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IB History Exams


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#1 Russel Tarr

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Posted 12 May 2011 - 03:12 PM

I've just seen my students after taking Paper 1 / Paper 2.

Their initial impression:
Paper 1 - Very nice
Paper 2 - An absolute hellish monstrosity of narrow questions.

Anyone else had any impressions yet?

"There's an old saying about those who forget history. I don't remember it, but it's good" - Stephen Colbert

#2 Guest_Nick Dennis_*

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Posted 12 May 2011 - 04:27 PM

No, but will ask my HoD if he has them. I thought Afghanistan was a likely candidate for the crisis in communism route...

#3 Guest_Nick Dennis_*

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Posted 12 May 2011 - 06:34 PM

Students thought Paper 1 (Crisis in Communism) went well and Paper 2 was okay. Just have to wait for HL tomorrow...

#4 GraysonM

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Posted 13 May 2011 - 08:25 AM

I thought P1 was fair if a bit obscure.

I'll have a closer look at P2 this afternoon.

#5 Russel Tarr

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Posted 16 May 2011 - 10:51 AM

Here's my favourite essay title from Paper 3 this year.

"There were two revolutions in Russia in 1917 because of the weakness of the Provisional Government". To what extent do you agree with this statement?

How exactly the February Revolution can be blamed on the Provisional Government, which only came into being afterwards, is completely beyond me and, more to the point, my students - who came out of the exam not at all sure how they should have approached this!

"There's an old saying about those who forget history. I don't remember it, but it's good" - Stephen Colbert

#6 mikel

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Posted 16 May 2011 - 11:31 AM

"There were two revolutions in Russia in 1917 because of the weakness of the Provisional Government". To what extent do you agree with this statement?

I agree that the wording is confusing and the examiners should have as well, but you COULD interpret it as asking something like, "There were two revolutions in Russia in 1917 because, after the first, the PG was so weak that another was unavoidable."

I thought the choice of the London Naval Conference for paper one, coming after the choice of the Anglo-American Guarantee last year was rather unfair. It is a very obscure historical backwater and suggesting that it is of parallel importance with the Suez Crisis (which was the choice of PS2) is just plain silly.
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#7 Russel Tarr

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Posted 16 May 2011 - 01:51 PM

I switched from the "International Relations" option for Paper 1 (largely to avoid duplication of stuff we do in IGCSE) to the Middle East Option, and it looks like it was a canny move this year. I do get the feeling sometimes that the IB board are more concerned with trying to catch the kids out than test their skills against topics they are more likely to feel comfortable with.

Frankly I had to look up the "Anglo American Guarantee" myself when I taught it last year, and it appears to be one of those whimsical additions to the specified content which bears little relation to its actual historical importance compared to what we might regard as much more "important" factors.

"There's an old saying about those who forget history. I don't remember it, but it's good" - Stephen Colbert

#8 Laurence Hicks

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 04:22 PM

You've got a good point there, Russ, because the IBO does appear to like playing silly buggers at times! However, in their defence, it could be argued that this sort of approach ensures that History isn't just another of those dumbed-down Group 3 subjects, and I like to think that, in IB History at least, the top students always end up with the top grades!
"What's so funny about peace, love and understanding?"

#9 Russel Tarr

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 06:18 PM

I just wish that the IB board would avoid "dumbing down" by setting challenging questions rather than badly phrased ones, or ones which are so narrow in focus that it boils down to pot luck as to whether candidates can answer them. I think a question like "Compare and contrast the rise to power of two single-party state rulers of your choice" is sufficiently challenging, for example: instead, this year we got "compare and contrast the rise to power of two right-wing dictators" even though Hitler is the only "specified" right-wing ruler in the syllabus. And just to rub it in, the only straightforward "rule of a dictator" question was ALSO limited to "right-wing". So basically, if you studied Hitler in depth this year (which I refuse to do because most students have been Nazi'd to death at IGCSE) you were laughing. But those of us who studied both the rise and rule of Stalin as a major part of this section of the paper instead were shafted good and proper. This cannot be right as it reduced the process to something of a lottery. Challenging questions are a great way to differentiate; but capricious ones are not the way to go.

"There's an old saying about those who forget history. I don't remember it, but it's good" - Stephen Colbert

#10 Wilson H

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 12:34 PM

I have talked to several teachers in SE Asia and we have all agreed about the narrowness of P1. Several have already contacted IB about this, as will I.




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