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Surviving IB History, help needed

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Guest Mo Rahman

My first post as a member woo :) Hope I'm doing this right...Anyway, as the title mentions, I need a little guidance with my History HL course.

I've just finished my mocks for my first year of the IB and through all the crammed revision realised the breadth of the subject. The problem I have though is that unlike most others in my class, I haven't studied at GCSE and as a learner/budding philosopher, I'm not much of a small details person. Now, as anyone here should know, a lot of well, all history essays require facts, dates and really specific details which leads to my first problem. I am terrible at learning numbers like dates and the number of deaths. I've tried but every time I get to an exam, everything just flies out of my head and I get dates mixed up so I don't bother using them.

In addition, History is very much analytical. Unfortunately, as I last did History 3 years ago, my brain is still stuck in the "story-telling" mode where in essays, I tend to just talk about the story rather than analyse. But there has been some progress here though I could do with some help.

Now you may be asking, if I haven't been interested in History for the past 3 years, why now? Well, all I had to choose from was Business & Management and History. As I am hoping to get into Cambridge to study Philosophy, I believe History will do better to prepare me for the debating and essay writing.

Sorry for the essay but help would be much appreciated. Thank you very much in advance :D

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Welcome, new member!!

IB is a 20 month programme, so the key is to study everyday :) Especially for history... you're going to want to study whatever notes you take that same day. Your teacher is there to help you... so use them! Another important thing you're going to want to do is to read as much as possible. If you already know what you will be learning, such as the different sections you will be covering along the months, take charge and read on your own. Different ways of getting the same information helps with the retention of the information for your exams, so the more the better :)

Also, going old school may not seem so attractive to some, but it sure does help! Create flashcards with important events and dates and quiz yourself here and there. Try to make connections between the events as much as possible. This helps to create links while trying to be analytic.

Having an analytic skill in the IB is, I think, key for a complete success. It's also a really important skill to develop for your TOK business (how did you do in TOK last year?). By making connections while studying, and asking questions in class, it helps you see the big picture :)

So you have connections within a same historical event (unit/chapter/section), and you have to also make connections between the other chapters and such. Look for similarities and differences and list possible reasons for them. This helps you be more "analytical". So, a really simple example of this is Hitler and Mussolini, Nazism Vs. Fascism. What are their similarities? Differences? How did they both take power? How was the populous deceived?

I hope this helps :)

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Seriously, I have the same situation that I am not a small detailed person..

But as highlighted by egr12resa, the first I am going to do is to study regularly everyday.

For example, reading relevant details chapter by chapter. Peace keeping, for example, read about 30 mins or more, if time allows.

Make some notes while reading and sometime refresh the details in your mind. Not necessary to write out, but writing them out is more preferable.

And to further improve on essay writing. You can take past papers to practice and guide you on writing efficiently.

Or you can write essay plans, by clearly write down all the details in point form may help.

Hope it helps! :)

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Guest Mo Rahman

Welcome, new member!!

IB is a 20 month programme, so the key is to study everyday :) Especially for history... you're going to want to study whatever notes you take that same day. Your teacher is there to help you... so use them! Another important thing you're going to want to do is to read as much as possible. If you already know what you will be learning, such as the different sections you will be covering along the months, take charge and read on your own. Different ways of getting the same information helps with the retention of the information for your exams, so the more the better :)

Also, going old school may not seem so attractive to some, but it sure does help! Create flashcards with important events and dates and quiz yourself here and there. Try to make connections between the events as much as possible. This helps to create links while trying to be analytic.

Having an analytic skill in the IB is, I think, key for a complete success. It's also a really important skill to develop for your TOK business (how did you do in TOK last year?). By making connections while studying, and asking questions in class, it helps you see the big picture :)

So you have connections within a same historical event (unit/chapter/section), and you have to also make connections between the other chapters and such. Look for similarities and differences and list possible reasons for them. This helps you be more "analytical". So, a really simple example of this is Hitler and Mussolini, Nazism Vs. Fascism. What are their similarities? Differences? How did they both take power? How was the populous deceived?

