How to write a draft for a history essay

Tudor style building
© History Skills

Once your topic sentences and hypothesis are completed, you can start writing your essay, beginning with your first draft. (You should never hand in a first draft as your final piece because, as a general rule of thumb, it will not be your best work).

General advice when writing an essay

Great essays take time to write, review and refine. Therefore, waiting until the night before to write it is never going to get you good marks. 


Every essay must always be a piece of argumentative writing.


Do not simply tell a story!


To produce excellent essays, you need to understand the different elements of an essay structure. 


As you write your first draft of the essay, ensure that you stick to the point and support your ideas with evidence, as well as including specific examples and details.

Essays have word limits, and you are supposed to keep to them. If it is too long, then you have not demonstrated the ability to organise succinctly your thoughts.


If your essay is too short, you have probably not read enough on the topic or understood it sufficiently. Your mark may be affected for exceeding the word limit or not writing enough.


The draft that you submit to your teacher should be as good as a final version of your essay.


If parts are missing or incomplete, it is very difficult for your teacher to give you precise feedback on how to achieve your best possible results.

Paragraph-specific advice

What's next?

Need a digital Research Journal?

Historical Research Journal
A ready-to-use digital student research journal that follows the same 9-step research process from the History Skills website. Each research stage has explanations, blank tables and hyperlinks to examples to aid with the completion of essay ... (Read More)