Essay writing

Getting a high grade in history is very much about producing coherent and persuasive essays. Apart from developing your knowledge base, therefore, there is no more important skill for a history student than essay writing. For many of us this takes focus, practice and effort. This page is dedicated to this all-important skill.

General advice relating to History Essays

Direct advice about writing good history essays can be found in this article from 2012 by Robert Pearce, editor of History Today.

Robert Pearce also gives Ten Essay Tips in another article from 2012, although for A level and especially Pre-U historians, I would counsel against the thought that essay writing is ‘no longer the be all or end all’ of history assessment – because it really is!

If you want podcasts by a secondary history teacher on this topic, Mr Budd provides useful set of videos and guidance on writing essays at

More advanced

The Purdue OWL has some quite excellent pages on writing skills which cover everything from grammar to ‘visual rhetoric’ and much, much more.

Try The Speedy Essay blog which contains useful advice on developing your essay skills.

A useful site from the Cambridge and Rindge Latin schools > on the process of researching and writing essays

In addition, there are lots of advice from universities to undergraduates. The age range may be different, but the principles remain the same the world over. See for example the following advice from Australia’s Monash University History Department and, closer to home, advice from Sussex University history department


Advice on key sections

Should I write my introduction first or last?

There is more than one approach! The CRLS has a useful page on writing introductions

Another, more in depth look at introductions from the University of North Carolina

See the following advice on Writing introductions and conclusions

If you found this last piece of advice helpful, you may want to look at the same author’s advice on other aspects of essay writing

Planning Tools

Mindmapping is one of my preferred ways of planning. is a site that allows you to build your own mindmaps electronically.

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