Grade 12 History Paper 2 Essays On Success

This is the skills’ based component of the exams:

  • You have been taught one prescribed subject, and it consists of two case studies.
  • Your exam will include all 5 prescribed subjects so be sure to answer the correct questions.
  • Your exam will only cover one of the prescribed subjects.  Even though your teacher compared the two studies, the exams do not do this.
  • There will be two booklets – one with sources and one with questions.  If you don’t already have it, request a copy of the specimen paper so you know what to expect.
  • You will have 5 minutes reading time with all history exams.
  • Use the reading time to review the topic of the paper, look at the questions and start reading through the sources.
    • There are 4 questions
    • There are 4 sources
  • You have one hour for the exam so be sure to keep track of time.  If you spend too much time on the first question you will not have enough time for the last question.
  • Answer the questions in order; the first ones are easier, and by the time that you reach the last question you will have used all 4 sources.
  • Suggested timing for the exam:
    • First question (1, 5, 9, 13, 17): two parts: a & b – 5 points total – 10 minutes maximum
    • Second question (2, 6, 14, 18): source evaluation (OPCVL) – 4 points total – 10 minutes max
    • Third question (3, 7, 15, 19): comparing two sources – 6 points total – 15 minutes
    • Fourth question (4, 8, 16, 20): mini essay – 9 points total – 25 minutes
  • Consult the markscheme, and in particular, pay attention to the markbands for the third and fourth questions as they demonstrate the necessity of using sources, and own knowledge
  • Ask your teacher for help if you are confused with any of this.
  • You are not allowed to leave this exam early so use the entire hour; if you complete the exam early, review your work.

Paper 2: World History Topics

This is the concept-based component of the exams:

  • Review the specimen paper;  there are 24 questions in 12 topic areas; it is fine if you can only answer 3 or 4 of those questions, after all you only have to answer 2.
  • Review with the World History Topics that you have covered.
    • Look at the major themes and prescribed content
    • Since there are only 2 questions per topic you need to know all of the major themes and prescribed content for each case study.
    • In most instances you should have at least 3 cases studies
    • You must have knowledge of two different regions.
  • Outline how to use the 5-minute reading time.
  • With 1 1/2  hours they have 45 minutes per essay.
  • Remember to answer two questions from two different topics.
  • Go over essay-writing techniques:
    • Planning is very important: draft an outline, make a Venn diagram or create a mind map.
    • Mnemonics work well, and all teachers have their own; review those
    • Introduction: how do you begin your essay?  how do you ensure the examiner knows where you are going in your essay?
    • Body: stick to any roadmap you provided in the introduction; treat each argument as a mini-essay; have clear topic sentences that maintain focus on the question; advance your arguments with evidence and explanation of the evidence; try to provide different perspectives on your arguments but have an opinion that you have supported; link all arguments back to the question.
    • Conclusion: an essay cannot score higher than a 9 without a conclusion, and will probably score worse than that so include a conclusion that is consistent with your arguments.  It does not have to be long, but it should be there.
  • Review the command terms: compare and contrast; discuss; evaluate; examine, to what extent.
  • Think about two 42-minute essays with the remaining 8 for planning.
  • Use all 90 minutes.

Paper 3: HL option

This is the content-focused component of the exams:

  • Review the essay-writing components of Paper 2.
  • You have an evening before Paper 3 to review HL option-specific content.  Use it wisely.
  • Go over the content that you have covered.  Look at the sections of the guide that show everything you must know to respond effectively to any answer in those sections.
  • Look at the specimen paper: there are 36 questions on 18 topics.  You only need to answer 3, and you only need to know 3 sections.
  • You can answer any three questions; two from one section and one from another, or three from three separate sections.
  • With 2 1/2 hours you have 50 minutes per essay.
  • Plan on 3 45-minute essays with 5 minutes planning time.
  • Part of the planning time should be a mental break; don’t be afraid to clear your head.  Take your bathroom break after you complete an essay – not in the middle of one if you can help it.
  • Pace yourselves – this is exam is partly an endurance test.

Congratulate yourself: you have done a lot of work over the past two years and this is your opportunity to show this.  However, don’t let your IB results define you.  That is only one piece of the picture that is you.

Keep calm and carry on!




Success: The Myth

by Feross Aboukhadijeh, 11th grade

Do you know someone rich and famous? Is he confident, popular, and joyful all of the time—the epitome of mainstream success? Or, on the other hand, is he stressed, having second thoughts about his life choices, and unsure about the meaning of his life? I am willing to be that it is the second one. Mainstream marketing and media have effectively brainwashed our society into accepting a false, even potentially dangerous definition of success. Marketers want us to believe that having lots of money, living in a big house, and owning all of the latest cars, fashions, and technology is the key to happiness, and hence, success. This overstated, falsely advertised myth is hardly ever the case in real life. True success requires respect, appreciation, integrity, and patience—all of which are traits that by human nature are genuinely difficult to attain—especially in the face of modern marketers who relentlessly deceive us, control our thoughts, and usurp our independence in order to increase their bottom line.

