Analysis - explaining an answer to a question


How to do this question:

This question is one where you HAVE TO KNOW YOUR NOTES.   You are going to be asked a question which requires you not only to KNOW detailed factual information, but also be able to USE those facts to explain an answer to the question.


The KEY THING for a high mark here is 'DEVELOPMENT', so it is vital that you know what 'development' is.  

I used to teach that this primarily involved developing a full and detailed explanation.   Although this is clearly important, however, looking at the answers below and how they were marked, it seems to me that the examiners paid much more attention to answers which were developed by adding further factual content to/ different aspects of each point.


What is ‘development’?


1.     It can be explanation – particularly multiple explanation: ‘This worked in two ways…’    


2.     However, in the exam, the markers gave MUCH more credit to answers which made a general point, and then supported that point by adding factual supplementary evidence about different elements of that point (see question d above).

        This is therefore a question where you NEED TO KNOW YOUR FACTS IN DEPTH.


3.     Make sure you link your ideas together, both from one paragraph to the next, but also between paragraphs.


4.      Make sure you PLAN your answer, and PEEL.




Target: Analysis and explanation of an event (AO 6.1)



Level 1: Simple Response

§         Either describes various associated facts.

§         Or simple general statements on causes



Level 2: Basic Ideas

§         Either narrative implying analysis of causes – e.g. ‘tells’ the story, but clearly identifying causal factors within the narrative.

§         Or multicausal explanation lacking development – for instance identifies a number of causes but the explanation is unsupported/undeveloped

§         Or developed monocausal answer

Reasoned arguments with little supporting evidence should go at this level.



Level 3: Argued response, focussed on the question

§         Either developed, multicausal answer – at least two points from the list in level 2 are adequately explained, and also developed with proper supplementary evidence.

§         Or a narrative/factual response is developed into a coherent argument establishing causation

Arguments at this level should have substantial factual supporting evidence.



Level 4: Sophisticated answer 

§         A balanced, sustained, analytical and multicausal answer, well-supported with supplementary/’proving’ evidence, showing planning and direction, weighing and linking ideas and explanations – e.g. identifies the relative importance and interplay of short and long-term causes.

MUST come to a reasoned judgement for full marks.



So, for this question, you MUST demonstrate that you can:

1.      Come up with a number of points in answer to the question - perhaps by remembering a mnemonic.

         (If you know lots of points, deal briefly with the less-important ones in the first paragraph, and SELECT three or four key points to explain and develop.)

2.      EXPLAIN how each point helps to answer the question.

3.      DEVELOP each point, by accessing FACTUAL KNOWLEDGE to add further aspects and information about each point.

4.      Build your essay into an argument, by using appropriate connectives, and by linking ideas and points.

5.      Finish with a JUDGEMENT, supported by facts, which at least WEIGHS the importance of the different points you have made.




Good Words:


•   “however”

•   “this meant that”

•   “because”

•   “as a result”

•   “so"”

•   “therefore”

•   “this led to”




(in the following examples, you can see the points which were ticked ü by the examiner, and - if you mouseover the maroon 'Mark ' at the end of each example - you can see what level and mark the answer got and why)



All the following answers are actual answers by pupils in the 2005 examination.

  1. For each, study them with a friend and - using the markscheme - work out what mark you would have given the answer and why.   Then mouseover the maroon 'Mark ' at the end of the question and see what it actually got and why.

  2. When you think you have got the measure of 'what makes a good answer', try one of the two 'exam practice' questions at the end for yourself.   Show it to your teacher (or your friend) and discuss what level and mark your attempt would have got.

    The KEY to this question is DEVELOPMENT: 'Have I looked at different factual aspects?'.





(d)     Between 1934 and 1939 Hitler was a dictator in Germany.   Using your own knowledge, explain how Hitler kept his position as dictator during this  time.                                            (15 marks)



Plan: several ways – concentration camps, strict control over farms and industry, trade unions banned, enabling act ….. in depth secret police in depth – destroying opponents


a.   Between 1934 and 1939 there were many ways in which Hitler maintained his position as a dictator in Germany. He had farming and industryü strictly controlled, and banned trade unions to tailor a workforce specificallyü for his needs and eradicate any large groups which may oppose him.  He also set up concentration campsü to help him keep his people disciplined and living in fear, meaning no-one dare oppose him. The enabling act meant that he could pass any law he wanted, meaning to have total control.

