The most successful essays are well planned. Essays that go off the point with lots of extra detail will get poor marks.
Stick to the question
Underline key words in the essay title so you really understand the question being asked. It’s not about writing all you know about a topic.
Words like ‘discuss’, ‘compare and contrast’, ‘evaluate’, ‘account for’ are used as ways to direct your answer; make sure you know what they mean.
Other questions may start with ‘how’, ‘what’, ‘why’ or ‘when’.
Write a plan
Brainstorm your ideas on the essay topic to get started. Spider diagrams are good for this.
Plan the structure of the essay by numbering each of your ideas in order of importance. At this stage you may wish to leave some of them out or develop others by breaking them into sub points. Redo your original spider diagram as necessary.
You may have to present your argument for the essay under broad themes like ‘economic’, ‘social’, ‘political’ or ‘religious’ reasons. Make sure you understand which theme suits each of your points, then group your all points on the same theme in order of importance into a separate paragraph.
Writing the essay
Your essay must have an introduction. State the main points you will discuss in order to support your answer to the question set in the title of the essay.
2. Development of your argument
After the introduction add further paragraphs to build your argument, make the most important points first. Remember the way these points are ordered makes your argument clearer to the reader.
Start a new paragraph for each new important point and any linked points that relate to the question. You may include quotations from other historians and refer to primary sources (such as you can find on this website) to support a particular point.
Make sure your essay makes chronological sense. Try to present any factual points in date order.
Avoid telling the story of what happened. If you refer to an important historical event, you must make a point or comment about it. This will stop your essay from becoming a simple narrative and it shows you are trying to analyse events rather than just describe them.
Aim for five to seven paragraphs, depending on the essay and level of course you are following.
Sum up the main points and briefly restate your argument.
Re-read your work, check for spelling errors, and redraft if necessary.
But with an Oscars ceremony so self-aware of sociopolitical trends, controversy was never far from view.
—kristi turnquist | the oregonian/oregonlive, OregonLive.com, "2018 Oscars: Diversity rules in a show that's respectful, and a bit dull (review),"4 Mar. 2018
Black people went from collective exclusion from sociopolitical or academic worlds to holding 2,000 public-office seats between 1865 and 1877.
—lincoln anthony blades, Teen Vogue, "America Doesn't Need to "Start a Conversation" on Race,"6 Feb. 2018
That reality, and the country’s sociopolitical upheaval during the president’s first year in office, has given Diaz’s flashy yet moving script an even more powerful satirical bite.
—christine dolen, miamiherald, "‘The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity’: Wrestling an extreme satirical take down | Miami Herald,"30 Jan. 2018
This is a tantalizingly complex book that’s still easily accessible — an actioneering footrace on one level with intergalactic sociopolitical strife on another.
—will nevin, OregonLive.com, "WW #90: The riveting temptation of 'Judas',"12 Jan. 2018
This Is Our Land faced populism and the popularity of the sociopolitical far right in northern France, close to the Belgian border, head-on.
—jordan mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter, "Critics' Notebook: Besson Fizzled but 'Raw,' 'BPM,' 'Faces Places' Elevated Minor Year for French Films,"26 Dec. 2017
The characters are tethered to one another but unaffected by the city's sociopolitical framework beyond who drinks at which bars.
—meaghan garvey, Chicago Reader, "Get ready to hate-watch another season of Easy,"12 Dec. 2017
The mystery plot has a sociopolitical dimension, as the murders turn out to be part of a pattern of hate crimes.
—mike hale, New York Times, "In Three Nordic Noir Streaming Series, Women Investigators Fight the Chill,"24 Oct. 2017
In the other: Kendrick Lamar, whose DAMN. is the most acclaimed album of 2017, and who is widely considered music’s leading voice in our current, contentious sociopolitical climate.
—alan light, Billboard, "Grammys Preview: The Best Bets For The Big Four Awards,"19 Oct. 2017