Page 2 – Paragraph writing

Sharpening your history skills: paragraph writing

Essays are an important part of external assessment in history. Good essays are based on joining sentences together as coherent paragraphs that tackle different components of the essay question. A good essay must have good paragraphs.

Always remember to write each key idea in your essay as a new paragraph. It is in your interests that the marker can see quite clearly where each idea begins and ends. It is sometimes helpful to think of a paragraph as having a set layout:

  • a sentence that outlines what the paragraph is about – a topic sentence
  • sentences to support the topic sentence
  • a sentence to conclude the paragraph.

In this way a paragraph mirrors the structure of an essay. One reason for using this layout is that a lot of markers will skim read your essay first for signs that you have understood the question and that the material is relevant. They will then look at your essay more closely. Anything you do to create a positive first impression can only help.

Developing good essay-writing skills involves good paragraph-writing skills. Think ultimately of your essay as being a collection of relevant paragraphs on a set topic.

How to cite this page

'Paragraph writing', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 12-Nov-2015

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2 comments have been posted about Paragraph writing

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Posted: 24 Nov 2011

Hi Jo - The Treaty of Waitangi booklets, dvds and cds are long out of print now. See our Treaty FAQs where you will find links to download pdfs of the series of booklets about the Treaty of Waitangi.
Regards, Jamie Mackay

Jo Crean

Posted: 24 Nov 2011

I am Deputy Principal of Kaka Street Special School. We would like the resource which is in most schools called The Treaty of Waitangi. It has a cover and 3 smaller books inside - Timeline of the Treaty, The Story of the Treaty and The Journey of the Treaty. Could we please have more copies if they are available? If not could you supply us with a similar resource. This is for our staff to use as a part of their professional Development. many thanks Jo Crean