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Essay writing - problems with structure (I guess)

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Hello! I have a problem that really troubles me in history; I don't seem able to write good essays. I have of course talked to my teacher about it, but I did not really get anything out of it; and I haven't gotten anything out of advise from other people either. My problem seem to be structuring, which really bothers me since I always do really good on structuring essays in other subject (Eng, Swe, Psy). Also, my teacher tells me that my essays are too narrative (due to chronology perhaps). I never get above a 5 in history, and since it is my HL I should get a 6 or 7. Thus, my simple question is: how do I alter my essays so that they become less narrative and better structured (especially, I need help with writing introductions, since my teacher claims them to be 'confusing').

Regards,

Andrea

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Introductions are generally pretty standard - the way I do them is start off with something related to the topic's importance and introduce the topic, and then simply say something about examining the research question ("this essay compares the causes and the nature of the two Russian revolutions" or something to that effect. Three sentences are all you need for an introduction really. It's not that much of a vital part in an essay and the conclusion is much more important.

I had lots of problems with structure in my history essays throughout the IB. What I did towards the finals was sticking to a strictly thematical approach with as little chronology is needed. So, when writing your essay, have a paragraph for each point; for example, if you're considering the successes and failures of a leader, your paragraphs could be political, economic, social, and foreign policy; if you're considering Hitler's rise to power, your paragraphs could be external factors (with a subdivision to political and economic perhaps), his methods, role of political intrigue and ideology. To be honest, even a chronological structure may not be that bad if you are clearly analysing - it's not forbidden or anything but apparently thematical essays tend to score better.

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Thanks for your answer! So say that I have a question about how widespread nationalism was in Italy by 1848, as I had in my End of Year Exam; what would an introduction look like? I also had a question like "assess three causes for WWI: nationalism, mobilization and alliance systems". What would a good introduction look like in that case? What I usually do, which apparently is wrong, is that I state my arguments quite like in an English essay. I am told that I should bring up background first, clarify anything that needs to be clarified, e.g nationalism, and then present my arguments. Somehow I don't seem to do it. Yet another question; when should the analysis be brought in?

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In general, the introduction of the Essay should show how you are going to structure the essay.

For example:Analyse the causes of the Cold War

Intro :The Cold war was caused due to political, economic and social reasons...

Body:

1st para on political reasons

2nd para on economic resons

3rd para on social reasons

Conclusion: Your opinion

In the opening and closing statements of the para in the body of the essay, try to answer the question.

For ex: 1st para- (OS)Political reasons are a great cause of the cold war... (CS) Therefore, it was evident that the political situation in the x, y, z countries lead to the beginning of the Cold War.

An analysis should be in the body of your essay. No story-telling, only analysis.Use facts to back up your analysis. Support your argument with as much facts as you know.

That's what my teacher has told me and I've stuck to it for a year. I've got some pretty good grades during internal exams and she has been pretty happy about my essays that I've produced so far.

Hope this helps. Anything else, quote me or PM me :)

Edited by FlipFlop

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