One of the main ways he managed to maintain his position as dictator was his secret police, and his strict law and order regime in general. He established courts and prisons, as well as concentration camps.  His laws were especially strict, and he punished people harshly. Secret police meant that there could be no plans for reduction or opposition to him, and ‘grumblers’ were reported, then taken away at night.  This helped him maintain his power in two ways.  First it prevented opposition groups, and secondly it helped people living in fear – no one dare oppose him, so his power was never challenged and he kept his status or dictator.

Another way he was able to keep this title was by eliminating all opposition communists, Jews, gypsies, homosexualsü and many others were persecuted.  Opposing political parties were banned, with many leaders being sent to concentration camps. As there were no other political leaders, this meant that the public had no one to support but Hitler. Even if they hated his policies, there was no alternative to his dictatorship and no way out.üüdevel  Again, people merely lived in fear, while Hitler remained dictator of Germany.

Overall, I think that eliminating the opposition was the main way Hitler controlled. He eradicated all other parties leaving many Germans with no hope, apart form that his regime may improve. This fear built into lack of opposition, and with our opposition, he could never lose power.



b.   Between 1934 and 1939 Hitler was dictator of Germany and he was able to serve and keep this position by a number of methods. Firstly he used law and order.  He controlled the police forceü so all opposition could be controlled, Therefore keeping his position safe.  He also had the Gestapo (secret police) which meant nobody dared to bad mouth him and only praised him. This too ensured the safety of dictatorship.  He put on the working Labour Front to ban strikes so nobody could rebel organisation.

Hitler also had plans to wipe out anyone that was not of the Aryn race and was considered as ‘untermensch’.üL2  This meant Jews, communists, gypsies, alcoholics, physically and mentally disabled.  This way only pure Germans that would be useful to his country could be kept.

The issue that includes the main reasons he was able to keep his position was indoctrination.  He controlled schools and teachers so that war materials and calculationsüL2 were worked out during Maths lessons.  Teachers were only allowed to teach pro-Nazi ideas which meant children grew up claiming that Hitler was the hero. They were also taught that Jews and communists were the reason that Germany lost wars so children believed that Jews and Communists were bad  This gained support for Hitler, securing his position.

The children were also praised and treated with respect to make them feel superior. They were encouraged to turn their parents to the GestapoüL2 if they ever complained. This too eliminated Hitler of all opposition. The children were taught to serve Germany in war (boys) and the girls were taught to be good mothers (3 C’s), encouraged to have children.

I think the main reason for Hitler to remain in power was from indoctrination. From controlling the children because event if parents wanted to rebel then he had their children to black mail them into obedience.  It ensured him the security of total loyalty all round.



c.   Hitler was a dictator in Germany between 1934 and 1939.  He kept his position of dictator in a number of different ways.

Firstly, he did not allow any opponents whatsoever.  If anybody or any parties rose up he had them destroyed.ü  This allowed him to have complete control of the country and allowed him to be free from interference, leaving him with his high position.  Hitler also remained with the power he got from the Enabling Act when he was chancellor.  He could make all the laws for Germany.  This helped him stay in power because he could manipulate people into behaving in a certain way.  It almost meant he was untouchable to people that did not like his regime, as he could have them punished.

Hitler also used propagandaü to remain in power.  He showed the success, and by being dictator – he took all the credit, as it looked like all his work.  This helped him as people would be grateful to him in his position.  Hitler also remained in his position by persecuting the ‘wrong-doers’.  People like what he considered were Jews etc. and communists.  He blamed bad occurrences on them,ü and by ‘taking them out’ he got support from the people and eliminated opponents, leaving him with his position.




(d)     Use your own knowledge to explain what effects Stalin’s Purges in the 1930s had on the USSR and its people.                                                                                                              (15 marks)


Plan: R O T T P I S G A P – Russification Orthodox Church Terror Twenty thousand killed Army Gulags Show Trials Industry Political Stalin Cult


d.   Stalin’s purges in the 1930’s lead to the deaths of thousands of peopleü and the imprisonment of many more. His paranoia made his believe that everybody made him believe that everybody was a threat to him, and addedü to other reasons, this was enough to push him to murder.  There were many effects on the USSR and its people after the Great Purges.

