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About the Thesis Point 📚

  • The thesis point is where you introduce the premise of your essay and state your argument. 
  • It must be "historically defensible," which means there must be enough evidence present to defend your claim.
  • Your argument must be decisive and contain a development from what the prompt says. Steer clear of rephrasing!
  • The thesis needs to be between one to two sentences long and should be located in the introduction or conclusion. 

Tips for a Great Thesis ✅

  • Always state your thesis in the introduction. That way, if you miss out on your point there, you have a second chance to earn it in the conclusion.
  • Take a tip from AP English classes- qualify your argument. This means accepting a scenario where your thesis might not apply. If done well, this could help you earn the complex historical understanding point later.
  • Use simple wording. The essay isn't being graded on your writing skills, so there's no need for a nuanced or creative thesis. Write decisively, but in the most straightforward way possible.
  • If you're writing a DBQ, don't introduce documents in the thesis. Utilize the documents' themes to categorize your essay and defend your claims. 
  • Read the prompt closely and make decisions for what to include based on the type of question being asked.

Continuity and Change Over Time⌚

  • You can recognize a CCOT prompt if it asks about change, developments, or stagnation during a specific time period. These prompts always give you a defined time frame and will occasionally provide specific areas to write about (politics, religion, economics, etc.)
  • The best way to write organize a thesis for a CCOT essay is to write about one way the subject matter evolved during the given era and one way that it stayed the same.
  • Arguing broadly, such as simply asserting a country or region's economics changed, will not be enough to get the point. To guarantee your thesis is descriptive enough, write a short description of the way your theme changed, such as "During the late 15th and early 16th centuries, Spain's economy became increasingly globalized." Repeat this for your continuity. 
  • Remember to stick to your thesis points. They are your roadmap and deviation from them risks confusing your audience. 

Causation💡

  • A causation question will always ask about the relationship between two specific events, movements, or historical trends. It will often use phrases like "to what extent did ______ result from _________?" Sometimes, the prompt will not inquire about the level of causation, but rather the type or to identify a cause or effect.
  • A good causation thesis begins with a position on the question. The prompt will probably be nuanced, and the answer will not be a simple yes or no. Including phrases like "largely influenced" and "had little correlation" could demonstrate your knowledge of this and strengthen your writing.
  • Then, introduce causation and links to other developments beyond the one you reference. A potential thesis could read: "Although Germany's fascist descent was strongly influenced by the "war guilt clause" from the Treaty of Versailles, rampant industrialism and the US's abandonment of isolationism also played roles in inciting conflict."

Comparison⚖

  • A comparison prompt will ask you to articulate similarities and differences between content. It will also usually for an explanation or description of their importance.
  • A comparison thesis needs two parts: explanation of similarities and differences, and an introduction to the other required skill. 
  • Start by introducing the evidence you plan on using for both similarities and differences. For example, "The Northern and Italian Renaissances both experienced significant economic shifts. However, the Northern Renaissance was more centralized, as exemplified by the strong states of England, the Netherlands, and the Holy Roman Empire."
  • Then, depending on the prompt, you may need to explain possible causes of the difference. 
  • Your full thesis might look like, "Both the Northern and Italian Renaissances saw significant economic shifts. However, the Northern Renaissance was more centralized, while the Italian Renaissance occurred in city-states and was, by comparison, secular in nature."
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