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    During my first year in I/GCSE I dropped History for Literature thanks to a teacher who "brainwashed" me, to quote an ex-History teacher. Now I've sought out IB partly because it offers History, and my IB coordinator says I should take History at HL. For someone who hasn't done History in two years, what can I do to prepare?
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    Hello!

    I'm happy that you've decided to pursue History! I also had not taken History for two years prior to IB History, not to mention the History content I learnt before those two years was irrelevant and forgotten. Some of my peers had more prior knowledge about wars and sps than me. Nevertheless, don't worry about it, starting fresh will not put you at a disadvantage. Work hard and you'll make it through in the end.

    Preparing for History HL involves content-memorization and essay writing (or something I endearingly call read-absorb-vomit although it requires more than that in reality)

    Content-memorization
    I would say that History is a rather content-heavy subject so you have to be prepared to memorize a fair number of statistics and facts to be used in your essays. The IB markscheme calls this "detailed specific knowledge" and detailed specific knowledge is what will take you into the 7 point range. Find out how/what helps you study best, what has worked for you in the past, and spend time working hard for History. Personally, I memorize things well through repetition and speaking aloud to myself. Taking notes/summarizing what you're reading can also help you internalize what you study and develop thought processes as well.

    I shall redact the standard "memorize, do not procrastinate, study consistently" advice because everyone knows it and it sort of bores me. Simply put, work hard and you will do well. If you know you should be studying, push yourself to do it.

    Breaking your "journey of studying/revision" to the basics, firstly get a general understanding of the timeline of all the events that occur within your curriculum. I did wars/single-party state rulers/peace-keeping for my curriculum, so there are overlaps between Hitler's rise and the world war two etc. My timeline was something like World War One-> Peace-Keeping->SPS Hitler -> World War Two. I also studied Mao, Stalin and civil wars and used Mao for SPS and Paper 3. Events and Dates of Occurrences (at least the year) are key and form the basics of "detailed knowledge" the IB is looking for.

    With this understanding, you can then move on into the more specific details in each event (e.g. number of deaths in World War One's trench warfare, How much GDP Hitler's policies generated with his four year plans) To clarify this, from a level of "knowledge" to "detailed specific knowledge", it would be

    Hitler started a policy to improve the economy<Hitler started the four year plans<Details about the four year plans with regards to the increases in productions various industries<specific statistics and numbers about products/gdp generation<(depending on the question, perhaps a link to the effectiveness of the plans/link to ideology/comparison)
    Many people can say "a lot of people died in world war one", but it's how they died, the strategies/technology used, how many died that you must be familiar with to help you score.

    The IB recommended textbooks are pretty okay with regards to content, and if your school provides notes for you that's a plus. I would advise to make your own notes, and source from history books from libraries as well, because it helps you to condense all the information you have. Moreover, sourcing for your own facts provides you with detailed specific knowledge about events (unique to your essay) that IB markers will recognize and award you marks accordingly. You'll be using Historian arguments to enhance your essays in the future as well.

    *A little note here to say that you can't memorize everything, and that's reality, but do your best to memorize enough of what's relevant and you'll be fine(:

    You should have enough time to prepare for your exams within your IB years, so don't stress yourself out and rush before you even begin your IB journey Simply be consistent with your studies. Do prepare ahead if you want to though

    Essay-Writing
    The other half of History, or technically >2/3 of your papers, is your essay writing. With the knowledge you have from studying, you have to write argumentative essays based on the question you choose out of the selections offered. There are a few different essay question types and I'm sure your teachers should teach you how to handle them. The most generalized essay structure would be intro>factor one->factor two->factor three->conclusion. Within the essay you will also be comparing the factors to one another, weighing them through counter arguments and counter-counter arguments, and then concluding. I feel that the two more important things you have to note are 1) make sure you are addressing the question at all times. The facts you use in your essays have to supplement and enhance your arguments. Do not drop facts that have no relevance at all 2) make sure your arguments and counter-arguments are balanced, albeit supporting your stand a little more. Don't underestimate the importance of a good counter argument, because it shows complex understanding of situations, and enhances your argument when you counter the counter argument.

