Paper 3

Paper 3 is an in-depth essay paper for Higher students only. 

This page gives an overview what is required; see Essay writing for Paper 3 to get hints for tackling Paper 3 essay questions and suggestions for helping students develop their essay writing skills.

What is the nature of Paper 3?

Paper 3 is a two hour and 30 minute essay paper. Students have to answer three essay questions out of a choice of 36 questions.

What content needs to be covered for Paper 3?

There are four regions to choose from:

  • History of Africa and the Middle East
  • History of the Americas
  • History of Asia and Oceania
  • History of Europe

For whichever region is selected, three sections must be studied from a choice of 18 sections. These sections allow content from a wide range of time periods to be covered.

What is the structure of this paper?

There are 36 essay questions on the paper. These will be grouped under the section headings - two essays per section. However students can answer ANY three questions on this paper (i.e. they could do two from one section)

How will this paper be marked?

Each essay is marked out of 15. There are generic markbands for marking the essays as well as indicative content. A student-friendly breakdown of the markbands can be found on the page: Assessment for Paper 3

Selected Pages


18: Post-war central and eastern Europe (1945-2000) 26 September 2019

This section explores developments in central and eastern Europe from 1945 to 2000. It covers the transition from wartime...


13: Europe and the First World War 22 March 2019

This topic focuses on the breakdown of diplomacy in Europe that led to July Crisis and the outbreak of the First World War,...


8: The French Revolution and Napoleon I (1774–1815) 4 March 2019

This section covers the French Revolution starting with its origins in the 1780s and then the amazing events of 1789 through...


7. The Soviet Union and Russia: Graded student essays 7 February 2019

On this page you will find sample essays on this topic, written by students. There are also some suggested activities that...


Option 3: History of Asia and Oceania 4 January 2019

There are 18 possible topics in this section which range from 8th Century to 20th Century, from Medieval times to developments...


16: The Soviet Union and post-Soviet Russia (1924–2000) 31 October 2018

This topic covers the dramatic events in the Soviet Union from Stalin's establishment of a totalitarian state through economic...

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