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How to answer a 'to what extent' question?? (1 Viewer)

lynch96

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So my school is doing Russia right and under 1 dot point, there is like 6 dash points underneath.. is it expected that in an essay you talk about all of them or just what you believe to be the most important? For Russia, the first is consolidation of power, and underneath that dot point are like 6 points .. obviously not all of them are of equal importance, so would you be required to mention all of them in an essay anyway??
thank you :)
 

enigma_1

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Yeah plug in an evaluative word like that
 

bongoli

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add your own opinion to it and signify the actual amount (significant - little)
 

lynch96

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so would you still have to talk about all the aspects mentioned in the syllabus and say that some of them were of little significance or something?
 

dinomyte

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Generally, 'to what extent' questions should be answered quantitatively i.e to a limited extent, to a significant extent, to the fullest extent etc. It is probably better if you don't simply answer the question with a thesis like "X was a cause for Y to the most significant extent." and instead make your statement stronger by adding something else, possibly a reason for how you achieved that conclusion such as "X was a cause for Y to the most significant extent due to Z." And then your essay would be explaining why you think X was significant to Y, but constructed under the Z framework.

Also, it kind of depends on the essay question. I doubt you will have enough space to talk about all the causes. I definitely think it is a lot more beneficial to focus on few. You should mention more than one if only for comparative purposes because a "to what extent" question typically requires you to quantitatively judge the significance of your causes, and arrive at a conclusion. And your points should be only the most significant ones - they will make the backbone of your essay. There is no point talking about the less significant points if they don't directly contribute to your thesis, otherwise it will damage the clarity of your essay.

You should mention other causes to support your argument. For example, kind of like counterarguments, you can explain how one cause is inferior to the significant cause, or explain how it can actually be categorised under your significant cause.

Now, if I were to argue that X was only a marginally significant cause compared to say, another cause W. I would focus a bulk of my essay on why I think W was the most significant cause, but I would also dedicate a good chunk focusing on X, because the question needs me to talk about X somehow.

I don't do Russia, but this is how I answered a 'To what extent' Q:

To what extent did the policies of Republican administrations contribute to the financial crisis of 1929 and the Great Depression that followed?

The policies of minimal government intervention and the inability to responsibly regulate the economy which was inherent in the Republican administrations of the 1920s, contributed to the Great Crash and Great Depression to a significant extent. While it may be contended that Great Crash and Great Depression were harnessed by factors other than that of the Republican economic policies such as economic dualism and weak banking system, it was in fact the Republican administration that exacerbated these factors.

I hope I didn't confuse you! Good luck :)
 
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Verify

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Generally, 'to what extent' questions should be answered quantitatively i.e to a limited extent, to a significant extent, to the fullest extent etc. It is probably better if you don't simply answer the question with a thesis like "X was a cause for Y to the most significant extent." and instead make your statement stronger by adding something else, possibly a reason for how you achieved that conclusion such as "X was a cause for Y to the most significant extent due to Z." And then your essay would be explaining why you think X was significant to Y, but constructed under the Z framework.

Also, it kind of depends on the essay question. I doubt you will have enough space to talk about all the causes. I definitely think it is a lot more beneficial to focus on few. You should mention more than one if only for comparative purposes because a "to what extent" question typically requires you to quantitatively judge the significance of your causes, and arrive at a conclusion. And your points should be only the most significant ones - they will make the backbone of your essay. There is no point talking about the less significant points if they don't directly contribute to your thesis, otherwise it will damage the clarity of your essay.

You should mention other causes to support your argument. For example, kind of like counterarguments, you can explain how one cause is inferior to the significant cause, or explain how it can actually be categorised under your significant cause.

Now, if I were to argue that X was only a marginally significant cause compared to say, another cause W. I would focus a bulk of my essay on why I think W was the most significant cause, but I would also dedicate a good chunk focusing on X, because the question needs me to talk about X somehow.

I don't do Russia, but this is how I answered a 'To what extent' Q:

To what extent did the policies of Republican administrations contribute to the financial crisis of 1929 and the Great Depression that followed?

The policies of minimal government intervention and the inability to responsibly regulate the economy which was inherent in the Republican administrations of the 1920s, contributed to the Great Crash and Great Depression to a significant extent. While it may be contended that Great Crash and Great Depression were harnessed by factors other than that of the Republican economic policies such as economic dualism and weak banking system, it was in fact the Republican administration that exacerbated these factors.

I hope I didn't confuse you! Good luck :)
Our class is doing Russia too, and I would often be bewildered as to how to effectively answer these 'To what extent' questions. This clears is up quite a lot, thank you.

As for your introduction, would you be talking about the Republicans first, and how they were the most significant factor contributing to the financial crisis/Great Depression, then move on to economic dualism and weak banking system in the following two paragraphs? Would I have to intertwine any of those arguments back to the Republicans in any way?
 

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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!
 

enoilgam

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So I used a couple of other factors, but kept referring back to how they were 'more significant' than the Treaty was.
This is very important to remember and something which people often forget when discussing other issues in this type of an essay. You must directly show how the other factors are more important than the subject of the question. If you fail to do so, then you arent really answering the question and you will lose marks.
 

cream pirate

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always say "to a certain extent" best bullshit ive ever used in these types of questions
 

dinomyte

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As for your introduction, would you be talking about the Republicans first, and how they were the most significant factor contributing to the financial crisis/Great Depression, then move on to economic dualism and weak banking system in the following two paragraphs? Would I have to intertwine any of those arguments back to the Republicans in any way?
Yes, I would absolutely link all my points back to the Republicans. It is crucial that you keep referring back to your thesis. In the essay I am basically saying that not only did the Republicans fail, but their policies also caused economic dualism and weak banking system, hence ultimately it was the Republicans' fault. Even though you are talking about different points, you must show how these points support your overarching 'significant' point. :)
 

lynch96

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thank you so much! you all helped clear it up for me so much!
 

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So my school is doing Russia right and under 1 dot point, there is like 6 dash points underneath.. is it expected that in an essay you talk about all of them or just what you believe to be the most important? For Russia, the first is consolidation of power, and underneath that dot point are like 6 points .. obviously not all of them are of equal importance, so would you be required to mention all of them in an essay anyway??
thank you :)
Make sure you use degree words in assessing questions that ask 'to what extent.' This means that, for example, when you are beginning a body paragraph you say something like "first and foremost, X is most significant to Y because [insert reason here]." I have been told from my teachers that it is best to order your body paragraphs from highest to lowest significance. This is also crucial to do when assessing usefulness and reliability with sources, which you do in Modern History too.
 

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