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History HL - What is conceptual ability?

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I've been looking at the HL Markscheme for History and I notice that the easiest additional element to incorporate in an essay would be to "show a high level of conceptual ability." Alright, now may I ask you all dearly, what is this conceptual ability? Can I get some examples? My teacher tells me that I ought to think in frameworks but I don't really understand what he means. My exams are in May 2015 and we're going to start doing daily essays in two months or so and I am scared that I will not do so well because I know all my facts but when the time comes understanding the criteria I think will get me closer to higher mark boundaries, I tend to get 14/20 for my essays but I want to aim higher! I really want a 7 for this!

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Good question. I'm not quite sure I'm right, but I believe that 'conceptual ability' is the ability to draws large connections and parallels between disparate concepts to great effect. Additionally, I think it represents thinking of evidence as representative of a larger trend. Does that make sense? 

 

A good example might be the Great Man Theory. Some people say history would be completely different if none of the specific 'great men' had been born. Someone arguing against the theory could say that Lincoln directly influenced the Civil War starting as he said certain things in speeches (this is evidence), but that if he hadn't been born, a different republican would have taken the place. It was not Lincoln himself, but he was a product of a certain time and place and represented a growing trend in that time and place towards abolitionism and the republican platform.

 

Someone who does not have high conceptual ability would just say Lincoln caused the war. Someone with it might draw a conclusion that says that he was simply part of a trend, and that trend was a result of this [other evidence]. To get a 7 in History HL, the examiners want to see someone think of history as more than cause and effect.

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