How to organize an OIB History-Geography Essay

Word count minimum objectives:

DBQ essays = 750 words +

Regular essays = 1000 words +


OIB HG essays should follow a three part structure: INTRODUCTION – ORGANIZATION – CONCLUSION.

Remember in American Section essays, paragraphs are usually shorter compared to what is expected in French HG essays.


  • Establish context, identify and explain key words in the question, and show understanding of instructions such as ‘To what extent’, ‘Analyse’, ‘Explain’, ‘Evaluate’ etc.
  • For Data Based Questions, it is not required to mention the documents in the introduction.
  • End with a clear and arguable thesis statement.



  • This is where the line of analysis / argument identified in the thesis statement is developed making use of supporting evidence.
  • It is divided into short(ish) paragraphs.
  • For the DBQ ( incorporating values and limitations) essays: basic responses will use phrases like ‘the source is useful because..’ or ‘however there are limitations because…’ whereas stronger responses will integrate this analysis throughout the essay. Geography DBQ responses can point out which voices are not named or heard in a document. Refer to ‘document 1’ or ‘document 2’ in the response.


  • Sum up the line of argument followed in your essay (obviously this can only be done if a clear and arguable thesis statement was included in the introduction).
  • Answer the question presented in the essay title.


HG Revision Methodology and Best Practice

Revision is essential to succeeding in an exam. You face two exams: the 4 hour written paper and the 20 minute oral exam (anticipated in early June 2022).

You must ensure you have notes for all of the key topics 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.

Make sure you look at the Key Questions for each topic to focus your revision (and try writing practise responses) and look at the Examen Blancs you have done including the feedback PowerPoints so you understand what mistake(s) to avoid.

Above all don’t panic, try to have a plan so you allow enough time to revise each of the six themes.

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

So, don’t forget to review the EXAMEN BLANC FEEDBACK POWERPOINT below to help you avoid mistakes and make sure you know what you are facing.



T°OIB Mock Exams Feedback

FEEDBACK for December 2021 Mock Exam

PowerPoint Feedback with results and general suggestions:

T°OIB Ex Blanc Dec 2021 Feedback

More detailed feedforward:

DECEMBRER 2021 t° feedforward


FEEDBACK for Previous Mock Exams


Examples of excellent Examen Blanc essay responses from this exam:

History Essay Question: Assess the importance of the role of the newly independent countries, and either the appearance of Mao’s China or the creation of the State of Israel, in explaining the emergence of a new geopolitical world order between 1948 and 1970

New Geopol World Ex Response

Geography Essay Question: To what extent are US territories equally integrated into globalization?

US Territories in Globalization Essay Response

Geography Essay Question: How is globalization affected by cooperation and tensions between different actors at regional and global scales?

Coop & Tensions under Glob Ex Response





Exam Format + Maps (Jan 2022 update)

The OIB HG exam consists of a single 4-hour written paper at the end of Terminale and a 20 minute oral exam. Both exams will test your knowledge and understanding of themes studied in History and Geography during Terminale.

The Written Exam (coefficient 10)

Each exam paper will contain Subject A (History Essay and Geography DBQ/AMQ) and Subject B (Geography Essay and History DBQ).

– Essay question (History and Geography subject)

Data Based Question (either History or Geography subject)

Annotated Map Question (draw a map and write a short essay of 2 pages in response to a question)

You must choose one of the two Subjects A or B and complete all of it. Both options contain an essay question which you must complete in 2 hours and leaving two hours to complete the other question.

The Oral Exam (coefficient 5)

The oral exam is divided into two sections: one half about History the other half about Geography.  Students will draw a random question from a box and have 20 minutes to prepare a 7 minute presentation in response to the question with 3 minutes of follow-up questions by the examiner. This could be about a Geography or History subject.

For the last 10 minutes of the exam the examiner will then ask the student approximately 10 questions about what the student has learnt in the subject not covered by the presentation.

The exam assesses a student’s speaking and listening skills, and their ability to address the nuances of a question. The oral exam is an exchange between the student and the examiner and the most important part of this exchange is the question and answer session(s).

General OIB Exam Methodology

Download the HG OIB Methodology Booklet below for full details on how to approach essay questions, complete a thesis statement and tackle DBQs and AMQs.

Methodology Booklet Revised


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)

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


Fonds de cartes (for the world, the USA and Europe)

Fonds de cartes T°inta

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 away from the equator:

Every map projection introduces distortion, and each has its own set of problems. 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: