How to write source-based history essays

Carcassone, Languedoc.
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The biggest assessment task you will be required to complete is a written research essay which develops an argument and uses a range of sources.


All types of assessment tasks will need you to use essay-writing skills in some form, but their fundamental structure and purpose remains the same. Therefore, learning how to write essays well is central to achieving high marks in History.

What is an 'essay'?


A History essay is a structured argument that provides historical evidence to substantiate its points. 


To achieve the correct structure for your argument, it is crucial to understand the separate parts that make up a written essay. If you understand how each part works and fits into the overall essay, you are well on the way to creating a great assessment piece.


Most essays will require you to write:

  • 1 Introduction Paragraph
  • 3 Body Paragraphs
  • 1 Concluding Paragraph

Explanations for how to structure and write each of these paragraphs can be found below, along with examples of each: 

Essay paragraph writing advice

How to write an Introductory Paragraph

This page explains the purpose of an introduction, how to structure one and provides examples for you to read.

How to write Body Paragraphs

This page explains the purpose of body paragraphs, how to structure them and provides examples for you to read.

How to write a Conclusion

This page explains the purpose of conclusions, how to structure them and provides examples for you to read.

More essay resources

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Looking for the older version of this page?

Are you looking for History Skills' old 'Written Essay' advice page? 


It still exists and can be found here.