P1 HL S4 (hybrids)

This specimen paper offers an indication of the types of texts that could be expected on a higher level Paper 1. Although this specimen is not authorized by the IB, the texts have been selected in the spirit of the specimen papers provided by the IB:

  • The level of complexity is similar to previous specimen papers
  • The level of proficiency required by the students is equal to previous specimen papers
  • The range of texts (when taken with P1 HL S5 (stress) is similar to previous papers

If you would like to practice with new, unseen texts in preparation for Paper 1, this page is a good starting point. Download this specimen Paper 1 and feel free to use it as a mock exam. Share your findings by commenting in the comment box below or sending an email to the InThinking support staff. 

Contribute: Are you or your HL students willing to contribute to the InThinking Subject Site? Try writing a Paper 1 Comparative Commentary on either P1 HL S4 (hybrids) or P1 HL S5 (stress)). Downloadables are available on both pages for you to use in an exam-style situation. 

Paper 1

Analyse, compare and contrast the following two texts. Include comments on the similarities and differences between the texts and the significance of context, audience, purpose, and formal and stylistic features.

Specimen Paper 1 HL

Text 1

From 2012 Toyota Prius V Hybrid
Car and Driver Magazine
May 2011

Self-righteousness in a large economy size.

Since 1997, more than two million Toyota Prius hybrids have been sold in 70 countries. Loosely translated, the Latin word prius means “ahead of the curve,” not “creep along in the passing lane” as some owners seem to believe. The U.S. is the single largest Prius market with more than a million purchased here since 2000. The Prius currently outsells 30 other U.S.-market hybrids combined.

Refuting early powertrain-complexity and battery-life scares, more than 97 percent of the Priuses produced are still on the road. Used battery packs are available from salvage yards for around $500.

Born a compact fuel-squeezer and penny-pincher, Prius advanced to the mid-size class in 2003. That second-generation model earned wide acclaim, including a spot on our 2004 10 Best list.

Toyota’s U.S. general manager, Bob Carter, has high hopes that a growing Prius family will eventually surpass the sales volumes of the Camry and Corolla cash cows. And here is the first of the basic hatchback’s descendants, the Prius V. (That’s pronounced “vee” and not “five.”)

The V badge distinguishing the second Prius arriving this fall supposedly is meant to imply “versatile,” but it might just as well be Toyota’s victory salute. A risky engineering experiment worked, the Prius badge is universally recognized as the king of gas-electrics, and the hybrid pixie dust is being sprinkled over the 2012 V and two additional Prius models arriving next year.

Instead of simply flattening the roof and enlarging the standard Prius’s hatch to create the V, Toyota engineers went the extra mile. Their all-new body fits between conventional wagons, minivans, and compact crossovers. Size-wise, it’s a Mazda 5 with no third-row seating. (Other markets will get a three-row version of the V called the Prius+ or Alpha) Unlike the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf’s lithium-ion setups, the battery pack uses cheaper but still effective nickel-metal hydride cells. Carrying a richer load of standard and optional equipment, the Prius V likely will arrive with prices ranging from $25,000 to $35,000. This is among the first vehicles to get Toyota’s new Entune infotainment system.

Text 2

From Cool but weird: India’s $4B plan for electric, hybrid vehicles
Katie Fehrenbacher
Giga OM, 30 August 2012

The Indian government has announced an aggressive $4B plan to get 6 million electric and hybrid vehicles on its roads by 2020. Here are at least five hurdles I see for the plan.

The Indian government has reportedly passed a $4.13 billion plan to boost the production of electric and hybrid vehicles, with a goal to have 6 million green vehicles on its roads by 2020.

The proclamation could provide a new market for all our electric and hybrid vehicle-focused entrepreneurs looking to find new markets. However, there are at least 5 things I think you should know about this plan:

1). From 0 to 60:India’s electric car market is non-existent right now. The country has a domestic electric car maker Reva, which has struggled over the years, but which now has the support of Indian conglomerate Mahindra & Mahindra, which bought the company in 2010. Where are these vehicles going to come from? Probably China, if the Chinese electric car market kicks into gear anytime soon.

2). Lofty goal:The Indian government has long made lofty proclamations like this — Indians call them aspirational, not necessarily goals that have to be met on time. The country’s solar power goal is similarly eye-openingly high. In comparison, China has a similar plan to boost electric vehicle production, but is only shooting for 500,000 electric and hybrid cars on its roads by 2015.

3). Totally different vehicle buyer:The Indian vehicle buyer fits a totally different profile than the American, European or Japanese electric car buyer. The electric car buyer in these developed markets is willing to pay a premium for an electric or hybrid car — which are generally more expensive now than their gas counterparts — for the opportunity to be at the forefront of technology and greener vehicles. Most Indians are ultra price sensitive and won’t pay extra costs for luxury or greener goods. There is a growing Indian population that are looking to pay a good deal for vehicles, but a lot of those buyers want western models and brands like SUVs and classic luxury cars. These are generalizations but you get the picture.

4). Two wheelers are a bright spot: The Indian government says a lot of these aspirational vehicles will be two-wheelers, which could have more of a chance of selling in India. But that will depend on the emergence and popularity of an electric scooter or motorcycle being produced at a very low cost, as two-wheeler buyers in India tend to be even more price sensitive. Manufacturers in China are working on these now, so we’ll see how popular these become in India.

