2016 O-Level History Elective Exam - Model Answers for SEQ

Let us now look at how we can apply some of the skills learnt during tuition class to answer a couple of questions in the recently concluded 2016 O-Level examinations. While we would like to emphasise that there is NO ONE MODEL answer for humanities-related questions, there are RIGHT ways to answer said questions to ensure you achieve the maximum number of marks.

Question 3a

Explain why the Soviet Union formed the Warsaw Pact in 1955. (8 marks)


For the first paragraph, candidates should focus on the purpose of the Warsaw Pact. Explanation must relate to how Cold War developed to the stage whereby it made a military alliance between the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe necessary. Candidates would do well to include Cold War manoeuvres like Truman Doctrine, Marshall Plan, COMINFORM and COMECON. NATO would require a more detailed explanation because Warsaw Pact was designed to counter NATO in particular.

For the second paragraph, candidates need to address why the formation only happened in 1955. This is where candidates must bring in the significance of Germany in the Cold War tensions. After all, 1955 was the year West Germany joined NATO and the Warsaw Pact was a reaction to that. Candidates would do well to trace the Germany’s post-war development in their answer, especially with regards to West Germany.

Question 3b

‘Gorbachev was responsible for the end of the Cold War.’ How far do you agree with this statement? Explain your answer. (12 marks)


Candidates would need to be clear at which point would they consider the Cold War having ended. The Revolutions of 1989 would be the most convenient point. Candidates need not portray Gorbachev’s policies as a mistake as the question purely focus on the impact but not the judgement on the impact.

For the first paragraph, candidates would need to elaborate on how Gorbachev’s policies like Glasnost, Perestroika and foreign policy caused a reduction in tensions with the West and how the Revolutions in Eastern Europe were made possible due to the impact of these policies.

For the second paragraph, candidates must identify another actor / party having contributed to the end of Cold War. Since the given factor in the statement focuses on Gorbachev, the other factor should be on the role played by its Cold War rival: the US. Reagan’s change in stance in the mid-1980s would have to be discussed in terms of the reasons and the impact.


Our History department is helmed by extremely experienced and dedicated tutors who will help even the weakest of students perform to the best of their abilities. If you wish to learn more, do call us up at 6264 2236 or 9661 9760 to join our history classes, be it at O-Level or A-Level, immediately!

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square