International School History - European Schools - S7 4hr option

S7 History Last update - 17 May 2023 Official European School History S7 Syllabus: English, French, German
S7 Four Hour History - Bac Revision
Get some general revision advice to begin with. I wrote this 'top 10 tips' for IB students a few years ago and much of what I say applies to you. Similarly the great John D Clare wrote these detailed guidelines for his English GCSE historians. Finally, this article from the New Scientist provides the latest research on effective revision.

In Year 7 the exam is four periods long. The exam is divided into two sections. In the first section (Part 1) you will be expected to analyse 5 sources, in Part 2 you will answer a three part structured response. Although Part 2 is significantly different to previous years, Part 1 is assessed in an identical way.

The oral exam follows the same structure, specific advice for those doing the oral is here. The exam is 20 minutes long. Candidates will choose one question by lot, twenty minutes before the examination.  Documents used for the examination will not have been studied or presented in class before.

In revision you should always begin with past-papers, Bac 2015 and Bac 2016.

In addition, remind yourself of the general structure and question style by looking at the specimen paper and the pre-Bacs. Pre-Bac 2015 exam and markscheme and Pre-Bac 2016 exam and markscheme.
Specimen paper and markscheme.

Part 1 - The sources

Part 1 is a compulsory source paper with four questions based on 4 to 5 sources, of which at least one, maximum two, should be non-written, such as a cartoon, photograph, statistics or map. There should be a mix of primary and secondary sources with content taken from one or more of the year 7 European Core Units.


Question Type and Advice Examples


The first question will test understanding of a source or part of a source.

The first question can be divided into two or three parts (a,b,c) depending on the level of student knowledge and understanding demanded.

The question must enable students to produce a concise and relevant response.
It is anticipated that students will spend a maximum of 10 minutes on this question.



What is meant by the phrase ‘Iron Curtain´? (2 marks)

Explain the message/meaning of the cartoon in Source B. (4 marks)

Which two arguments does the author use against European integration in Source B? (4 marks

Identify two reasons given in support of the Schuman Plan in Source C. (4 marks)

In no more than a paragraph, explain the references to the Treaty of Maastricht in Sources B and C. (6 marks)

Explain what Churchill meant by the phrase ‘federal system’ in the context of Source A. (6 marks)


The second question will test analysis of sources through the comparison and contrast of two or three sources.

The selected sources must enable the students to identify the similarities and differences, rather than describe each source in isolation.

 It is anticipated that students will spend approximately 20 minutes on this question.


Compare and contrast the views expressed in Sources A and B with regard to southern European dictatorship?

To what extent do Sources A and B agree with the view about the Berlin Blockade expressed in Source D?

How far do the authors of Sources C and D disagree on the consequences of the Treaty of Rome?


The third question will test analysis of the utility of two or three sources with reference to their provenance and content.

The question must encourage students to focus on the utility of sources in a particular context. The students should be given the opportunity to evaluate two different types of source. (e.g. radio broadcast, memoir, painting, website)  

It is anticipated that students will spend approximately 20 minutes on this question.


Assess the value and limitations of Sources B and C as evidence about the success of the Communist parties in central and eastern Europe in the period 1945-49.

How useful are Sources D and E as evidence for the collapse of the communist regimes in central and eastern Europe in 1989?

With reference to the origin and purpose of Sources A and B, assess the value and limitations as evidence about the student protests in 1968.

Assess the strengths and weaknesses of Sources A and B as evidence for the impact of European enlargement after 1986.


Usefulness means, how useful the source is as evidence about a particular event in the past. You should identify both strengths and weaknesses of the source. For example, how relevant is the source? Does the source contain a lot of useful information or information that helps us understand the past event? Does the source provide reliable information about the past? Can it be trusted to tell the truth?  The three Rs model should remind you of the sort of things you need to consider.

The usefulness of sources

This section of the website provides a detailed examination of the usefulness of the most popular types of source found in examination. It also available as a simplified PowerPoint presentation.