I hope this helps :)

Thank you very much. I've started going back over some of my notes making sure I really understand everything to try and make connections. I have one other question though, the current study guides provided by the college are pretty bad with long and boring explanations. Could you please recommend something that may be better for me i.e something that breaks down the important events and really highlights what I need to know. The topics we've covered already are The French Revolution, the Cold War, The Russian Revolution(although I feel I didn't learn anything), Mao and are currently finished Stalin.

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Welcome, new member!!

IB is a 20 month programme, so the key is to study everyday :) Especially for history... you're going to want to study whatever notes you take that same day. Your teacher is there to help you... so use them! Another important thing you're going to want to do is to read as much as possible. If you already know what you will be learning, such as the different sections you will be covering along the months, take charge and read on your own. Different ways of getting the same information helps with the retention of the information for your exams, so the more the better :)

Also, going old school may not seem so attractive to some, but it sure does help! Create flashcards with important events and dates and quiz yourself here and there. Try to make connections between the events as much as possible. This helps to create links while trying to be analytic.

Having an analytic skill in the IB is, I think, key for a complete success. It's also a really important skill to develop for your TOK business (how did you do in TOK last year?). By making connections while studying, and asking questions in class, it helps you see the big picture :)

So you have connections within a same historical event (unit/chapter/section), and you have to also make connections between the other chapters and such. Look for similarities and differences and list possible reasons for them. This helps you be more "analytical". So, a really simple example of this is Hitler and Mussolini, Nazism Vs. Fascism. What are their similarities? Differences? How did they both take power? How was the populous deceived?

I hope this helps :)

Thank you very much. I've started going back over some of my notes making sure I really understand everything to try and make connections. I have one other question though, the current study guides provided by the college are pretty bad with long and boring explanations. Could you please recommend something that may be better for me i.e something that breaks down the important events and really highlights what I need to know. The topics we've covered already are The French Revolution, the Cold War, The Russian Revolution(although I feel I didn't learn anything), Mao and are currently finished Stalin.

The only thing I can recommend is reading on your own. Google has kinda become my best friend, :P Asking help from your teacher also really useful :) Aha, another thing I could recommend is bugging your friend in class (because almost all of us have one of these friends...) who knows just about EVERYTHING about history, to tutor you, or run through everything with you :)

So, game plan:

-Read your notes

-Read on your own (online, library...)

-Talk to your teacher, ask them to clear something up, if they can, for you :)

-For further one-on-one explanations, ask your classmates. Actually, ask anyone who knows history, in general :) (but make sure their sources are reliable!) This can include University majors, University professors, grandparents (I think should work, too!), and also, IB alumni :) Especially those doing who graduated from your school :) They would have also done what you're doing (I would imagine), so just ask them for help! :) They are kind of like the "wise ones", now, so we must learn from them :)

Hope this helps, one more :)

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I'm currently doing some revision - well, I'm taking a much deserved break, really... but let's not split hairs XD - and I've been revising all mu subjects apart from History. And my mock on History is tomorrow. :/

I know that it takes lots of hours to be comletely confident for the exams, even if it's just mocks but I'm struggling to find an enjoyable way to revise it. Normally I manage with writing, and making lists, but whenever I think of doing the same with History, all sense of motivation leaves me.

Any tips on revision? :/

Thanks! :)

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Any tips on revision? :/

Thanks! :)

Hey, I didn't take IB history, but the next best thing ;) IB psychology HL, which requires a lot of small details relating to methods, ethics, researchers (names / years ) etc. Besides reading the textbook, what I found the best way to revise is to simply make notes, but that's just how I am; it's different for everyone. I have to formulate my thoughts into sentences in order to gain a more in depth understanding i.e. you are forced to analyse the given information when you do this. I answered all the syllabus learning objectives before the finals, by making these concise notes (you probably don't want to do this before mock exams or at least to the full degree). And then you essentially read and look-over your notes and make necessary additions over the following days and weeks. Another thing you can do either after the notes or instead of notes is mind-maps (cognitive maps as we call them in psychology) to interconnect the information and form a hollistic understanding.

Pretty basic stuff, but you need to figure out your way of remembering the details. Another thing is also that you will have to cut back on them. In psychology I for example just said to myself that I wouldn't bother with years and I would only try to remember the name of the main researcher instead of many researchers for a single research. It's also true that textbooks contain a lot of unnecessary background information so cut that to a minimum :yes:

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Timelines, I attribute all my success in History to timelines. Throughout the IB I had a solid 7 in History HL, there were times when I would get perfect 100s on my quizzes and after I got into the swing of writing essays midway through IB1, I never got below a 95 on any essay in History, and it all came down to timelines.

