What is a 'Hot Topic'?


We at The Coursework Club use 'Hot Topics' to refer to those key terms in a question that link to the central topic, or subject, that you are being asked to create a discussion around. This is actually the simplest thing in the question/title to identify, as well as the easiest key term to address.


If this is the simplest thing in the question, how important is it to address it in your introduction?


Let's put it this way - if you don't address this in your introduction, you may as well stop building your house, get a cardboard box from the supermarket, and ask the reader to live in that instead. Translation: VERY IMPORTANT. Remarkably, the 'Hot Topic' is often so obvious that we see students overlook it time and time again.

01 Intro 02.4 01

Example 1

Examples of 'Hot Topics' within question titles (A mixture of typical IB, AQA, OCR, Edexcel, and CIE styles):

  • …to what extent was there continuity in the way that successive Russian governments dealt with opposition?
  • “…how similar was the rule of Hitler to that of Mussolini?”
  • “…to what degree did government treatment of black people change in South Africa between 1899 and 1999?”
  • “How far would you agree that the most significant cause of Arab Nationalism was…”
  • Theodore Roosevelt's contribution to US progressivism carries greater significance than other presidents in the period 1901-1920. How far would you agree with this statement?”
  • “Compare and contrast the circumstances that gave rise to two communist regimes in Latin America
  • “To what degree was British decolonisation in Africa a result of the Second World War?”

The Question (IB Style)

Select two leaders of single-party states, each chosen from a different region, and explain how and why the conditions of their state helped them to rise to power.

The Introduction: (note: this is just a section of the larger introduction)

It is no revelation to assert that countries which evolve single-party leadership models, often do so as a response to serious conditions prevailing within the economic, social, or political frameworks of the state. In both Cuba (1959 onwards) and Italy (1922-1943), a one party, one leader model was created and, for the most part, accepted by the peoples of each country. The conditions which led to the rise of these, arguably, extreme models of government (with Fidel Castro and Mussolini at their helm), tend to revolve around a number of broadly similar serious economic, political, and social issues, such as unemployment, political corruption, and legal discrimination, However, despite a number of similarities between the conditions that helped the two regimes emerge, it is clear that there are also a number of very distinct locally specific conditions that caused...

What you have learned

This section has introduced you to the significance of another type of key term that you will DEFINITELY be required to address in your coursework: the 'Hot Topic'. By way of a variety of example coursework titles, from a range of exam boards, you have learned how to identify the important topic/s embedded in your coursework title. More importantly, you have learned how to incorporate this type of key term into your introduction. Now apply these skills to your work.

The next section - Key Terms Number 4 - will take you through the skills related to 'Dates'. Read on.

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