The fourth question will test synthesis of sources and contextual knowledge based on one of the ten sub-questions from year 7 European Core Units  (Europe 4, 5, 6 and 7).

The question and sources must allow for students to integrate their own knowledge with an explicit use of the sources in order to produce a structured answer, focusing clearly on the question.

It is anticipated that students will spend approximately 40 minutes on this question.


The sub-questions that you have studied questions are:

What were the major consequences of the Second World War for Europe?
How far was Europe divided by 1949?
How and why were there different conditions for social and economic development in Europe?
How were the living conditions in the states, blocs and regions of Europe different between 1949 and 1973?
How far did economic development stabilize the political situation in Europe?
How and why was there a transition to democracy in southern European states from 1974?
How and why did the communist regimes of central and eastern Europe collapse in 1989?
How successfully did the newly democratic states meet the challenges of transition?
What were the origins and stages of European construction between 1945 and 1973?
What have been the reasons for increasing European integration since 1973?

All questions will begin with 'Using the sources and your own knowledge...'

The fourth question will be based on one of those above, they might not be identical





Part 2 - The structured response

This consists of 3 questions based on two or three of the compulsory year 7 themes. The first question is a descriptive question requiring the skills of recall and selection of historical facts and knowledge. It can require knowledge of the key words in the syllabus. There can be up to two sub-questions if the questions are more definition-based. The second question focuses on explanation, whereas the third question tests explanation and evaluation. The third question is based on one of the sub-questions from the Year 7 Compulsory Theme Units.


Question Type and Advice



The first question will test selective factual recall through description and/or by definition.
There can be up to two part-questions if the questions are more definition-based.
It is anticipated that students will spend a maximum of 15 minutes on this question.

Part-questions (2-8 marks):

What is meant by the term ‘Glasnost’?
Define the meaning of ‘non-alignment’ in the context of the Cold War.
What was The Cultural Revolution?
Who were the main participants in the Korean War?
Describe the measures taken by Mao in The Great Leap Forward.

Full questions (10 marks):

Identify and briefly describe two events where Berlin was central to the Cold War.
Briefly recount three significant events linked to the start of the Cold War (1945-1949).


The second question will test factual recall and explanation.
The question must allow students to produce an answer that includes consideration of a number of factors.

This answer should provide multiple explanatory factors each of which is explained. This answer is characterized by good understanding, and some precise factual support (names, places, dates etc.); the better answer in this range is likely to be coherent (P.E.E) and historically accurate.

It is anticipated that students will spend approximately 30 minutes on this question.



With reference to examples you have studied in class, explain the factors that limited political stability in post-colonial states.

Explain why support for independence in European colonies increased after the Second World War.

Explain the factors for economic liberalisation in China after 1976.

What were the consequences of the end of the Cold War for the political world order?

Why did the Communists come to power in China in 1949?


The third question will test factual recall, explanation and evaluation.
This must be an evaluative question rather than a descriptive one. (I.e. how far/significant/important rather than merely ‘how’).
It is anticipated that students will spend approximately 45 minutes on this question.

My top 5 tips on how to write an essay.

The sub-questions that you have studied questions are:

Why did the Cold War Start?
What was the Cold War?
Why did the Cold War end?
How did a new communist state emerge in Asia?
What differences were there between the Chinese and Soviet systems?
Did the opening up of China’s economy end the Communist model?
Why was there a process of decolonisation in Asia and Africa after WWII?
What factors enabled the process of decolonisation?
How did former colonies develop after independence?

The third question will be based on one of those above, they might not be identical e.g.

Examine the most important reasons for the start of the Cold War.
To what extent was the Cold War an ideological conflict?
Analyse the most significant reasons for why China became communist in 1949.
How similar was Mao’s China to the Soviet model of communism?
With reference to two countries you have studied, evaluate the similarities and differences in the process of decolonisation.
How far did the new Asian and African states successfully deal with the challenges of independence?









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