    There are other things to say about essay-writing, but I'll leave at this for now because this post is already long and your teacher should teach you about it. Let me know if there are parts of the essay that you have questions about in the future. You will get better at it over time, as long as you get the structure right, so work hard!

    Lastly, speaking from personal experience, getting a History HL 7 was the most rewarding 7 out of all my subjects because of the time and effort I spent preparing for it, and being able to take on the subject without prior experience and do well. That being said, work hard but don't be too fixated on results. The journey is it's own reward. I hope that you will not be daunted, and will enjoy your History HL experience as much as I did (or more) (:

    I wish you all the best with IB! Feel free to ask if you have other questions.

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    (Original post by hipsterrapunzel)
    Hello!

    I'm happy that you've decided to pursue History! I also had not taken History for two years prior to IB History, not to mention the History content I learnt before those two years was irrelevant and forgotten. Some of my peers had more prior knowledge about wars and sps than me. Nevertheless, don't worry about it, starting fresh will not put you at a disadvantage. Work hard and you'll make it through in the end.

    Preparing for History HL involves content-memorization and essay writing (or something I endearingly call read-absorb-vomit although it requires more than that in reality)

    Content-memorization
    I would say that History is a rather content-heavy subject so you have to be prepared to memorize a fair number of statistics and facts to be used in your essays. The IB markscheme calls this "detailed specific knowledge" and detailed specific knowledge is what will take you into the 7 point range. Find out how/what helps you study best, what has worked for you in the past, and spend time working hard for History. Personally, I memorize things well through repetition and speaking aloud to myself. Taking notes/summarizing what you're reading can also help you internalize what you study and develop thought processes as well.

    I shall redact the standard "memorize, do not procrastinate, study consistently" advice because everyone knows it and it sort of bores me. Simply put, work hard and you will do well. If you know you should be studying, push yourself to do it.

    Breaking your "journey of studying/revision" to the basics, firstly get a general understanding of the timeline of all the events that occur within your curriculum. I did wars/single-party state rulers/peace-keeping for my curriculum, so there are overlaps between Hitler's rise and the world war two etc. My timeline was something like World War One-> Peace-Keeping->SPS Hitler -> World War Two. I also studied Mao, Stalin and civil wars and used Mao for SPS and Paper 3. Events and Dates of Occurrences (at least the year) are key and form the basics of "detailed knowledge" the IB is looking for.

    With this understanding, you can then move on into the more specific details in each event (e.g. number of deaths in World War One's trench warfare, How much GDP Hitler's policies generated with his four year plans) To clarify this, from a level of "knowledge" to "detailed specific knowledge", it would be

    Hitler started a policy to improve the economy<Hitler started the four year plans<Details about the four year plans with regards to the increases in productions various industries<specific statistics and numbers about products/gdp generation<(depending on the question, perhaps a link to the effectiveness of the plans/link to ideology/comparison)
    Many people can say "a lot of people died in world war one", but it's how they died, the strategies/technology used, how many died that you must be familiar with to help you score.

    The IB recommended textbooks are pretty okay with regards to content, and if your school provides notes for you that's a plus. I would advise to make your own notes, and source from history books from libraries as well, because it helps you to condense all the information you have. Moreover, sourcing for your own facts provides you with detailed specific knowledge about events (unique to your essay) that IB markers will recognize and award you marks accordingly. You'll be using Historian arguments to enhance your essays in the future as well.

    *A little note here to say that you can't memorize everything, and that's reality, but do your best to memorize enough of what's relevant and you'll be fine(:

    You should have enough time to prepare for your exams within your IB years, so don't stress yourself out and rush before you even begin your IB journey Simply be consistent with your studies. Do prepare ahead if you want to though

    Essay-Writing
    The other half of History, or technically >2/3 of your papers, is your essay writing. With the knowledge you have from studying, you have to write argumentative essays based on the question you choose out of the selections offered. There are a few different essay question types and I'm sure your teachers should teach you how to handle them. The most generalized essay structure would be intro>factor one->factor two->factor three->conclusion. Within the essay you will also be comparing the factors to one another, weighing them through counter arguments and counter-counter arguments, and then concluding. I feel that the two more important things you have to note are 1) make sure you are addressing the question at all times. The facts you use in your essays have to supplement and enhance your arguments. Do not drop facts that have no relevance at all 2) make sure your arguments and counter-arguments are balanced, albeit supporting your stand a little more. Don't underestimate the importance of a good counter argument, because it shows complex understanding of situations, and enhances your argument when you counter the counter argument.

