Paper 2

Paper 2 is an essay paper for both Standard and Higher students.

This page gives an overview what is required; see the page Essay writing for Paper 2 to get hints for tackling Paper 2 essay questions and for suggestions for helping students develop their essay writing skills.

What is the nature of Paper 2?

Paper 2 is a one hour and 30 minutes essay paper in which students must answer two essay questions. Each question has to be chosen from a different topic.

What content has to be covered?

Teachers and students have a choice of twelve topics which can be found here.
It is advised that you choose two of these topics to study:

For each topic the IBO guide gives an introduction and prescribed themes that must be studied for each topic. However there are no prescribed examples or case studies and exam questions will not include named examples.

The examples that are listed in the guide are for suggestions only.

What is the structure of this paper?

The paper is divided into the different syllabus topics; there are two essay questions for each topic.

Questions will include ones that are:
(a) comparative
(b) cross regional

Thus it is essential that teachers choose case studies which will allow students to make comparisons across regions.

Students also need to be familiar with the command terms used for essay questions. A student friendly guide to command terms can be found on the page: Essay writing for Paper 2 

How will this paper be marked?

Questions are marked out of 15.

There are generic markbands for marking the essays. A student-friendly breakdown of the markbands can be found on the page Assessment for Paper 2.

As there is no prescribed content with regards to case studies there is no indicative content as such for examiners - only guidance on how responses should approach the question and suggested content.

Selected Pages


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2. Assessment for Paper 2 11 July 2021

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Topic 12: The Cold War: Superpower tensions and rivalries 11 May 2021

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Topic 11: Causes and effects of 20th Century wars 14 November 2020

This topic allows you study a range of 20th Century wars.The study of each war needs to follow the three areas of 'prescribed...

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