Am I discussing WW1? The I'll start with a timeline that branches with all the major players in the war i.e. Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, Serbia, and Bulgaria. The effect of colonisation from all their perspectives, the failings of great empires (Romanov, Hapsburg, Hohenzollern, and Shahs), the effect of modernisation, France's policy of economic encirclement of Germany, French vengefulness after Franco-Prussian wars and the tug of war for Alsace-Lorraine, the German fear of isolation, Kaiser's declaration of being the protector of 300 million Muslims the world-over, French-Polish/Romanian/Czech/Russian treaties. Britain's rising fear of German expansion in Africa, how Britain and France came together rearing for war, then BAM with the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand in the wake of the Second Bosnian Crisis (also throw in the Moroccan Wars, first and second) by the Union of Death/Black hand, an extremist Serbian nationalist group aiming to unite all states into a united Slav nation, and finally WAR! Then study a few notes on the nature of warfare, trench warfare, the predecessor of the Maginot Line, guns (machine and liquid fire), the desecration of France by the Germans, land warfare and chess-like tactics, the over-extention of the war going longer than anything anyone anticipated from 1914-1917. The fall of the Second Reich and control ceded to the Weimer Republic, Italian deflection from the Centrals early on in the war to the Allies, American fear that Germans would emerge as new superpower and sinking of Lusitania as, debatably, a cover, they join the fray in 1916. Turks fall, Austria-Hungary falls, Germany falls. The Paris Peace Conference, Wilson idealism, 5-power decisions behind closed doors, 3-power decisions as things get heated, the creation of the League, the Treaty of Versailles, the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (during the war), the Treaty of St. Germain, the Treaty of Neuilly, the Treaty of Trianon, the Treaty of Sèvres, the Treaty of Laussane, I think those were it. Also you need to cover what their motives were for Clemenceau, Lloyd George, Orlando, and Wilson. See that's all of World War 1, and the way I see it, 25% of your total IB portion for Paper 2 in History HL and a substantial beginning for Paper 1 (assuming you're doing Peace Treaties, etc).

I can't believe I still remembered all of that after that so long. See! Timelines for all events work!

Best of luck!
Arrowhead.

Edited by Arrowhead

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Guest Mo Rahman

Timelines, I attribute all my success in History to timelines. Throughout the IB I had a solid 7 in History HL, there were times when I would get perfect 100s on my quizzes and after I got into the swing of writing essays midway through IB1, I never got below a 95 on any essay in History, and it all came down to timelines.

I like the idea of timelines but what I'm struggling to understand is how I can put that down on paper. Do I just get a long sheet of paper and start from one end and go to the other? Wouldn't that take forever? And how much information do I put in the timeline? Do I give all the specific details?

Thanks

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I like the idea of timelines but what I'm struggling to understand is how I can put that down on paper. Do I just get a long sheet of paper and start from one end and go to the other? Wouldn't that take forever? And how much information do I put in the timeline? Do I give all the specific details?

I never actually wrote down the timeline in the exam itself, there isn't enough time for that. What I would do though, is spend my time writing out all the important events/decisions/dates/battles/incidents etc in the order of which they happened. If you were asking to do the aforementioned task outside of an exam setting, then yes, that's pretty much exactly what you have to do, and yes, it does take a monumental amount of time. The more detailed you can make your timeline, the better it will be for you because when you have to do last minute revision, you have these long chains of events at your disposal that you have to go through. As you're going through them, you mentally tally all the relevant details for each important event and when you can't remember what was special about a particular thing in your timeline, you know then that that's one of the things you need to revise. Its a really useful tool if you disregard the amount of time you have to initially invest in each one.

I used to tutor for History and when some of my students found out about my timelines, they paid me to allow them to make copies. I cannot tell you how much money I made of that from almost everyone, if not everyone, in my History class and the History class above us, and the following year below us.

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My first post as a member woo :) Hope I'm doing this right...Anyway, as the title mentions, I need a little guidance with my History HL course.