    There are other things to say about essay-writing, but I'll leave at this for now because this post is already long and your teacher should teach you about it. Let me know if there are parts of the essay that you have questions about in the future. You will get better at it over time, as long as you get the structure right, so work hard!

    Lastly, speaking from personal experience, getting a History HL 7 was the most rewarding 7 out of all my subjects because of the time and effort I spent preparing for it, and being able to take on the subject without prior experience and do well. That being said, work hard but don't be too fixated on results. The journey is it's own reward. I hope that you will not be daunted, and will enjoy your History HL experience as much as I did (or more) (:

    I wish you all the best with IB! Feel free to ask if you have other questions.

    Thank you so much for this! I take History SL and it is definitely one of my harder subjects, especially because the marking seems so subjective. How did you deal with having to include historiography?
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    You are most welcome!

    I agree that the terms in the History markscheme itself aren't especially specific. The markscheme doesn't define "detailed specific knowledge" (and other terms) so it might seem subjective. That's the nature of essay-based subjects like History and Lit:P Do note that IB History markers practice standardized marking so they ensure that standards are the same across the board based on the markscheme. Don't worry because the marking will be fair. What you can do is to familiarize yourself with the requirements for the high mark ranges and make sure to cover everything in your essay. There are reasons why you miss a certain grade. E.g. if I recall correctly,without historiography, you can't reach the 17-20 range.

    I'm highlighting this because I didn't stress it on enough previously andI hope iodised will read it as well.
    Doing well for History really comes down to practice with essays and arguments once you know your content. The content and analysis inyour essay are EQUALLY important. (I would argue that analysis is more important:/)You can't dump facts and you can't form arguments without evidence. Your evidence forms your foundation but always analyze your evidence by comparing it to your other factors. History essays score you on the depth of your analysis and sophisticated understanding of the relationships between factors(based on your question) so they're looking for your ability to form substantiated arguments for your stand. For example, causes of world war two. Factors can include rise of Hitler, Failure of LON appeasement, Failure of TOV, Rise of Japan. Notice how the failure of the TOV and LON supported Hitler's warpath, but yet without Hitler's radicalism such failures may not have caused the war? Arguments can go either way based on your stand as long as you have good evidence to support it. Practice,Practice, and Practice more. You will get better as you develop a stronger understanding of the relationships between things you learn.

    Note that the grade boundaries for History are relatively lower as compared to other subjects, given the nature of the marking of History essays so don't be disheartened if you score low at first. I used to score 6-8/20 sometimes. 10-12 is a good range to be in and 12-16 is where you want to be by the end. Getting into the 17-20 range is a miracle-ly good and 20/20 is practically impossible. If you can score about 12-14/20 across all your essays, you should be comfortable to get a 7. (assuming your Paper 1 and IA are really good and pull up your percentage. (Edit: see next post below)

    Getting to your question (after I've rambled a lot:P), you can do research for historiography either online or at libraries. Online research is the fastest and good choice for lazy people like me(: Libraries are good because you'll be studying for your content anyway and can read historians' books and pick out suitable quotes to memorize. You can learn new perspectives from how historians present their arguments and use the very same arguments in your essays. Also, you may want to work in a group because you'll be able to collate quotes and stances for many historians more efficiently. I shared a lot of notes/historiography with my classmates it made the whole process much easier. I mainly did online research for quotes and only towards the last few months of IB did I go study at libraries and read history books for notes. Historiography wasn't even my main objective, but I did get good quotes here and there simply from revision. Do not stress yourself out over historiography. Reading one whole historian's book can be draining, not to mention many. You don't have to go too in-depth. Skim for particular topics and pick what's relevant to the arguments you want to make.All you have to do is to understand the historian's stance, main reason, preferably get a good quote, and that's it.

