Keys to good writing

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  • Avoid phrases such as: "now we see that"; "I think that", or "I feel that".

  • Write as if the reader is totally uninformed on any particular subject: hence, identify

  • DON’T quote documents.

  • Organize your essay (LE or DBQ) using the themes when no sub topics are provided.

  • TWO Important Historical Concepts

    • Synthesis: Use the phrases: “Can be compared to,” or “Another theme that highlights this,” or “However, it can also be argued.” (MUST DO THIS FOR BOTH A LE AND A DBQ)

    • Contextualization: Use the phrases: “The broad context of” or “The broad context to which.” (MUST DO THIS FOR A DBQ ONLY)


  • Causation: Can you make any connections what caused or what effects highlighted between the Document and Historical Facts?

  • Chronology: What’s other contemporaneous events might have affeted the author and how is that significant to the document?

  • Audience

  • Purpose

    • WHY or FOR WHAT REASON was the source produced at the time it was produced?

    • What was the author’s GOAL?

  • Point of View

  • WHO is the author and explain HOW this might have impacted what they wrote?

  • WHY using?

    • Significance for argument whether historical context, audience, purpose or point of view!!!

      • Other points to consider:

        • Instead of considering what the document reveals perhaps highlight what the document doesn’t tell you? What might have limited the knowledge of the author? What other kinds of sources might fill in content gaps? What other documents might offer alternatives to the author’s pt of view?

Thinking through the Long Essay


What are you being asked to do? Is there a timeframe?

Thesis (Foundation)

What will this paper discuss or attempt to prove? What factors will you use to discuss your topic or prove your argument? Any ppl, parties, issues that might need to be defined or identified before you present a thesis statement?

Assertion +

(Level 1)

What are the major pts (PERSIA, themes) you will use to prove your thesis?

Facts/Outside Info

(Level 2)

What do you know from this time in history to help you prove your thesis and assertion?

= Analysis

(Level 3)

Make your observation and o.i clear for others. “The facts used shows/proves…” Periodization, CCOT, Compare and Contrast OR Causation



Restate your thesis. Does it still make sense? Based on what (use historical timeframe)?

A.C.E Strategy of the Short Answer

  1. Answer; Make and identify a historical claim to the prompt

C- Cite; Define or describe the historical claim to the prompt
E- Expand; Logically connect the historical relationship of the claim to relevant historical developments.

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