History Essay Writing Gcse Revision

GCSE History essays are difficult. For many students taking GCSE History, how to structure your GCSE History essays and source responses are often the most challenging parts of the course. Learning core facts and remembering key dates for the GCSE History course are relatively straightforward. Analysing and evaluating the importance of various factors, reasons and causes are a lot more difficult and these skills take time to develop.

Below are some templates of how to structure your GCSE History essays and source based questions (N.B. the suggested timings may vary between exam boards, but the structure will remain the same).

What can you learn from source X about…..?

You need to make two inferences, explained and supported with quotes if a written source or select details if it is a picture. Spend about 6 minutes on this 4 mark question

Describe how…..This is a describe / key features question

You need to make at least two statements that are well supported by own knowledge and presented in separate paragraphs. Say “Firstly….” then “Secondly…” Spend about 8 minutes on this 6 mark question

“Explain the effects of…” This is a consequence question

You need to clearly explain two or more consequences that are set out in separate paragraphs and are supported by well selected and relevant own knowledge. Show links between the consequences for full marks and assess the extent of change. How much of an impact did it have? Spend about 12 minutes on this 8 mark question

“How did X change between….” This is a change or development question.

You need to explain two or more changes that developed something or affected something, showing how one led to the other for full marks. You need to support your answer by bringing in your own knowledge and that you put each change in a separate paragraph. It is crucial that in your answer you refer to what the situation was like before to make it clear to the examiner that you understand what changed. Spend about 12 minutes on this 8 mark question

Look out for our next blog post on how to structure the 30 mark “mini essay” question

For further details about GCSE preparation, GCSE History essays, GCSE mock exams, GCSE Revision Booster courses or private tuition bespoke to your requirements, please contact [email protected]

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  1. Basically I got A* full marks on all my coursework pieces for OCR GCSE Modern World History. I'm doing Treaty of Versailles, League of Nations, all that stuff, and then in depth study of Russia.
    On my mock last year I got an F. I was so shocked and admittedly I was going through a very very stressful period in my life but I can't let that happen again. I was surprised it was so low - it's quite a dramatic dip!
    I have my mocks next week and I really need to prove to my history teacher that it was just one slip up and that it won't happen in my summer exams. I've been revising alot and even borrowed the text book from school to make extra notes; i'm trying real hard for this exam but does anyone have any extra tips for history exam technique?
    Ideally, I want to come out of this course with an A/A* particuarly as History is something I'd be interested in studying further. I want to take A Level History, plus it's also something I'm possibly interested in continuing to degree level. Seen as I'm already on my way with the coursework, I want to make absolutely sure my exam grade is the best it can be

  2. heyy i'm doing the same course as you and everything, well done for your a*s on coursework! i have major trouble with writing history essays, but here are a couple of sites i use which help me a lot:
    i personally find bitesize revision things too simple, but they have really useful exam tips...
    please can you give me any tips on writing history essays?? i love the subject, i know everything about what we've done but i always lose so many points on essays... what do you do...

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