Marketers want us to believe that living a selfish life, involving nothing but the pursuit of money and fame will bring success and happiness. Sadly, this is not true. Money is comparable to the often-mentioned new toy—fun while it is brand new and fresh, but terribly boring and unexciting after a few hours of play. Though money can buy conveniences and comforts, one needs much more than superficial luxuries to live a successful, well-balanced life. Money does make life easier—but it does not necessarily make it better. For example, money can not make one knowledgeable or wise – that only comes with hard work and committed study. And money can not help one forge a long-term relationship with husband or wife – that only comes through love, commitment, and sacrifice. All the money in the world cannot teach respect or courtesy – that only comes with a good up-bringing and a strong concern for the feelings of others. Can money give one the gift of patience or leadership or appreciation or courage or friendship or even generosity? I don’t think so. All of these traits—knowledge, wisdom, love, respect, patience—are essential aspects of a successful person’s life. Money can not assist in the attainment of any of these vital traits! Money merely detracts from the pursuit of success by providing distraction, temptation, and corruption. Therefore the marketer’s illegitimate claim that money is tantamount to success can be easily disproved. There is no elevator to success – you have to take the stairs.

Similarly, popularity and fame are hardly ever synonymous with success. Mind-numbing advertisements that are incessantly flaunted to Americans have become ingrained into memory and habit, altering the accepted definition of success into something shame-worthy. “Success” has been sadly commercialized to represent fame and popularity. Ironically, the most well-liked and popular people often have less confidence, talent, and freedom than those who choose to follow the compass of their hearts instead of the mainstream culture. In the words of Tony Long, a journalist for Wired News, “What is a hipster, after all, other than a successful slave to the dictates of the pop culture police?” A “hipster” is merely a mindless conformist locked in a hopeless struggle to keep up with the current fads. This commercialized vision of success has already extinguished the originality in most Americans and turned us into a nation of allegorical sheep. Contrary to the popular myth, money does not buy happiness or make a successful person.

When a person allows his mind to be restrained by mainstream television, magazines, and the internet, becoming successful is an impossible task. Fortunately, there is a way to stop this disgraceful masquerade before all Americans end up deprived of their wool—or worse—sent to the slaughterhouse. In order to return to the traditional definition of success, Americans must cast off the lifestyle that they have been force-fed and build a better one! Rather than using money and popularity as the method to achieve the ever-so elusive success, Americans should seek simpler, more effective solutions that might not be obvious at first glance. Ralph Waldo Emerson gave priceless insight when he wrote:

To laugh often and much;

To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;

To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;

To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;

To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.

This is to have succeeded.

Emerson’s quote provides a paradigm of success—a model to be admired and strived for. Emerson teaches that learning to appreciate the subtleties in life can make it that much more enjoyable and interesting. In addition, volunteering time and energy to good causes, like helping the community, not only benefits others, but brings happiness and satisfaction. Furthermore, learning how to act respectably and admirably in difficult situations can make life smoother by helping to avoid unnecessary conflicts and spark lifelong friendships. Moreover, learning patience and developing leadership skills can help one to gain a better understanding of life, make well-informed decisions, and form healthy opinions – all of which are essential to becoming a successful person. In the words of Bill FitzPatrick, founder of the American Success Institute, a successful person is “strong when toughness is required and, at the same time, patient when understanding is needed.”It is this kind of sound judgment and reasoning that sets the exceptionally successful people apart from the mediocre.

At this point, a reader may be thinking “Wow! It takes all that to be truly successful? Maybe I’m not meant to be successful.” or “This ‘success’ thing is just too much work. Is it worth it?” Well, to answer these questions in brief: yes. It is not easy to become successful and hardly anyone is truly successful – but it is a noble goal to strive for. Just like everything else in life, becoming successful takes practice; no one becomes a success overnight. With courage and hope our society can forget the marketer’s inadequate definition of success and work to attain true success by modeling respect, appreciation, integrity, and patience – the keys to happiness and success.

Works Cited

FitzPatrick, Bill. "Action Principles." American Success Institute. 12 Dec 2006 <>.

Long, Tony. "You Say You Want a Revolution?" [Podcast entry] The Luddite. 06 July 2006. 12 Dec 2006 <,71096-0.html>.

Waldo, Ralph Waldo. "Philosophy of Teaching." UW. 12 Dec 2006 <>.

Aboukhadijeh, Feross. "Sample Definition Essay - "Success"" Study Notes, LLC., 17 Nov. 2012. Web. 10 Mar. 2018. <>.

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