    I like to collate all of them into one table and sort them by factors.Remember that you're using historiography to enhance your arguments.So you can sort them out by factors and which historian supports a certain point of view e.g. “TOV was the main cause of World War Two”. Another way you can do this is to sort them out by Historians. For example, Richard Overy or AJP Taylor. Some historians have stances on many things ranging from the causes of war to the single-party state rulers. This makes memorizing historian names easier as well.

    Presentation:You have to integrate the historiography seemlessly into your argument.This is the part which really decides how much you actually have to research so it's important! I found it easier to include historiography either at the start, or near the end of my argument/counter-argument for a particular factor,so that I could use my statistics to show how I agreed with the historian. If your paragraph is long, it's possible to do it in the middle as well but I didn't try that. An example of how I did this would be [insert factor+evidence+analysis on why TOV caused world war two] -> [insert historian's view/quote] -> [This can seen to be true/agreed with because (quote own analysis)]-> [conclusion].That's all. (note that this is only for one factor) You don't have to quote the historian's whole book. Simply a quote or a point of view.Moreover, you also don't have to use historiography for all your arguments or counters. A fair amount is enough. In my opinion, doing so for half of your arguments/counters is already a lot/really good. I could only use 2-3 quotes for some essays last time before i started mugging like mad. Just try to balance it out between arguments and counters as usual.

    Stepping back from historiography again, understand that historiography makes good essays better. A good essay minus historiography can probably hit the 10-12 range already. I'm skeptical that essays with poor arguments can utilise historiography properly. Point being: Get all the basics right first. Make sure your analysis, arguments,counter-arguments, and counter-counter-arguments are solid. And then when you integrate your historiography it will really make your essay shine(:

    That's all I have for now. Do let me know if there's any parts you need clarification with or if you have other questions.
    All the best!
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    (Original post by hipsterrapunzel)
    You are most welcome!

    I agree that the terms in the History markscheme itself aren't especially specific. The markscheme doesn't define "detailed specific knowledge" (and other terms) so it might seem subjective. That's the nature of essay-based subjects like History and Lit:P Do note that IB History markers practice standardized marking so they ensure that standards are the same across the board based on the markscheme. Don't worry because the marking will be fair. What you can do is to familiarize yourself with the requirements for the high mark ranges and make sure to cover everything in your essay. There are reasons why you miss a certain grade. E.g. if I recall correctly,without historiography, you can't reach the 17-20 range.

    I'm highlighting this because I didn't stress it on enough previously andI hope iodised will read it as well.
    Doing well for History really comes down to practice with essays and arguments once you know your content. The content and analysis inyour essay are EQUALLY important. (I would argue that analysis is more important:/)You can't dump facts and you can't form arguments without evidence. Your evidence forms your foundation but always analyze your evidence by comparing it to your other factors. History essays score you on the depth of your analysis and sophisticated understanding of the relationships between factors(based on your question) so they're looking for your ability to form substantiated arguments for your stand. For example, causes of world war two. Factors can include rise of Hitler, Failure of LON appeasement, Failure of TOV, Rise of Japan. Notice how the failure of the TOV and LON supported Hitler's warpath, but yet without Hitler's radicalism such failures may not have caused the war? Arguments can go either way based on your stand as long as you have good evidence to support it. Practice,Practice, and Practice more. You will get better as you develop a stronger understanding of the relationships between things you learn.

    Note that the grade boundaries for History are relatively lower as compared to other subjects, given the nature of the marking of History essays so don't be disheartened if you score low at first. I used to score 6-8/20 sometimes. 10-12 is a good range to be in and 12-16 is where you want to be by the end. Getting into the 17-20 range is a miracle-ly good and 20/20 is practically impossible. If you can score about 12/20 across all your essays, you should be comfortable to get a 7.

