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History Essay To What Extent

I studied Russia last year, and I would suggest that with 'to what extent questions' you talk about roughly 2-3 other factors in your essay, but not necessarily all of the factors listed on the syllabus. Talk about things which are vastly different in importance; something that is relevant 'to a great extent' and something that is less so. That shows that you've thought about the question and the different parts of Russian history that apply to it.

For example in the 2013 HSC paper I answered the question "To what extent was the Treaty of Brest Litovsk significant for the Bolshevik consolidation of power?"

I said that it was not very significant, and actually hindered the Bolshevik's ability to consolidate. Then I spoke about how they used various machines of power like the Cheka to enforce their power over society, and switched between war communism and the NEP to firstly win the civil war (which defeated opposition and helped the consolidate), and then regain the trust of the peasants. So I used a couple of other factors, but kept referring back to how they were 'more significant' than the Treaty was.

Hope I helped!

As with any successful essay, the question must be understood before an effective answer can be given.  With a question that uses an "extent" in its stem, a case with evidence and analysis must be made.  The idea of "To What Extent" is asking that the answer discuss how one element is greater in validity than others. The "To What Extent" question is asking that the student is able to make a claim about an assumption in a question and then place it in context and assess other conditions that surround the assumption.  In the writing process, the student is making a definite claim whether it is to a "great extent" or "not a significant extent" that the assumption in the question is valid or verifiable.  It requires the student to understand a specific context as well as the different conditions surrounding it in order to make a call to validity.

In answering a question that uses "To What Extent" as its stem, I think that the first part of the essay should focus on the assumption in the question.  This will required support, elaboration and substantiation in making a particular case if something is valid to a great extent or not.  Analysis and evidence would be critical here.  The second part of the essay should focus on the role that other factors play in the question's assumption.  Any question that uses "To What Extent" has to pull a topic that has other factors at play.  For example, in the question, "To what extent can nationalism be seen as the primary cause of World War I," the understanding is that there were other causes to World War I and the critical element is to assert if Nationalism was the primary cause and how other causes would or would not be serve as the primary cause.  The last part of the essay should reaffirm what the analysis and evidence presented has (hopefully) concluded.  Put another way, is it to a great extent or not large extent that the assumption of the question can be seen?  In crafting an essay with the "To What Extent" prompt, I think that this method becomes the most direct.

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