OIB essay practice “examens blancs”

Choose 2 of the 4. Write one essay today, and the other you will write tomorrow. You must use 2 works for each essay (and 4 works in total — different works for each essay). For poets and short stories, you may use 1-3 as one “work”


term: min 5-6 sides

should really try to get to 8


  1. Vivid and striking imagery can be an essential feature of literature. Referring to two works on your OIB syllabus, discuss how the writers use imagery in particularly effective ways, and to what ends
  2. “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”  –Albert Einstein.  Discuss the ways in which knowledge may or may not be dangerous in two works you have read in your OIB curriculum.
  3. Literature often explores “the battle of the sexes.”  Paying close attention to the causes and consequences of gender conflict, discuss this theme in two works you have read.
  4. Many works of literature revolve around a journey, literal, figurative, or both—for example, from one place to another, from ignorance to knowledge, from self-centeredness to altruism.  Discuss how the journey theme enhances two works you have studied.

Send essay back for around 16h. 16h30 at the latest.

PREM OIB essays feedback

Capucine’s stellar OIB essay

Check out Capucine’s essay for an incredible example!!!

Thel Mina O

Thel Mina does a really great job of always linking what is happening in the language/devices/style/what the author is “doing” to her thematic argument (how the language choices enhance a point, develop a theme — she always links language to meaning).


General comments:

Make sure your thesis and your essay refer to the main concepts asked of you in the question (and reguarly link back to these concepts/ remind us of the the main goal + point of  your argument)

Try to lengthen your essays a little more 🙂


HG Revision Methodology

Revision is essential to succeeding in an exam.

You must ensure you have notes for all of the themes in the syllabus. Having comprehensive notes ensures you do not miss out on any major topics and additionally, rewriting them in your own words will further consolidate them in your mind.

There are different ways to revise depending on what type of learner you are:

Visual learners often benefit from visual content including pictures, diagrams and symbols across colour-coded notes, flashcards, posters, prezzis, PowerPoints or Mind Maps (see video below for ideas):

Auditory learners benefit through making recordings of themselves reviewing a chapter and then listening back to these recordings. Watching the many videos posted on the HG blog is also a good method of revising for auditory and visual learners (see video below about auditory learners and ways for such learners to revise – begin at the 3 minute mark):

Tactile (kinesthetic) learners may revise better through group discussions (eg a zoom call) and the physical act of writing out study and revision notes.


Here is a summary of the entire syllabus including the obligatory reading which is a good way to absorb sophisticated analytical styles of writing:

Summary of T°OIB HG Programme+Reading

Here is a collection of all chapters, chapter summaries, learning objectives and Key Questions (which are used to create the exam questions – remember, another great way to revise is by making up your own exam questions) and Key Terms:

T° OIB Theme Outlines and Vocabulary

Exam Methodology

Specific Guidance for History DBQ responses

History DBQs wil ask you to discuss the values and limitations of the documents with which your are presented in the exam. The examiner needs to see you can critically evaluate a document (e.g. identify strengths and weaknesses, the reliability of a document, etc). Download the following document for more information:

DBQ essay values and limitations

Geography Annotated Map Questions

The Annotated Map Question will be posed in two parts as follows:

1. Draw an annotated map, including the legend (key), on the topic: XXXX (name of topic goes here)

2. Using the annotated map, the document and your own knowledge write a short essay (should include thesis, body, brief conclusion, and consist of roughly two sides of writing) to answer the following question: XXXXX (question goes here).

Important things to remember about the map and legend:

You must produce a neat and easy to read annotated map (use coloured pencils and a few felt-tip pens – avoid ballpoint pens and markers and never use highlighters).

Between 10-15 symbols should be used in the legend (ideally 12).

The Information in the legend must be hierarchically categorized (through use of colour and size of symbols) using all four types of representation (areas, lines, arrows, points). Places and names must also be correctly labelled on the map.

The 4 basic types of symbols to include on your map in order to represent information are:

Areas (e.g. state at the heart of globalization)

Lines (e.g. a communication route such as a railway)

Arrows (e.g. merchandise flows)

Points (e.g. the location of a city)

This document explains how to construct a map and organize the legend in a hierarchical sense:

Summary Sheet for Maps

Example AMQs on the topic Seas and Oceans at the core of globalization:

Seas and Ocean MAP 1

Seas and Oceans Map2

Seas and Oceans Map3

Map topics

Candidates face potential AMQs on these topics:

Maritime spaces at the core of globalization

Uneven integration of territories into globalization

The US in Globalization (continental scale – uneven integration of territories)

The European Union: Internal and External Challenges

Base Maps likely to be used in the exam for AMQs:


OIB fond de la carte Europe

fond de la carte Etats-Unis

fond de la carte pour le monde Briesemeister


There are many different types of map projections that exist, some that you may come across in lessons  include:

– the familiar Mercator projection which is less accurate with distance from the equator:

One of the most common criticisms of the Mercator map is that it exaggerates the size of countries nearer the poles (US, Russia, Europe), while downplaying the size of those near the equator (the African Continent). On the Mercator projection Greenland appears to be roughly the same size as Africa. In reality, Greenland is 0.8 million sq. miles and Africa is 11.6 million sq. miles, nearly 14 and a half times larger.