    Getting to your question (after I've rambled a lot:P), you can do research for historiography either online or at libraries. Online research is the fastest and good choice for lazy people like me(: Libraries are good because you'll be studying for your content anyway and can read historians' books and pick out suitable quotes to memorize. You can learn new perspectives from how historians present their arguments and use the very same arguments in your essays. Also, you may want to work in a group because you'll be able to collate quotes and stances for many historians more efficiently. I shared a lot of notes/historiography with my classmates it made the whole process much easier. I mainly did online research for quotes and only towards the last few months of IB did I go study at libraries and read history books for notes. Historiography wasn't even my main objective, but I did get good quotes here and there simply from revision. Do not stress yourself out over historiography. Reading one whole historian's book can be draining, not to mention many. You don't have to go too in-depth. Skim for particular topics and pick what's relevant to the arguments you want to make.All you have to do is to understand the historian's stance, main reason, preferably get a good quote, and that's it.

    I like to collate all of them into one table and sort them by factors.Remember that you're using historiography to enhance your arguments.So you can sort them out by factors and which historian supports a certain point of view e.g. “TOV was the main cause of World War Two”. Another way you can do this is to sort them out by Historians. For example, Richard Overy or AJP Taylor. Some historians have stances on many things ranging from the causes of war to the single-party state rulers. This makes memorizing historian names easier as well.

    Presentation:You have to integrate the historiography seemlessly into your argument.This is the part which really decides how much you actually have to research so it's important! I found it easier to include historiography either at the start, or near the end of my argument/counter-argument for a particular factor,so that I could use my statistics to show how I agreed with the historian. If your paragraph is long, it's possible to do it in the middle as well but I didn't try that. An example of how I did this would be [insert factor+evidence+analysis on why TOV caused world war two] -> [insert historian's view/quote] -> [This can seen to be true/agreed with because (quote own analysis)]-> [conclusion].That's all. (note that this is only for one factor) You don't have to quote the historian's whole book. Simply a quote or a point of view.Moreover, you also don't have to use historiography for all your arguments or counters. A fair amount is enough. In my opinion, doing so for half of your arguments/counters is already a lot/really good. I could only use 2-3 quotes for some essays last time before i started mugging like mad. Just try to balance it out between arguments and counters as usual.

    Stepping back from historiography again, understand that historiography makes good essays better. A good essay minus historiography can probably hit the 10-12 range already. I'm skeptical that essays with poor arguments can utilise historiography properly. Point being: Get all the basics right first. Make sure your analysis, arguments,counter-arguments, and counter-counter-arguments are solid. And then when you integrate your historiography it will really make your essay shine(:

    That's all I have for now. Do let me know if there's any parts you need clarification with or if you have other questions.
    All the best!
    Thank you so so much! After a year of history lessons, you've actually helped me understand how I should be approaching historiography. I think for now I'll focus on getting down my arguments and analysis and then I can try to bring in more historiography. Thanks!
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    You are welcome!

    To correct myself about the essay marks, for my year we were assuming that the boundary for 7 was approximately 68% so 14/20 for each essay would make a 7 absolutely safe. Assuming that your paper one scores close to or full marks and you do well for your IA, it pulls up your percentage and gives more allowances to score lower for one or two essays. A 20/25 for paper one already makes it an 80% to balance out your essay marks. PS: You should be aiming for full marks or close to that for Paper 1. It is very doable with practice.

    Nevertheless, don't worry too much about the math and simply do your best! For me, my history marks improved gradually throughout my journey. From 6-8/20s at the start, I made it to a Grade 6 for my prelims with 9-12/20 essays, and finally a Grade 7 for my IB. I don't know how much my essays actually scored for IB but I assume they made it to the 13-16/20 range in the end(: I wrote 7-8 side essays for IB when I usually write 5-6 sides. Your Paper 1 and IA will also play a part in pulling your percentage up! It's a gradual-improvement-thing and your essays will get better and better as you practice more. So keep working hard and you will make it in the end(:

    Best wishes for your History! Feel free to ask me if you have any questions in the future(:
 
 
 
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