10 Final Tips for “Papers 1 & 2 Eve”



Dear class of 2013,

Among all the other tips and training you have endured over the past 2 years, here are 10 final tips for your review:


1. Make sure you review these materials (all from your review folder), at least briefly, as a part of your final skim and scan of the content:


Remind yourself you know exactly what to do on Paper 1. Remember–proper form equals a stellar score!


2. And also review:


Amusing comments.


3. In the document hyperlinked in #2, read through the prompts in the topics we covered and note how many of these you could easily answer (perhaps with a little review of the POs for a refresher on concrete data). Note the careful instruction on properly answering the particular details of each prompt (which we cannot predict)–especially the one on wars from the “second half of the century.” Vietnam, Korea, Algeria: good to go, but you mention WWI and WWII and your essay is done:


“The Cold War cannot be used as an example – though proxy wars within the Cold War are legitimate choices.

If only one war is chosen, mark out of a maximum of [12 marks]. The wars must be from the second half of the century. Credit for wars before this cannot be given.”

Stay alert! Stay alive! Remember the Cold War is not a war!!

The first person to ask me if Greenland is split 50-50 between Europe and the Americas…  



4. Also, be aware of questions that require you to pick two examples from different IB regions:


  • Americas

  • Europe AND the Middle East

  • Asia

  • Africa


So, 6-Day War and Vietnam War is a go. (Look!) But Indian Decolonization and Vietnamese Decolonization are NOT. Neither is Algerian Resistance and any other African example. Don’t be lulled into thinking Algeria is in the Middle East! At the same time, remember that according to IB, EGYPT IS CONSIDERED THE MIDDLE EAST.

Construction of parameters, I tell ya.


If you have doubts tomorrow, make sure you look at the map on the cover sheet.



5. Remember to make use of the structures we have studied: War of the World, world-system theory, rising expectations, metropolitan/international/national/collaborative elite explanations, subaltern studies etc. These are the theoretical frameworks that take your essay into the higher realms–because they ensure you have a theory-based analytical approach, not just a narrative.


6. Remember to use the Historical Cs whenever you can–because they ensure you display a structural-analysis approach, not just a narrative.


7. Remember no one who has strayed from our focus topics has been successful on any of those essays. DON’T STRAY. Once again, there is “knowing” and “IB Knowing.” We didn’t focus on Democratic states, so avoid them! Just because you think you know Civil Rights history in the USA does not mean you are ready to contextualize it globally!


That may not be the best multi-media tip. Please don’t attempt to use the Force.  



8.  Do not expect your prompts to be worded exactly as our essays over the past two years. Adapt. Be light on your feet. Re-read tip #3.

9. Be aware that you know more than you think you know. Today I spoke to one of your classmates about the social causes of the Mexican Revolution before 1910 and she told me she didn’t really know anything about what happened before 1910.

Ensuing conversation:

  • Do you know about the working classes? 
  • The miners and the farmers and the ranchers and the urban workers? Yeah. 
  • And do you know the leaders who advocated for them? 
  • Yeah. 
  • And do you know the writers who exposed these issues? 
  • The Magonistas! 
  • Well, yeah, the Magons anyway.

And that’s without even broaching the Porfiriato, rising expectations, Madero’s different platform, the role of the USA and Cockcroft.

You people are ready. Like grad school ready. Like submitting your dissertation ready. Like stealing my job ready.

Stay away from my paycheck.

10. A test says absolutely nothing about you as a person.


Author: williamjtolley

IB Coordinator, IBEN Workshop Leader, Examiner, and DP/MYP Teacher | Inquiry, Mastery & Culturally Responsive-Learning Advocate

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