I've just finished my mocks for my first year of the IB and through all the crammed revision realised the breadth of the subject. The problem I have though is that unlike most others in my class, I haven't studied at GCSE and as a learner/budding philosopher, I'm not much of a small details person. Now, as anyone here should know, a lot of well, all history essays require facts, dates and really specific details which leads to my first problem. I am terrible at learning numbers like dates and the number of deaths. I've tried but every time I get to an exam, everything just flies out of my head and I get dates mixed up so I don't bother using them.

In addition, History is very much analytical. Unfortunately, as I last did History 3 years ago, my brain is still stuck in the "story-telling" mode where in essays, I tend to just talk about the story rather than analyse. But there has been some progress here though I could do with some help.

Now you may be asking, if I haven't been interested in History for the past 3 years, why now? Well, all I had to choose from was Business & Management and History. As I am hoping to get into Cambridge to study Philosophy, I believe History will do better to prepare me for the debating and essay writing.

Sorry for the essay but help would be much appreciated. Thank you very much in advance :D

I have already finished my History HL course and got a 6 (though was close to 7). To be honest, I was surprised when you said that details are needed for higher marks. My experience tells me that it is absolutely wrong. The examiner is not looking for a year when the Tsar Nicholas first climbed on the back of his horse. Thus, my advice would be 'try not to over-concentrate on the details' as they aren't giving you the real credits. Though be familiar with the specific facts you think you could use in your essay just to support your main argument.

The proper analysis is what definitely will increase your grade. Analysis sounds weird but it is actually all about identifying the causes of the effect, the factors which influenced the event itself and the consequences of the event (i.e. short-term vs. long-term). Most typical IB questions in History are asking for one of those of a specific event (just do it yourself as you go through a new topic). Well, and prioritizing of your argument will really really impress the examiner (it's like main argument followed by another less important argument both in separate paragraphs)

Yeah and also focus a bit more on your coursework (always stick with the criteria)

Good luck

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Guest Mo Rahman
I like the idea of timelines but what I'm struggling to understand is how I can put that down on paper. Do I just get a long sheet of paper and start from one end and go to the other? Wouldn't that take forever? And how much information do I put in the timeline? Do I give all the specific details?

I never actually wrote down the timeline in the exam itself, there isn't enough time for that. What I would do though, is spend my time writing out all the important events/decisions/dates/battles/incidents etc in the order of which they happened. If you were asking to do the aforementioned task outside of an exam setting, then yes, that's pretty much exactly what you have to do, and yes, it does take a monumental amount of time. The more detailed you can make your timeline, the better it will be for you because when you have to do last minute revision, you have these long chains of events at your disposal that you have to go through. As you're going through them, you mentally tally all the relevant details for each important event and when you can't remember what was special about a particular thing in your timeline, you know then that that's one of the things you need to revise. Its a really useful tool if you disregard the amount of time you have to initially invest in each one.

I used to tutor for History and when some of my students found out about my timelines, they paid me to allow them to make copies. I cannot tell you how much money I made of that from almost everyone, if not everyone, in my History class and the History class above us, and the following year below us.

Ohh I see, I did mean outside the exam though (as revision). Okay, I better start making my timeline's then. Could you maybe give me some general tips or pointers when doing this? Its a long process and I'd hate to do it wrong and only realise after spending so much time on it.

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Guest Mo Rahman
I have already finished my History HL course and got a 6 (though was close to 7). To be honest, I was surprised when you said that details are needed for higher marks. My experience tells me that it is absolutely wrong. The examiner is not looking for a year when the Tsar Nicholas first climbed on the back of his horse. Thus, my advice would be 'try not to over-concentrate on the details' as they aren't giving you the real credits. Though be familiar with the specific facts you think you could use in your essay just to support your main argument.

The proper analysis is what definitely will increase your grade. Analysis sounds weird but it is actually all about identifying the causes of the effect, the factors which influenced the event itself and the consequences of the event (i.e. short-term vs. long-term). Most typical IB questions in History are asking for one of those of a specific event (just do it yourself as you go through a new topic). Well, and prioritizing of your argument will really really impress the examiner (it's like main argument followed by another less important argument both in separate paragraphs)

Yeah and also focus a bit more on your coursework (always stick with the criteria)

Good luck

Hmm, okay I guess the best thing for me to do then is to go back over my notes and extend them using the 3 pointers?

