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Preparing for the DSE History Exam

This blog is particularly for students who are preparing for their DSE History examinations.


K. W. Ho from King’s Glory Educational Centre and H. Y. Fung from Modern Education have put together some really helpful tips to aid students as they embark on this challenging paper. The DSE History curriculum focuses on the founding of the League of Nations in 1920, China’s revolution before 1949, post-war European cooperation after 1945, and Japan’s post-war development after 1945 in paper 1. Paper 2 will concentrate on Hong Kong politics, Japan’s modernisation in the 20th century, the second world war, China’s post-1949 reform and revolution, the Cold War, and the start of the European Union.


While examiners are not looking for a regurgitated version of dates and facts, they are looking for students to articulately state the importance of the major events discussed. The goal is that students must understand and analyse what they have learned, rather than just learning it parrot-style.


How Is the Paper Structured? Paper 1: Students will be allocated 105 minutes to complete this paper.

This first paper is worth 60% of a student’s final grade and is made up of data-based questions. For every correct answer, the student will be awarded two marks.

Paper 2: Students will be allocated 90 minutes to complete this paper. This second paper is worth 40% of a student’s final mark and is comprised of seven questions. Students will be asked to choose two out of the seven questions and then write an essay to answer them.


General Tips

  • Since paper one is short questions, while paper two consists of essay type questions, it goes without saying that it will be easier to score marks in paper one. For this reason, we recommend that students place a heavier emphasis on paper one.