– the Lambert projection which projects the surface onto a cone:

– and the Breisemeister projection developed in 1953 which presents land masses more centrally and with less distortion:

Each has advantages and disadvantages, watch the video below for more explanation:



Geography Themes 1, 2 and 3

Theme 1

Introductory video for globalization:


Follow up video on why cities are where they are:



The megacity Mumbai is located in the state of Maharashtra in India on the west coast of India with an extended metropolitan population of aroud of 20.4 million inhabitants. It used to be known as Bombay until its name was officially changed in 1995.

It accounts for 1/3 of India’s tax revenue and is experiencing massive urbanisation due the growth of its economy in manufacturing. An increase in tertiary sector jobs such as IT and financial services means it has become a major centre for out-sourced work. It also has one of the largest film industries in the world located there, ‘Bollywood’. Despite this 42% of its population live in slums.

Resources for this case study:

Map to show location and expansion of the city:

Growth of Mumbai

Short video overview of slums in Mumbai:


An excellent website including maps and video about this settlement:


Case study map and exercise:

Mumbai Case Study of a LEDC Megalopolis



Theme 2

This chapter is about how, at the global scale, the principal places and actors involved in the production of wealth are undergoing change, becoming more numerous and interconnected in addition to being concentrated in metropolises and along the coasts.

Learning Objectives 

  • Identify the different types of production areas
  • To be able to define the role of different actors in the supply chain
  • Understand how production areas constitute networks
  • Understand the New International Division of Labor
  • Understand how the digital economy influences production area

Key Questions

  1. What are the different types of production areas?
  2. How are production areas changing in the context of globalization?
  3. What are the major actors of production at different scales?
  4. To what extent do flows drive global production?
  5. What is the impact of the digital economy on production area?
  6. How do metropolises and coastal areas fit into production networks?


1° OIB Geography Theme 2 Outlin

Production Spaces and Global Case Studies

Explanation of globalization and how it affects economy, politics and culture (8m):

Globalisation involves widening and deepening global connections, interdependence and flows (commodities, capital, information, migrants and tourists).

This means increases in flows of:

  • goods and services (including commodities)
    • products and commodities, that can be bought, and are often made or grown in other countries
  • capital
    • flows of money between people, banks, businesses and governments
  • people (including migrants and tourists)
  • information​
    • e.g. data transferred between businesses and people, often using the internet

Principal PPT support for first part of theme:

Geog Ch4 Overview


Map showing global trade flows:


Article about the Digital Economy:


Video: outsourcing explained:


Video on Outsourcing in Bangalore:


Example of a supply chain:

Video (12mins) on the Apple Supply Chain:


An article on the Apple Supply Chain:


Case Study of Singapore

1° Gg chp4 Singapore



Coastal Production Zones

Principal PPT for second part of the theme:

Geog Ch5 Overview

Silicon Valley Case Study:

1°Gg chp5 Silicon Valley resources

Silicon Valley Exercises and Map

Article about Silicon Valley:

INTERNATIONAL CASE STUDY: San Francisco and Silicon Valley


Link to the atlas of the future article and maps:

7 ways to map optimism

Geog Ch5 PPT worksheet

Productive Spaces in France

Geog Chp6 PPT Overview

Geog ch6 PPT worksheet

French Industrial Spaces


Brittany case study work

Theme 3: Rural Spaces – Texas

The reconfiguration of rural spaces is characterized by the paradox of closer links between rural and urban areas whilst some rural areas at the same time are excluded and remain peripheral. The state of Texas presents dramatic contrasts between urban and rural spaces. The state is experiencing impressive population growth and immigration along the Mexican border while rural communities struggle to maintain public services.

Introduction PowerPoint for Theme 3

This is a useful starting point for key ideas in this theme including the differing importance of rural areas in national economies, the concept of the urban-rural continuum and an understanding of rural fragmentation and rural gentrification:

Geog Theme 3 Overview

PowerPoint for the Texas Case Study:

The cornerstone of this theme is a case study of rural Texas, here is the PowerPoint:

Texas Overview

Resource booklet for Rural Areas in Texas:

Corpus of documents – Case Study TEXAS

Annotated Map Question (AMQ) for this chapter – this is the major piece of work for this theme:

Texas AMQ

Copy of blank map to print out and draw your own annotated map on to answer question7:

Texas Base Map

An example Map of Rural Change and Challenges in Texas which you can use to create your own map (with around 12 symbols in the legend) – don’t try and copy it all that is not the objective of the exercise!

Map of Texas – Change and Challenge Rural Areas

HELP FOR TEXAS AMQ METHODOLOGY (use colouring pencils please). This document is really important preparation for AMQs in the OIB Bac exam:

Methodology for TEXAS AMQ


Theme 4: China

Video on China’s Geography Problem (10m):


Geog Theme 4 China

China and several of its neighbours have been involved in a decades-long dispute over who controls the South China Sea. China claims most of the sea as its territory, but the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan say parts of the sea belong to them. Tensions have risen over the years and resulted in several confrontations as well as US involvement. The South China Morning Post looks at the origins of the dispute, what these countries are fighting over and what they’re doing to assert their territorial claims.

Link to site and video:


CNN report on this disputed area: