How do you write a 20-mark history essay at A level?

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Are you an A level history student wanting to succeed? Every student wants to succeed in their studies, with top grades being highly sought after. There’s just no avoiding it: History is not an easy A level. You need to work hard and practice these essays to improve over time. You might not be able to perfect these essays on the first try – but don’t worry. A levels are a learning process and you have two years of college to assess your progress and perform better. If you’re willing to put in the effort, you can learn to get as high a mark as possible. After all, getting certain grades are crucial for university and employment positions!

A brief overview

For history essays, you need to structure them properly to impress your examiner and a half term revision course in May will certainly give you some final tips for your exams. This will show that you are strong at written communication, helping to display your argument most effectively. Students should write an introduction, main body, and conclusion for history essays to get the most marks possible.


Within the first few lines of your introduction, students should state their argument clearly regarding the question. It’s recommended to use words within the set question, using this language to show the examiner you are focused. This will also help set the context of the time period, showing that you have historical knowledge. Present your line of judgement almost straight away to get directly to the point, cutting out any unneeded description. State the factors that you are going to be discussing in the main body of the essay, arguing their importance. Judge why one factor is the most important in your debate with a relevant reason.

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The main body

The main body is the biggest part of your essay, usually including around three different paragraphs of three different factors. However, the history exams are notorious for being time-sensitive. Therefore, students often reduce the main body to two factors if they are running out of time. Usually, a point, evidence, explain structure works well in the main paragraphs. Make your point in an argument, back it up with relevant evidence, and explain why this is significant. Higher marking essays will also evaluate these points. Historians should always think about being analytical and critical, so try to think about the wider context too. You’ll also want to return to your argument at the end of each paragraph. This will demonstrate to the examiner that you are focused on the question.

The conclusion

Even though you’ve almost finished your essay, this is not the time to give up! You need to summarise your key factors in the conclusion, rounding up why each is important. You also need to reassert why your judgement is strong, linking back to the question without adding any additional points.

Therefore, there are different components to consider in a 20-mark history A level essay. However, approaching this structure can be less overwhelming if you break each component down. Tackling an essay with good punctuation and grammar, clear language, and a reasonable argument can help you succeed.

If you, or your parents would like to find out more, please just get in touch via email at or call us on 0800 689 1272

If you, or your parents would like to find out more, please just get in touch via email at or call us on 0800 689 1272