Oh and we've only just started thinking about ideas for our Independent Inquiry (IA) so I still have the opportunity to do well in that, which hopefully I will.

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Could you maybe give me some general tips or pointers when doing this? Its a long process and I'd hate to do it wrong and only realise after spending so much time on it.

Personally I preferred to do it by hand and found the computer to bothersome to type it all out. Pick a big topic, like the example I gave you above, World War 1 or say the Cold War.

If you pick the Cold War, then come up with the main dividing lines. In this case I used: Initial, Escalation 1, Détente 1, Escalation 2, Détente 2, End.

 

Under Initial I started with the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk and snubbing Russia in the Paris Peace Conference (this is kind of like the very base roots of the Cold War), then interference in the Russian Revolution by American/British/French troops, the Treaty of Ropallo in '25 (I think) both the secret treaty and the obvious ones, training of German soldiers in Russia in secret, all of that until it precipitated to WW2. Also Stalin's reluctance to join the fray immediately. All of these are accompanied by dates of course.

Under Escalation 1 I would start with Yalta and Potsdam and their failures, Truman's superiority, the Truman Doctrine and Marshal Plan, Iranian, Turkish, and Greek crises, NSC-68, establishment of NATO, Korean War, "Loss" of China, American reluctance to allow newly Communist China to join the Security Council P5 in the UN, Yugoslavian blame-game with Tito, U2 Incident, Trinity Test, Cuban Missile Crisis, American weapons in Turkey, West Germany joining NATO which spurs the establishment of the Warsaw Pact including East Germany, the First Berlin Crisis and Air-lift, you can also throw in the Six Day War '67 and the Yom Kippur in '71. That's enough for Escalation, the Peak being at Cuban Missile crisis, and the beginning of the Vietnam War.

Under Détente 1 I would start with the Hot Line Treaty of '67, then the Outer Space Treaty, Land and Air Treaty, Ocean Treaty, until we get to SALT I (and what they decided to do) and then onwards to SALT II plans, throw in the Copenhagen and Vladivostok summits for "building good relations," and the Apollo-Soyuz Treaty to collaborate on Space exploration and a joint American-Russian satellite plans, also rapprochement of Sino-American relations and resultant Russian fear, bursting military budgets and people being sick of war.

Under Escalation 2 I would start with breakdown of SALT II talks, terrible Vietnam War, Nixon's politics, renewed Middle Eastern struggle, Operation Desert Storm, gross exaggeration of Russian military prowess and resultant fear, unstable leadership in the Politburo after Khruschev, Polish and Hungarian uprisings, fall of the Soviet Empire.

Under Détente 2 Poverty stricken Russia, "Perestroika" and "Glasnost" from Gorbachev, Reagan being all peace-loving and hippie like, START I and II and four meetings between Reagan and Gorbachev, the August coup in Russia and end of Gorbachev's reign, Boris Yeltson leading the people and ending the coup, the Cold War ends with the disintegration of the Russian Empire in the early 1990s.

Ta-da! That's the entire Cold War with enough relevant details and assuming you put in the analysis to get a 7.

What I would do, as you see above, is pick some dividing lines, sub-topics to be specific, under a big topic. Then I would write out all the big events that occurred and appropriately put them under the relevant sub-topic. The I would organise them in their respective category based on dates/year and if the year was the same then on relevance. After all that was done, I would rewrite the entire thing as a flow chart with dates and one-line describing details of the event squeezed in.

Depending on how vast the topic was, it would take anywhere between an hour to four. Like the Cold War one took me 4 hours, WW1 took me 2, WW2 took me 2, when I did American History for Paper 3, the Civil War took me 2, for Paper 1 all the topics took me less than an hour.

Edited by Arrowhead

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Guest Mo Rahman
Ta-da! That's the entire Cold War with enough relevant details and assuming you put in the analysis to get a 7.

What I would do, as you see above, is pick some dividing lines, sub-topics to be specific, under a big topic. Then I would write out all the big events that occurred and appropriately put them under the relevant sub-topic. The I would organise them in their respective category based on dates/year and if the year was the same then on relevance. After all that was done, I would rewrite the entire thing as a flow chart with dates and one-line describing details of the event squeezed in.

