History Tutor on Understanding the Elective History Exam Format

O  & N level ELective History is extremely popular in school as students realise that there are common areas between History and Social Studies and  namely in the source-based questions.

Below the Elective History tutor gives an explanation of the format of the exam paper which will help students and parents have a clearer picture of the type of questions and marks allocated.

Topics Covered:

Part 1: The World in Crisis

Impact of World War I

  • Treaty of Versailles
  • Weakness of the League of Nation

Stalin’s Soviet Union*

  • His rise
  • His dictatorship

Hitler’s Germany*

  • His Rise
  • His Dictatorship

World War II in Europe

  • Causes for outbreak
  • Entry of USA

Defeat of Germany/End of World War II

  • Causes

World War II in the Asia Pacific

  • Japan’s rise
  • Cause of WWII in Asia Pacific

Japan’s Defeat in World War II

  • Causes

*Both are source-based case studies – i.e they are topic options for SBQ as well SEQ. The rest are only topic options for SEQs.

Part 2: Bipolarity & the Cold War

Cold War in Europe

  • Reasons

The Korean War*

  • Causes
  • Development
  • Outcome/Impact

The Cuban Missile Crisis*

  • Causes
  • Development
  • Outcome/Impact

The End of Cold War

  • Detente
    Collapse of Communism in Soviet Union
    End of Communism in Eastern Europe

Both are source-based case studies – i.e they are topic options for SBQ as well SEQ. The rest are only topic options for SEQs.

Note that there are therefore only 4 topics that are options for Source-based Case Studies but they are also topic options for SEQs. The rest in part 1 and 2 are only options for SEQs.

Exam Format
Duration: 1 hr 40 mins

Section A: Source-base Case Study (30 marks)

  • 5 SBQ

Section B: 2 Structured-Essay Questions (20 Marks)

  • Two questions set. Each Question has two sub-parts.
  • Choose one




Geography Tutor on the First Step to Doing Well in Elective Geography

Are you looking for better grades for O level and N level Geography? Or are you looking how to improve your child’s grades at the O and N level Geography exams?

So to do that, you have to first understand the Geography exam format and score system so that you be able to plan on how you can study and prepare better for the exam.  Below is an explanation of the format of the exam paper which will help students and parents have a clearer picture of the type of questions and marks allocated.

Topics Covered:

Physical Geography
Weather and Climate
Tectonic Plates
Human Geography

Exam Format:
Duration: 1 hr 40 mins
Total Score: 50 percent/50 marks

Section A: 13 marks

Topics Focus:
Geographical Investigation (Weather & Climate/Tourism)

  • 2 sets of short structured questions – with first set on Weather & Climate and the second set on Tourism
  • Note that the last question for each set is 5 marks and the rest are between 1 to 3 marks.

Section B: 12 marks

Topics Focus:
Weather & Climate

  • Please note the questions are mixed. For example question 3 could consists of Weather & Climate for 3a and Tourism for 3b. But for question 4, it is either Weather & Climate or Tourism.
  • The distribution of marks is always 4 for question a and 8 for question b for both  questions 3 and 4.

Section C: 25 marks

Topics Focus:
Plate Tectonics

  • The first question is usually on one topic – either Food or Plate Tectonics.
    The other question is a mixed question on both topics. But bear in mind that the last question for both sections which is 8 marks each will not be on the same topic, so if 5d is on food, then 6d would be on plate tectonics.
  • Section B: 12 marks
    For Section B, there will be 2 questions. You only choose ONE. One question will be purely on either weather & climate or purely on tourism. The other question will be a Mix of Both.

For more information, please contact Mdm Yu  at 98761777 for a trial Geography tuition session.



Burning of the Amazon Rainforest brought on plantation owners, farmers and developers. Extract & Photo from "Why is the Amazon burning? Four reasons" by EarthSky Voices in EARTH | HUMAN WORLD | August 27, 2019

Deforestation – an “evergreen” tragedy, an unceasing catastrophe

In my Geography tuition, we discuss environmental and sustainability issues. Current concerns are brought up regularly to  the best of my ability and discussed in my Geography tuition sessions.

Two and a half months ago, many of us read with horror about the gigantic blaze that has destroyed more than 9,600 sq km of the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest or 906,000 hectares, a whopping 70 percent increase over the same tracking period last year. As a Geography tutor, it is distressful to read of such news.

Don’t blame global warming, climate change, these fires are the acts of humans. With close to 40,000 fires burning, they are started by farmers, plantation companies and developers. A quarter of the Amazon rainforests have disappeared for good and more of the forests will continue to disappear at an alarming rate.

For the Brazilian Amazon, infrastructure development means not just new dams to generate electricity but also “webs of waterways, rail lines, ports and roads” that will get products like soybeans, corn and beef to market, according to Walker, a professor from the University of Florida. The ambitious infrastructural plans pushed by the new government spells doom for the forests and forest tribes.

“Why the Amazon is burning: 4 reasons”  | August 27, 2019.
“People and the tropical rainforest ecosystem” GeoActive Online 232, 2000.






