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How much do you write for each 40 min history essay in the exam?

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I just tried a practise essay (half a paper 2 - so 45 minutes for one essay) and wrote nonstop after 5 minutes planning but only got 1.5 sides of A4!! Help, how do you write faster? Also, how much do you usually write in 45 minutes?

Edited by scarlettjazz

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Usually about three-three and a half pages, but I have large handwriting :P

So adjusted to normal size, that'd probably be two and a half.

If you want to write faster, you'll just have to learn to get your ideas out faster. If you find that you're not writing enough after a five minute planning period, perhaps shorten that time to just two or three, writing as you go?

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I write around 3-4 pages. But my writing is sort of small...

One tip to help you write faster is to have a robotic hand :)

Jokes aside.. Here are a few tips I do while writing the essay.

1. Know the format of the essay like the back of your hand. Once you have memorised the format or "plan" of an essay, you will spend less time thinking about the structure of your essay and more time on writing! This way, when writing, the structure just comes naturally, thus saving you time. :)

2. Know your topic beforehand. If you know, and I mean like really know and understand the topic of which you guys are studying, then there is a higher possibility that you will retain much more information without mixing them together. Therefore, you will be able to organise your ideas and information in your head while writing.

3. Practice makes perfect. (This is optional). If I were you, I would pick a previous topic question for the past IB history exams and practice answering it within a 45 min slot. Time yourself with a stopwatch. When your 45 min are up, find out how far you have gone and think about the areas where it took you the most time and improve on those.

4. Multi-task. This may seem a bit confusing and hard, but if it does work for you, I would suggest multitasking during the test. While you are currently writing one argument, start to brainstorm or oragnize the next argument.

Edited by funny10sport
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Around two pages, though I have small handwriting. I think funny10sport's suggestions are very useful, and multi-tasking, as well as the others, is the one that saves some time for me. Good luck!

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You do realize that in "multi-tasking" your brain is not doing two (or more) things simultaneously, it's just switching back and forth between the tasks... And about every study there is clearly concludes that multi-tasking significantly lowers your mental performance. So, I wouldn't recommend trying to multi-task when you're writing an essay.

Sorry that's just the term that came to my mind for describing it. :3

Yeah I agree with you, personally I can't, or am not really accustomed to it. But I know others who do and they do pretty well on their essays. That's why I said it MAY work for some. :)

Edited by funny10sport

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Just as funny10sport says.

The critical aspects are to know your content. This can be achieved when you talk about the topic itself. Pick an essay question and in your preparation for it, do it with another friend or two. By talking about it and having multiple perspectives will help you to consolidate and understand the key ideas needed to address the question.

The next step is to simply practice, practice and practice. Writing essays for the IB exam is like running a marathon. You need to start small and with time increase your stamina consistently.

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3. Practice makes perfect. (This is optional). If I were you, I would pick a previous topic question for the past IB history exams and practice answering it within a 45 min slot. Time yourself with a stopwatch. When your 45 min are up, find out how far you have gone and think about the areas where it took you the most time and improve on those.

This is really important! I would suggest finding/downloading some past exams and try to find what type of questions generally appear (e.g. there will always be something on either Stalin or Hitler for Paper 2 Topic 3). Then you either practice writing essays, or if you're like me, now find yourself a week before exams start, just outline your answer to a lot of question. This will ensure that you enter the exam, knowing what it will be about (generally speaking), and if you've actually written one of the essays you happen to get on the exam: brilliant!

As for how many pages I write, about 7-8 (IB pages) for a 45 min essay.

However, I write fairly large and tend to use a lot of words. And my hand is cramping towards the end of a Paper 3, but it's worth it!

Edited by Hedda

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I type my essays up and I know that in a 40-45 min., I typically write something between 1200-1300 words. Max 1400-1500 words

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In 45 minutes with planning I get about 4-5 sides of A4, but then again I write big and have somewhat atrocious handwriting. I think my weakness is that I spend too much time writing, and then having to go back and insert sentences everywhere because I realised that my structure was quite bad. So I think I may actually try and devote more than 5 minutes to planning in an attempt to gain a more coherent structure. History essays are so much harder than English essays :eek:

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