Paper 1

Paper 1 is a (comparative) textual analysis of one or two unseen texts. This section provides various ideas to develop the necessary skills for Paper 1. Sample Paper 1s are provided, so that you can learn through example and become familiar with the criteria. Finally, we have also provided a short list of tips, which should help you prepare for the exam in a more focused way.

The basics

  • The Paper 1 asks students to comment on one of two texts within one and a half hours.

  • The Paper 1 asks students to compare and contrast one of two pairs of text within two hours.

  • Passages for analysis may be complete pieces of writing or extracts from larger works. There is also the possibility of commenting on a visual text or an extract from a longer piece. Possible text types for analysis include: advertisements, opinion columns, brochures, extracts from memoirs, or travel writing.

  • One of the texts from one of the pairs may be a literary text.

  • Each individual text is presented with two guiding questions. HL students will not have guiding questions.

  • Paper 1 counts for 25% of the final grade. It is assessed externally.

Comments 5

Rachel Geary 21 March 2014 - 09:41

Hi David, For practice of Paper 1 can I use the texts for HL Paper 1? Are they of the same level?

David McIntyre 23 March 2014 - 11:01

I'm not sure what your question is, Rachel; do you mean can you use Paper 1 (HL) texts when working with SL students.

Thanks for clarifying.


Rachel Geary 25 March 2014 - 06:59

Are the HL texts from previous exams similar in style/difficulty to the SL texts?

David McIntyre 25 March 2014 - 09:13

One key difference between Paper 1 HL and SL, Rachel, is that HL exams may include a 'literary' text (i.e. a poem, drama, or prose fiction). Also, of course, HL students compare and contrast two texts, whilst Sl students comment on one text. However, I don't think you should hesitate to use 'HL texts' with SL students.


Caroline Payne 26 April 2014 - 10:34

Hi David
Thank you for all your information on this website - really helpful, especially with us going through for the first year! I've seen the paper 1 Nov 2013, but the HL comparison texts have been removed. Is there any way of seeing them or knowing which text they are at all please? I know one was a cartoon... Thanks!

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