2020 History Elective

2020 History Elective: Can we predict what is going to be tested?

The 2020 History Elective examinations are in a week’s time. Time is running out, and there is so much content to study!

Which chapter will come out for 2020 History Elective? These is a common question among students, especially for content heavy subjects like History.

A Precautionary Tale

Should we even try to predict what is tested? I am not in the prediction business. I teach a logical subject governed by evidence. What I am going to present are chapters with the highest probability to be tested.

But first, let me share a personal anecdote. When I was studying ‘O’ Level History, I tried to prediction as well. The syllabus at that time included Malayan history, and one of the questions was always on the tin or rubber industry.

For many years, the two industries alternated being tested. Based on that pattern, I only studied the industry that would come out. Unfortunately, Cambridge decided to break the pattern. As a result, I was only able to answer four essay questions out of the five. It was a nightmare.

You have been warned. I will discuss which topics likely to be tested for 2020 History Elective. However, my advice is to study broadly and deeply.

 2020 History Elective

To get an idea of what might be tested, we need to look at two things. We must look at all the topics tested and what has been tested.

History Elective

  1. Impact of World War I
  2. Communist Russia
  3. Nazi Germany
  4. World War II in Europe (Reasons for the outbreak of war and Reasons for the Fall of Germany)
  5. World War II in Asia-Pacific (Reasons for the outbreak of war and Reasons for the Fall of Japan)
  6. Reasons for the Cold War
  7. Cuban Missile Crisis
  8. Korean War
  9. Reasons for the end of the Cold War (Removed in 2020 – Common Last Topic)

This is what has been tested over the years:

YearSource-Based QuestionStructured Essay Questions
2019Communist Russia (Stalin’s Purges)World War II in Asia-Pacific
Reasons for the Cold War & Reasons for the end of the Cold War
2018Nazi Germany (Reichstag Fire)Communist Russia
Korean War
2017Cuban Missile CrisisImpact of World War I
Korean War & Reasons for the Cold War
2016Nazi Germany (Control over Germany)World War II in Europe
Reasons for the Cold War
2015Communist Russia (Industrialization)Nazi Germany
Reasons for the Cold War & Cuban Missile Crisis
2014Nazi GermanyWar World II in Asia-Pacific
Reasons for the End of the Cold War & Korean War

Another thing to take note is that one Structure Essay Question will be on Secondary Three materials (Impact of World War One to End of World War Two) and another one will be on Secondary Four (The Cold War).

Based on probability, there is a good chance that you can handle all the questions simply by studying the Cold War for the 2020 History Elective paper. This includes Reasons for the Start of the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Korean War.

While this has always been true every year, the odds of this is higher as one of the topics has been removed. Furthermore, the Korean War has never been tested for Source-Based Questions. This brings the odds higher.

To be 100 percent sure, students should also be familiar with the Nazi Germany and Communist Russia. This way, students can ensure they can answer Source-Based Questions if either one is tested.

Another thing to note is that Nazi Germany and War World Two in Europe have not been tested for some years. Students who have mastered these topics in Secondary Three may continue to focus on them instead of the Cold War. There is a high probability that it will be tested for 2020 History Elective.


Ultimately, I would still say that it is necessary to study enough content to answer all questions. This blog post is only meant to be a guide on which topics to prioritize. I wish all students best of luck for their 2020 History Elective papers.

Critical Thought

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