HSC: History Extension

Get off to a flying start with advice from expert teachers and high achieving ex-students, information about our annual online seminar day and excerpts from award winning essays. 


The Project: History Extension seminar

This full-day student seminar is presented by the State Library of NSW and Sydney Living Museums and will be delivered via zoom. The seminar focuses on The Project and includes talks and workshops delivered by practising historians, archaeologists and museum and library professionals.

November 16, 2022

Full day online seminar

Cost: $20 per participant

Find out more


Q&A with expert teachers Jonathon Dallimore and Sally Johnstone

How do you refine a topic down to be manageable?

When starting their major project, a lot of students are drawn to a topic, rather than a specific question. In some instances, they may pick a topic that is very large and hard to answer in the word count.

As you only have 2,500 words to play with, you may find it beneficial to use some of the following strategies when attempting to refine your topic into something that is manageable.

How would you suggest working with time management of the project?

You need to manage your time effectively so that you can successfully complete your major project for History Extension.

Here are three different strategies that you can use to manage your time over the next year:

What are some common mistakes made in history extension essays, and how can we avoid making them?

One common mistake in project essays is that the student does not focus enough on the key questions of the course.

When you are discussing your topic and the sources/perspectives in your writing, it is crucial that you engage with relevant issues in the construction of history. That is, you are not just comparing and contrasting the interpretations of different historians or producers of history but you need to put forward arguments as to why their interpretations differ. This might involve exploring the aims and purposes of a writer, their specific methodology or their personal, political or historiographical context or their personal theories about history more generally. It often involves exploring a range of these factors in some depth.

How much personal perspective should I be expressing in my essay?

When constructing your project, you will be expected to develop an argument that is supported by evidence. Ultimately, your personal perspective will shape how you construct this argument. For example, your views will influence what material you choose to include and exclude from your project.

If I wanted to focus on something connected to writers who are not necessarily historians, is that too close to literature or English?

It would depend on how you approach it.

Historical fiction could form the basis of a strong History Extension Project or these kinds of sources may be highly relevant to the topic you are researching. Your analysis of these sources, however, must remain focussed on exploring relevant issues to the construction of history (i.e. the key questions).