Answer History Structured Essay Question

Extended-response or essay questions take care and thought, but they are nothing to fear. In fact, the more you show what you know about a topic, the more credit you are likely to receive on a test.

How To Do It

Good extended-response answers have three parts: a beginning, a middle, and an ending.

The first paragraph introduces your main idea or position. It begins with a topic sentence. The topic sentence states plainly the point you intend to make in your answer. Often it simply restates the question.


The second paragraph provides information, examples, and details to support your main idea or position. This is where you show in detail what you know or think about the topic. If the answer calls for a great deal of information, you may need more than one paragraph.


The final paragraph sums up your main idea or position. It restates your topic sentence, this time with more feeling.

Now You Try

Work through these steps as you answer the question below. Write your answer on a separate piece of paper.

Step 1 Read the question carefully. Take a moment to think about it. What exactly is it asking? Are you being asked to argue a position or to show what you know about a subject? Be sure you know what you are being asked to do before you begin writing.

Many cities around the world are located near large rivers and lakes, or near an ocean. Why do you think this is so? Provide three or more important advantages that waterways offer cities, and explain why each advantage is important. Give examples.

Step 2 Decide on your main idea or position. You might simply want to restate the question. Write it down. This will be your topic sentence. Then add any extra information that will help explain your topic. That's your first paragraph.

Step 3 Now think. How can you fully explain your idea or position? What details and examples support your main idea? Choose the most convincing details and examples. Write them in separate sentences. Try to write the most important information first.

Step 4 Take a moment to review what you've written. Does it fully answer the question? Do you need to add any more information? Add what you need to and then move on. (Don't worry too much about grammar or spelling. Your answer will be graded on content rather than style. However, do be sure that your writing is neat!)

Step 5 You can breathe easily now: your final paragraph will be a snap! Write a sentence that summarizes your main point or position. The sentence should restate your topic sentence. This time, however, give it some zest. Then add any information that emphasizes what you've written. That's your final paragraph. You're done!

Review and Reflect

Peer review -- having another student comment on your written response or essay -- can be a good way to help you reflect on your work.

Trade your answer with another student. Read the other student's paper carefully. On the back, write your comments.

  • Did the student fully answer the question?
  • Is there a beginning, a middle, and an ending?
  • Could more information be added?
Now trade papers with another student. Comment on the new paper in the same way. When you're finished, return the paper to its writer and get your own back. Read the comments on the back. How could you improve your answer? Did other students have ideas or write answers that show you other ways you might respond to the question?

What is a structured essay question?

A structured essay question seeks for a structured answer from students regarding thetopic that they have been taught. It is called “structured” because students are expected to

“structure” arguments to answer questions with the information that they havelearnt

. This means that SEQ does not merely test on your memory but your ability toformulate arguments based on what you know.

Structured Essay Question Breakdown

(a)Why did…. (4)(b)How did … (4)(c)To what extent/ Do you agree…(7)For your SA, you will be expected to do two SEQs (two sets of a, b and c). You should

not take more than half an hou

r for each set of question. Each question will be basedon

one chapter (not theme)

and every part will cover one civilisation. For example, if  part (a) is about India, (b) will on China and (c) will be on SEA.

Structured Essay Question Answering Format

The guide below serves as a template for answering your SEQs.For the

“Why did” and “How did”

types of question you can use the following format.(Either PEEP or PEEL)

P- Point (Your argument)E- Evidence (Historical evidence to support your argument)E- Elaboration (Show how is the evidence related to the point)P/ L- Point/ Link (Show how point answers the topic in question)

PEEP or PEEL twice to get the highest marks. Start a

new Paragraph

when you PEEP or PEEL the second time. (The person you are peeping will know that you are peeping if you peep for too long/ you can’t peel a banana twice!) Do it a third time only if time permits (just in case one of your points is incorrect).



 Name: ____________________ ( )Class: ________________ 

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