Feminism, female customer care, care for employees, labor union, CRM, and life insurance concepts. Protecting gesture of woman or personnel with icons representing group of woman.

Feminist Text – “A Room of One’s Own” by Virginia Woof

Feminist literary theory is one popular lens to explore and interpret literary works. Literary theories are useful tools to help A level Literature students understand and interpret texts and produce insightful essays.  As a Literature tutor, I recommend that A level H1 and H2 Literature students familiarise themselves with the writings of leading feminist authors and theorists.  Four women come to mind when one thinks of feminist writers –  Mary Wolstonecraft, Virginia Woof, Gloria Steinem and Simone de Beauvoir.

But in this post I like to write a little about the seminal essay by Virginia Woof entitled “A Room of One’s Own”. This remarkable essay was delivered by Virginia Woof in 1929  to an all-female Cambridge college audience. Woof’s assertion about the reasons for the absymal lack of female authors and the short supply of works by female writers in the past and during her time centred on that the fact that no women could write because they have no “room of her own”. This personal room is the metaphor for the conditions that Woof strongly feels must be present for women to produce literary works.  The conditions are privacy, money and education. To Woof,  it is the conditions of everyday life that made it impossible for women to write literature. It is not intellectual inferiority, but rather a woman’s life that prevented her from writing.  A woman’s conditions – her duties to the family if she is married, her duties to her family (parents, siblings) if she is not married and her lack of education or her rudimentary education  if she is literate that hinders her.

Her seminal essay became a torchpoint for the feminist movement to intensify the fight for women’s emancipation. But fast forward to 21st century, the post-feminist era, when women are no longer barred from attending hight education, have  voting rights and head companies and lead countries as heads of state, the question that arises is how far have we arrived as fully emancipated individuals in control of our own destiny, driven by ambition and drive, able to attain our career goals and aspirations. Are we still tied to the apron, to the kitchen sink? More than anything is there a reversal or backtracking along the road of female emancipation. Do women really want to be emancipated? Do they really want to be at the top whether it is in politics, commerce, and the arts? But the reality that is worth celebrating is women now have a choice – if she wants to spend her time cooking away, raising a family, then she has the freedom to do so; if she wants to pursue a career in law, she is able to do. It is the importance of choice that makes all the difference.

Women have certainly come a long way. In schools we are reading works by Anita Desai, her daughter, Kieran Desai, Catherine Lim, Doris Lessings, Amy Tan, Maxine Hong Kingston, Pearl S Buck, Arundhati Roy, JK Rowling, etc. And in many fields, women have reached the summit in their fields. Women now have very beautiful rooms of their own now, to borrow Woof’s metaphor.




Historical controversies -part 1 by History Tutor

History is full of man’s stupidity and mistakes, full of sufferings and grief although not entirely for History has its uplifting moments, episodes of courage, of heroic actions. History enlightens and demoralises. It is a two-edge sword like so many other two-edg swords. But I am not here to add to the lists of quotations about History.  I am here as a History tutor to share my thoughts on some of the controversies of modern history.

Foremost of all is the dropping of the two atomic bombs on Japan by Truman. I named him specifically because he made the decision not only to use the bomb with its devastating power but to use it twice – Little Boy on Hiroshima (August 6, 1945) and Fat Man on Nagasaki (9 August 1945). One would have suffice. Why didn’t he give the Japanese a chance to surrender after the first one.  Little Boy killed 100,000 people immediately!  Tens of thousands more died from wounds, burns and effects of the radiation many years later. Then of course there is the question of how did he not see that the Emperor was ready to surrender? Are there other motives involved in the brutal unleashing of the atomic bombs on Japan. Racism? Some argue that it was to demonstrate the fearsome power of American military superiority to the Russians.

With regards to the argument that the Japanese government especially the army had refused to surrender and were determined to fight on, the reality was furthest from the truth. The wish would still be burning in the chests of the far-right elements of the military but it was clear that the army could no longer fight anymore. Even Eisenhower, together with many Americans at that time was, convinced that Japan was close to surrender and that the use of the atomic bomb was unnecessary. Since 1945, many more questioned Truman’s decision. Such revisionists arguments are persuasive for Japan could not have avoided surrender much longer. The submarine blockade and the firebombing attacks had completely reduced her ability to make war and had caused great suffering. The Unites States Strategic Bombing Survery after the war stated flatly that Japan could not have continued the struggle beyond the end of 1945, even without the use of the bomb (one bomb)!

For my next part in the series on History Controversies, I will touch on the loss of Eastern Europe at Yalta. Yes who could forget the loss of Eastern Europe at Yalta. Roosevelt holding meetings with Stalin, deliberately excluding Churchill.  Imagine how the stupid decision by one dying man sent millions of Eastern Europe to the depths of depair and the heroic but ill-fated uprisings in Hungary and Czechoslovakia and the silent sufferings and losses of the invisible masses.

History is interesting and holds us spellbound – but what is fascinating to us and many others before us, is terrifying to those caught in that period.

If you enjoy this article, please remember to share this with your friends online. If you need help in Literature & Humanities, do contact Mdm Yu who is a trained MOE teacher who can help you by contacting her at 9876 1777.