Depending on how vast the topic was, it would take anywhere between an hour to four. Like the Cold War one took me 4 hours, WW1 took me 2, WW2 took me 2, when I did American History for Paper 3, the Civil War took me 2, for Paper 1 all the topics took me less than an hour.

Wow, I am generally in awe. Thank you so much for the help. I'd be a fool not to get a 7 now. Wow, just wow, thank you again.

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Any tips on revision? :/

Thanks! :)

Hey, I didn't take IB history, but the next best thing ;) IB psychology HL, which requires a lot of small details relating to methods, ethics, researchers (names / years ) etc. Besides reading the textbook, what I found the best way to revise is to simply make notes, but that's just how I am; it's different for everyone. I have to formulate my thoughts into sentences in order to gain a more in depth understanding i.e. you are forced to analyse the given information when you do this. I answered all the syllabus learning objectives before the finals, by making these concise notes (you probably don't want to do this before mock exams or at least to the full degree). And then you essentially read and look-over your notes and make necessary additions over the following days and weeks. Another thing you can do either after the notes or instead of notes is mind-maps (cognitive maps as we call them in psychology) to interconnect the information and form a hollistic understanding.

Pretty basic stuff, but you need to figure out your way of remembering the details. Another thing is also that you will have to cut back on them. In psychology I for example just said to myself that I wouldn't bother with years and I would only try to remember the name of the main researcher instead of many researchers for a single research. It's also true that textbooks contain a lot of unnecessary background information so cut that to a minimum :yes:

Timelines, I attribute all my success in History to timelines. Throughout the IB I had a solid 7 in History HL, there were times when I would get perfect 100s on my quizzes and after I got into the swing of writing essays midway through IB1, I never got below a 95 on any essay in History, and it all came down to timelines.

Am I discussing WW1? The I'll start with a timeline that branches with all the major players in the war i.e. Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, Serbia, and Bulgaria. The effect of colonisation from all their perspectives, the failings of great empires (Romanov, Hapsburg, Hohenzollern, and Shahs), the effect of modernisation, France's policy of economic encirclement of Germany, French vengefulness after Franco-Prussian wars and the tug of war for Alsace-Lorraine, the German fear of isolation, Kaiser's declaration of being the protector of 300 million Muslims the world-over, French-Polish/Romanian/Czech/Russian treaties. Britain's rising fear of German expansion in Africa, how Britain and France came together rearing for war, then BAM with the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand in the wake of the Second Bosnian Crisis (also throw in the Moroccan Wars, first and second) by the Union of Death/Black hand, an extremist Serbian nationalist group aiming to unite all states into a united Slav nation, and finally WAR! Then study a few notes on the nature of warfare, trench warfare, the predecessor of the Maginot Line, guns (machine and liquid fire), the desecration of France by the Germans, land warfare and chess-like tactics, the over-extention of the war going longer than anything anyone anticipated from 1914-1917. The fall of the Second Reich and control ceded to the Weimer Republic, Italian deflection from the Centrals early on in the war to the Allies, American fear that Germans would emerge as new superpower and sinking of Lusitania as, debatably, a cover, they join the fray in 1916. Turks fall, Austria-Hungary falls, Germany falls. The Paris Peace Conference, Wilson idealism, 5-power decisions behind closed doors, 3-power decisions as things get heated, the creation of the League, the Treaty of Versailles, the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (during the war), the Treaty of St. Germain, the Treaty of Neuilly, the Treaty of Trianon, the Treaty of Sevres, the Treaty of Laussane, I think those were it. Also you need to cover what their motives were for Clemenceau, Lloyd George, Orlando, and Wilson. See that's all of World War 1, and the way I see it, 25% of your total IB portion for Paper 2 in History HL and a substantial beginning for Paper 1 (assuming you're doing Peace Treaties, etc).

I can't believe I still remembered all of that after that so long. See! Timelines for all events work!

Best of luck!

Arrowhead.

My goodness, this reply is so overdue and I'm sorry for that! D:

I'm back to school on the 7th and I still don't know my mock results... :/

But that's irrelevant.

Anyway, thank you so much guys!

I'll keep this in mind and will keep checking back when I get stuck!

:)

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