently, to track cause-and-effect relationships and to analyze the information on the given topic.
  • So that it would be easier for you to start writing, we suggest you using a universal composition which, as elsewhere, consists of the introduction, the main part, and the conclusion. On average, a student needs 2-3 days to study the topic and 1 day to write the paper. However, it depends on the complexity of the task along with the skills and time a student possess at this very moment.

Basic tips on where to start

Every writer needs some preparation stage before starting to create his masterpiece. In addition, an essay is a genre that requires at least a bit of inspiration and meditation to develop the whole picture of the future work. A pre-writing stage is important for everyone. We recommend you prepare yourself for writing in the following way:
  • First, the topic itself should be interesting and familiar to you and, equally important. You are unlikely going to express your viewpoint on the subject which you are hardly aware of. So when choosing or adapting a topic, you should try and listen to your heart and intuition. If you are passionate about the issue you are going to analyze, this topic is for you.
  • Secondly, feel the depth of your thoughts and write only what you feel yourself avoiding hardened beliefs and, without looking at the works of other authors. Your essay should be performed in stretch of the imagination, so no limitations are acceptable here.
  • And, thirdly, you should decide in advance what key message you will present to the reader. If you want to come to grips with essay writing, you should know that there are different types and variations of this genre including predictions, stories, research, reflections and sketches.

What you need to know about a good essay

We can highlight some common features of the genre, which are usually listed in specialized books on writing art:
  • A small amount of words

Of course, there are no strict boundaries - from three to seven pages of computer text. For example, at Harvard business school, essays are often written in two pages. In eastern European universities they are up to ten pages of typewritten text.

  • A specific topic and emphasized subjective interpretation

The topic of the essay is always concrete. It cannot contain many themes or ideas and reflect only one option by developing it.

  • Free composition is an important feature of the genre

The researchers note that the essay by its nature is created so that it does not approve any formal schemes. It is often built against the laws of logic and is subject to arbitrary associations.

  • The ease of narration

It is important for the author of such a paper to establish a confidential style of communication with the reader. To be understood, he avoids intentionally complicated, unclear, excessively strict constructions. The researchers note that a good essay can only be written by someone who is fluent in the topic, sees it from different sides and is ready to present to the reader a multi-faceted view of the phenomenon, which became the starting point of his reflections.

  • Paradoxical nature

The essay is intended to surprise the reader. This is, according to many experts, its mandatory quality. The starting point for reflection is often an aphoristic, bright or paradoxical definition, colliding at first glance indisputable, but mutually exclusive statements, characteristics, and theses.

  • Internal semantic unity

Perhaps this is one of the paradoxes of the genre. Free in composition, focused on subjectivity, the product at the same time has an internal semantic unity, i.e. consistency of key theses and statements, internal harmony of arguments and associations; consistency of those judgments in which the personal position of the author is expressed.

  • Orientation to a spoken language

However, at the same time, it is important to avoid the use of slang, clichés, abbreviations, and too frivolous tone. The language used in writing should be taken seriously.

For every type of an essay, it is important to understand the topic, desired volume, and objectives of each paragraph. Start with the main idea or a bright phrase. The task is to capture the readers’ from the first glance in the introduction. To do this, use an allegorical phrase when an unpredictable fact or event is associated with the main theme.

History essays: expert advice

We are happy to share some essential things you need to know about history essay writing. The essay on this subject can describe a historic personality or event within a stipulated historic period.

Our experts propose to use the following algorithm for writing a history essay:
  • Specify at least two events (phenomena or processes) related to this period
  • Name two historical figures whose activity is connected with this period, and characterize their role in the events of this period
  • Specify at least two cause-effect relationships that existed between the events of this period
  • By using the knowledge of historical facts and/or the opinion of historians, give a historical assessment of the significance of this period for the history on the whole.

In your essay, you should use terms, concepts, dates related to this period. But it is necessary to pay attention that the actual errors like the incorrect spelling of the term, inappropriate use of the concept or incorrect date. These inaccuracies can lead to a lower score for the paper.

It is recommended to write cliché phrases that will help to start a new idea in the composition. For example:
  • This period of XXX history is characterized by.....
  • Key events of this period are...
  • A great role was played by (the name of the historical figure)
  • A bright historical personality of this period.....
  • Historians have different opinions...
  • This period played a key role in the further development of XXX history...
To start your essay in the right way you should follow these steps:
  • The first thing to do is to determine the historical period. Then you need to sketch out the draft of what is known about these times. This will make it easier to organize the material. keep in mind that from the whole variety of events (phenomena, processes) it is necessary to choose those that can characterize in the best way.
  • In order to observe the logical sequence, it is necessary to characterize the activities of historical figures, linking them with those events that were described earlier.
  • Students find it difficult to identify cause-and-effect relationships. To do it effectively, we recommend drawing a table consisting of two columns. The first column should be labeled "Causes" and the second - "Consequences". Thus, describing the historical period, you can sort out the events according to these options.

In a history paper, you should give a historical assessment based on the facts or the opinion of historians. This involves a lot of preliminary work long before the deadline. You can get a special notebook. Divide a page into 2 parts.

On the left, you write a historical period and on the right – a quote of the historian which you need to memorize. To eliminate the error, you can use indirect speech. For example, Mr. Horteen considered that.... for an essay on history you are not required to express your opinion (of course you may if you want) about the historical period, it is necessary to give a historical assessment.

Requirements for a good essay

Here is a collection of the common requirements for the essay:
  • An essay should be perceived as a whole unity. The idea should be clear and understandable.
  • An essay should not contain extra information - only the information that is necessary to disclose your position and message.
  • An essay should have an accurate compositional structure, be logical, and consistent.
  • Each paragraph of the essay should contain only one idea.
  • An essay should show that the author is well aware of the issue and correctly uses theoretical concepts, terms, and generalizations.
  • An essay should contain a convincing argument for the position stated by the author.
To make your paper shine, you should consider these rules:
  • Think about what literary techniques you will use to make the language of your essay more interesting and lively (comparisons, analogies, epithets, etc.).
  • Distribute the selected arguments or counterarguments in the sequence.
  • Come up with an introduction to the reasoning, i.e. explain why you have chosen this statement and immediately express your position.
  • State your point of view in the sequence that you have outlined.
  • Create a conclusion and edit the essay.

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