Guide to writing thematic essays - Russia & its Rulers, Y318


step 1: read the question

  • what theme is it asking you to write about?

    • eg, economy, peasant lives, nature of government

  • in what way do you have to assess the theme? 

    • is it asking about change, improvement, stagnation, etc? 

    • this will change the language you use in comparison

  • is it asking you about leaders or events?

    • if it asks about events, eg. fundamental laws, you need to compare events

    • if it asks about leaders, time periods, communists vs tsars, etc, you need to compare leaders

  • does it give you a stated factor?

    • eg, X was the most important

step 2: plan it

  • split the theme into three different topics

    • (please look to the bottom of this guide!)

  • for each topic, list three events/leaders to compare

    • heres a look at the last russia paper i did: i sorted them into most, moderate and least


  • comparison is very important. eg. for change, look at most change (positive or negative). for improvement, however, “least” could be significant negative change

  • remember that if you have a stated factor, you need to include it in every paragraph. this might lead you to writing about four factors instead of three. 

step 3: write the damned thing

  • remember to include all time periods! 

  • never, ever write it chronologically! always regard it thematically!

regarding war + revolution: 

when a war + revolution question is asked, it always asks about a war’s (or revolution’s) impact on something 

  • eg. ‘ww1 was the biggest change to industry’ 

the thing it’s impacting is your theme

  • so, write your industry essay (light, heavy, comms + transport)


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