International School History - International Baccalaureate - MYP History

MYP5 Last update - 09 November 2017  
eAssessment 2017 - Revision
MYP5 Exam preparation for History 2017

The content of the eAssessment

Before getting started on the history, have a look at these videos that might help you with the IDU.

The great difficulty of eAssessment in MYP5 history is that no historical content is specified. There are no particular historical events that you need to learn about; no names, no places and no dates. Only 30 marks out of the 120 available are awarded for your historical knowledge and understanding (Criterion A). Most of what you will be assessed on are the skills and approaches to learning that you have acquired in studying the MYP in general. And yet almost all the questions require you to apply some historical knowledge; the more detailed and precise the better.

The syllabus lists a series of themes that cover topics you will have studied this year and last.  They are:

Superpowers, empires and supra-national alliances and organizations • Significant individuals • Warfare and peacekeeping • Independence and national identity • Rights and social protest • Industrialization, industry and labour • Trade, aid and exchange • Intellectual and ideological movements/developments • Pioneers, innovators and developers • Medicine and health • Individual, household and daily life • Social, cultural and artistic developments.

Your textbook covers each of these topics. In addition, one of the three sections of the exam paper (see below) will be based on this year’s global context theme: Scientific and technical innovation. The focus question is: How do we understand the world in which we live? And the focus of the exploration within this global context is: Adaptation, ingenuity and progress.

The IB syllabus says ‘Students will explore the natural world and its laws; the interaction between people and the natural world; how humans use their understanding of scientific principles; the impact of scientific and technological advances on communities and environments; the impact of environments on human activity; how humans adapt environments to their needs.’

Certain topics and case studies might be usefully learnt in this content: The impact of industrial revolution and its innovations (Textbook Chapter 1 and Chapter 4 pp.70-73) is an obvious area to focus on, as are the pioneers like Thomas Edison and Josephine Cochrane from Chapter 2. (pp.37-39). The scientific improvements in medicine are an alternative focus (Chapter 5) or the technological developments which transformed warfare (p160-1).


How the exam is structured

The exam is structured in exactly the same way as the mock exam you sat. It is important that you spend more time on the questions that are worth more and that you don’t spend too long on the initial questions that are worth less. For example, the last question will be a debatable question worth 30 marks on its own = 25% of total marks = 30 minutes of allotted time.



Main criteria assessed

Criterion marks

















Thinking critically


















The first section is concerned with how you can ask relevant historical questions.

·         formulate and justify research questions, sub-questions, formulate action plans, or sections of an action plan

·         methods, sources of information and presentations

·         evaluate the process or results of an investigation.


Here you need present information and ideas effectively using an appropriate style for the audience and purpose and in a way that is appropriate to the specified format. Types of response could include:


·         Creative writing

·         Blog

·         Article

·         Letter

·         Presentation

·         Poster/infographic

·         Speech

Thinking critically

The final task assesses your ability to think about and discuss issues, arguments and perspectives through structured questions culminating in an essay. You are also asked to demonstrate knowledge and understanding, either from their course or from information presented in source material.


On the day

General comments based on your mock experience and the examiner’s report from last year. 

·      Read all the questions carefully before attempting any of them. There is no point choosing historical content in answer to question one (e.g. World War II) if you cannot use that example to answer question two (e.g. what were the main consequences of the war you identified in question one) It is all about ATBQ. You must answer the question set, read the key terms very carefully. Explain does not mean describe and evaluate does not mean explain.

·      The first section of the exam (investigating) will require you to write IB style questions and sub-questions (factual, conceptual and debatable). You will need to be able to justify why you have chosen these questions, e.g. what makes the question relevant? 

·     You will need to be able to identify the utility of historical sources. When asked to evaluate an historical source always apply the OPVL model. Always focus on developing the relative value and limitations of the source. Use my 3R model to help with this, and if stuck always concentrate on the value/limitation of the type of source you are examining (e.g. diary is useful because it was not intended for publication etc.) or its provenance (who, what, when = why?).

·      Come prepared to use factual knowledge (name, date, and place) which can be applied to the question you are answering. Avoid vague explanations.

·      All extended writing tasks must be well organized. Remember to produce an introduction and conclusion and to PEE your paragraphs. You have written lots of essays in class and at home. Apply what you have learnt in exam. Make sure there is enough detail and depth in your answer to allow the examiner to credit your response.


Command Terms


Identify – Remember something relevant from your own knowledge, ‘Identify a cause of one war you have studied’.


Describe – Show what you know about events, causes, consequences, historical characters etc., e.g. ‘Describe how military alliances were established before one war you have studied.’


Explain – Give a number of reasons for something, e.g. ‘Why do wars start’?


Compare and contrast - Give an account of similarities and differences between two (or more) items or situations, referring to both (all) of them, e.g. ‘compare and contrast the causes of two wars you have studied’.


Examine - Consider an argument or concept in a way that uncovers the assumptions and interrelationships of the issue, e.g. ‘In reference to one war that you have studied, examine the reasons why the war began.’


Evaluate, to what extent, how far, (Debatable question) - Consider the merits or otherwise of an argument or concept. Opinions and conclusions should be presented clearly and supported with appropriate evidence and sound argument, ‘to what extent was ideology the most important cause of any war you have studied’




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