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ephika

Paper 3 revision

The amount of material that one has to revise for the Paper 3 exams is just crazy, especially if you're aiming for a grade above 5. My teacher chose the History of the Americas for Paper 3, and there is so much stuff one has to learn, everything from the domestic policies of Canada to populist leaders in South America, etc. This has made me unsure of how I should revise for the exams. Any advice?

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Last year, I was so worried about Paper 3 because I really felt like it would make me or break me (it didn't).

The hardest part for me was deciding what I wanted to write about for Paper 3. I started by collecting all the old paper three exams I could find, printed them out, and physically sorted each question based on it's corresponding topic area from the syllabus. Before the changed the syllabus, there were 22 topics. I picked the 7 topics that seemed to show up the most frequently and whose information could be used on other papers of the exam. I studied US foreign policy in Latin America (1898-1945), The Great Depression, Latin American foreign policy (1945-1995), Political and economic developments in the US after WWII, US foreign policy (1945-1995), Political and economic developments in Latin America after the Second World War, and Hemispheric relations (1945-1995). Basically, I picked anything that was related to the Cold War (because a strong background there would be helpful on Paper 2 as well and it's interesting), The Great Depression (because it was pretty much guaranteed that there would be at least a question or two about it on the exam), and US Foreign Policy in Latin America from 1898-1945 (because most of the topics here were recurring and they directly set the stage for later events ie:Monroe Doctrine, Good Neighbor Policy, and establishment of spheres of influence).

I put a lot of (too much) work into deciding what I would study for this paper. Generally, I selected topics to study from the syllabus, I made detailed outlines of everything IB said to know about each topic (bolding important details that could differentiate my essay from the masses), and then I tried to anticipate different ways the questions could be asked.

I am looking at the new syllabus, and the topics to choose from are Independence Movements, Nation Building Challenges, US Civil War: Causes, Course, and Effects, Development of Modern Nations (1865-1929), Emergence of the Americas in Global Affairs (1880-1929), The Mexican Revolution (1910-1940), The Great Depression in the Americas (1929-1939), The Second World War and the Americas (1933-1945), Political Developments in the Americas after the Second World War (1945-1979), The Cold War and the Americas (1945-1981), Civil Rights and Social Movements in the Americas, and Into the 21st Century (1980's to 2000).

So do yourself a favor and pick 5 out of the 12 that you feel the most comfortable with and become an expert on those topics. Be prepared to support multiple viewpoints and really make sure that you understand the subject material well because you should end up saying a lot of the same information no matter how they ask you a question on the exam. So the key is making sure that you have a strong enough relationship between scope of your studies and the depth of your knowledge and analysis. Studying for this paper is not easy, but if you unconditionally commit to learning as much about each topic as you possibly can, you'll do well.

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I'm in a similar situation. The prospect of Paper 3 does not please me in the least bit because of the time limit. 3 essays in 2 and a half hours? Oh gosh.

Would you then say that knowing around 5 of the topics from the HL options syllabus would be sufficient enough? Luckily, I'm doing History of Europe, so I intend to pick the topics that correlate as much as possible with Papers 1 and 2.

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That sounds like quite a bit of work, flsweetheart422. In class we have only studied 3 topics in-depth. I thought those were the topics you should focus on.

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That sounds like quite a bit of work, flsweetheart422. In class we have only studied 3 topics in-depth. I thought those were the topics you should focus on.

It was a lot of work, but the reason I did so much work was because I wanted to be prepared to answer questions from more than three topic areas because sometimes the questions you are prepared to answer aren't the questions you get the opportunity to answer.

It is not uncommon for IB to intentionally make question from a topic area hard. They want you to have the overall idea, but to be able to cater to specific the question by includeing the details they are asking for. The Great Depression was on the every year, but sometimes the question would be general (causes, impact of, etc) and others, it would be specific and something along the lines of "To what extent was the Wall Street Crash a cause of the Great Depression of 1929?" If you were just going to BS this answer and talk about the states, you might not explicitly state that the crash was not a huge deal in the US and that they didn't begin to decline until 1932-1933 because less than 5% of the population were stockholders.

LIkewise, when asking the everyday question about Latin American Foreign Policy from 1945-1995, there were times when IB would ask a question and then exclude the primary example (Cuba) and then people wouldn't be able to answer the question. They usually ask a question about Perón, but if they asked you to compare him to Vargas, would you be able to? Or if they asked you about his foreign policy would you be able to include that answer without relying on knowledge based solely on his internal changes?

IB can will also test you to see how you have organized your information. In May of 2005, IB asked "Compare and contrast the Cold War policies of two of the following US presidents: Harry S Truman (1945-53); Dwight D Eisenhower (1953-61); Ronald Reagan (1981-9)" as the question on US foreign policy from 1945-1995. Would have have been able to answer that?

The reason I put so much work into studying for this paper was because I didn't want to get caught off guard. It ended up working out for me. I did the best on Paper 3 and I got 45/60 points from 3 questions. Its the paper that is supposed to challenge you, so if you're only studying 3 topic, you sure as hell better know them well.

Good luck everyone!

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My tip: write essay plans. A whole LOT of them, for different topics..

It's not so much about how much you know, it's going to be about how you SYNTHESIZE and ANALAYZE the demanded answers for a specific question.

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