This include the effect on the Orthodox Church,üü where leaders had been imprisoned and churches closed, the Gulagsü and Show Trialsü that increased people’s awareness and fear, and the effect on industry, increasing because of the fear people felt knows what would happen if they failed to meet targets.

However, two reasons stand out for me.  The first is the overall massive number of deaths.üü  Twenty thousand people were killed, and many more imprisoned or sent to Gulags – (labour camps).  This had a huge effect on everybody.  Everyone knew someone who had been killed or in prisonü and the overall effect on the USSR was also disastrous.  The loss of many top scientists and engineers halted the progress of industrial modernisations,üü and less security was felt as all the top admirals and half the officers in the armed forces were killed.üü  Stalin’s purges weakened the USSR dramatically.  More plummeted people worked purely because their fearü of being the next victim prevent them from doing anything else, the country was in turmoil.üü

The other big effect the Great Purge had on the USSR and Russian people was the aftermath – the Stalin Cult.  Stalin’s insecurity meant he demanded constant praise, and the result of this was the Stalin Cult.üü  He needed constant applause,ü towns, cities, and even children were named after him. People were terrified of the consequences of speaking their minds.  Mothers taught their children that he was ‘the wisest man of our age’, terrified that they too would fall victim. Statues and paintings were created to show the people’s loyalty.üü  Possibly the worst part of the Stalin Cult was the heavy censorship.  History was rewritten to show Stalin as the greatest man in Russian history, the reason for the victory for the civil War, and eliminating all those prominent figures who had been killed.  Trotsky was one of these, erased from history. 

All these effects were huge. For me the singularity of the number of deaths was enough to destroy the USSR and its people, but all effects added together, the USSR was destroyed. Stalin eventually realised this and ended the purges but it was too late.üü  People were terrified of being killed and Russia had gone even more backward. The terror of the murders of so many innocent people makes Stalin cruel, insane and brutal, and shows he cared little for the USSR.











(d)    In 1928 Stalin had started a series of Five Year Plans to modernise the USSR.   Use your own knowledge to explain how successful these Five Year Plans had been by 1941.                                                  (15 marks)  


(d)   In January 1933 Hitler became Chancellor of Germany.   By August 1934 he had become a dictator.   Use your own knowledge to explain how Hitler became a dictator in less than two years.                        (15 marks)




Answer a          Level: 3          Mark: 9

•   This candidate - as she had been taught - selects two reasons to 'zero in on'.   Notice how she deals briefly with the other reasons she knows in the first paragraph.

•   Notice how in paragraphs two and three she makes a point, and then develops it with further aspects, and with full-out explanations.   This gets her to L3.

•   The examiner only allowed, however, 'some development', and awarded a mark at the bottom of L3  - it appears that, to gain more marks, this candidate needed to provide more, and more precise, factual content for the two points, and maybe a third and/or fourth point.

•   This is a Grade B answer.

Answer b          Level: 2          Mark: 6

•   This essay is a good L2 essay.

•   Notice that there is some attempt at development of the points (e.g. paragraphs 1 and 3) but the candidate does not do enough to convince the examiner.   To do this, she might have developed the appearance of an argument by using words such as 'therefore' and 'as a result', and linked the different ideas together more conspicuously.   As it is, the essay LOOKS simply like a list of points.

•   This is a Grade D answer.  

Answer c          Level: 2          Mark: 4

•   This pupil gets to L2 because he gives two well-explained which answer the question.

•   This is a Grade F answer.

Answer d          Level: 4          Mark: 13
•   This candidate - as she had been taught - selects two reasons to 'zero in on'.   Notice how she deals briefly with the other reasons she knows in the first two paragraphs.

•   Notice how in paragraphs three and four she makes a point, but then FULLY develops it with further aspects, specific facts and full-out explanations.  

•   The last paragraph makes a judgement which arises out of the argument, and which she supports with further facts and argument.   Thus it gets a L4.

•   This is a Grade A* answer.