5). Power grid problem:If the recent blackouts are any indicator, India has some real problems with its power grid. If the country adds millions of vehicles plugging into the power grid, that’s going to add an even greater strain on it. If the Indian government is serious about plugging in vehicles to its grid, it needs to invest in the grid simultaneously, as well. 

Text 3

Text 4

Arthur Yap

of course your work comes first.
after that you may go for a walk,
visit friends but, all the same,
it is always correct to ask
before you do anything else.

so if you say: please may i jump

off the ledge? and go on to add

this work is really killing,

you will be told: start jumping.

no one is in any way

narrow-minded anymore these days.

it is that everyone likes to know

these things way beforehand.

but if you state: i’m going now,

jumping off the ledge

most probably they will say nothing,

thinking should it legally, morally,

departmentally be yes/no/perhaps,

or if it’s not too late:

why don’t you come along? we shall bring

this matter up to a higher level

Marking notes

After chief examiners mark the first few Paper 1 commentaries in an exam session, other examiners are sent marking notes. These are not intended to be exhaustive lists of points dictated to examiners. Rather marking notes are suggestions of points that students may raise. Examiners are encouraged to award students for mentioning these points or other appropriate points that students raise in their commentaries. Examiners are discouraged from deducting points for an absence of these points. Or, in the words of the IB:

The notes to examiners are intended only as guidelines to assist marking. They are not offered as an exhaustive and fixed set of responses or approaches to which all answers must rigidly adhere. Good ideas or angles not offered here should be acknowledged and rewarded as appropriate. Similarly, answers which do not include all the ideas or approaches suggested here should not be so heavily penalized as to distort appreciation of individuality

Specimen Paper 1 HL marking notes

Section A

This question asks candidates to compare ‘2012 Toyota Prius V Hybrid’, an extract from an article in Car and Driver Magazine, to ‘Cool but weird: India’s $4B plan for electric, hybrid vehicles’, an article in Giga OM, both of which explore the topic of hybrid and electric vehicles.

An adequate to good analysis will:

  • notice that both texts express the authors’ personal opinions through their biased choice of words, i.e. ‘risky engineering’, ‘victory salute’ in Text 1 or ‘lofty proclamations’ in Text 2
  • notice that both text types, despite their persuasive nature, also inform the reader on recent news, be it the arrival of Toyota’s new Prius or India’s plan to support entrepreneurs in the hybrid/electric car industry
  • comment on the use of statistics and monetary amounts in both texts, which serve to give readers a sense of culture and context
  • comment on the effects of the stylistic features, which may influence readers’ perceptions of Toyota and India, for better or worse
  • contrast the differences between the readers of both of these texts; Text 1 targets a car savvy audience that understands jargon such as ‘hatchback‘ or ‘lithium-ion set ups’, while Text 2 targets those who are interested in India’s ability and ambitions to ‘go green’.

A good to excellent analysis may also:

  • comment on implicit and explicit assumptions made about people who drive hybrid and/or electric vehicles in the United States and India, comparing and contrasting cultural values, noting that car-owners in India want less economical, American cars, while Americans increasingly want economical, environmentally-friendly cars such as the Prius (which may be considered ironical)
  • comment on the use of an idiomatic and conversational tone in both texts, where one uses parenthesis to explain “(“That’s pronounced “vee” and not “five.”),” and the other uses rhetorical questions, such as “Where are these vehicles going to come from?”
  • comment on the contexts of the authors; whereas the author of Text 1 may write a regular column on new cars for Car and Driver Magazine, the author of Text 2 may write a regular column on India in general.

Section B

This question asks candidates to compare the poem, ‘statement’ by Arthur Yap to DILBERT, the comic strip by Scott Adams.

An adequate to good analysis will:

  • comment on the theme of suicide as a result of work-related stress
  • comment on the use of figurative language in both texts, i.e. ‘smother me with a pillow’ and ‘work is killing’, which are not intended to be taken literally by other characters within the texts
  • note that both text types, though artistic in nature with fictional characters, are very different in structure and purpose; whereas Text 3 is a comic strip with only three panels, intended for quick comic relief in a daily newspaper, Text 4 is a poem intended for longer consideration, as it comments on cultural values of an office environment
  • comment on the different points of view of each text, where the reader feels like an outsider observing office life in Text 3 and is included (through the use of the second-person pronoun ‘you’) actively in Text 4

A good to excellent analysis may also:

  • show an appreciation for how Text 4, in a rather literary way, comments on the darker conflict between individualism and collectivism, while Text 3, in a rather light-hearted way, simply comments on office life
  • comment on the absence of capital letters, punctuation and structured verse in Text 4, which the reader may consider deceptively simple for such a serious topic, compared to a simple and minimalistic style of drawing in Text 3, which may be considered as truly simple by the reader
  • compare misunderstandings within the texts, where warning signals of suicide and cries for help are not acknowledged or taken seriously by unsympathetic colleagues, i.e. ‘I think she was kidding’ and ‘most probably they will say nothing.’

Sample responses

Assess the following sample according to the HL criteria for Paper 1. 

 P1 HL S4.1 (Hybrids)

Both texts presented or deal with the issue of a rising interest in popular, nature-friendly ‘hybrid’ vehicles in a world whose main worry is becoming the environment and its climate change. The first text is written in the form of an article in ‘Car and Driver Magazine’, while the second takes the structure of an editorial.

In Text 1, the audience targeted is one mainly composed of people interested in the car industry or “drivers” in general. In acknowledging its audience, the article makes use of facts and statistics that draw in the reader along with the friendly, almost informal tone that adds familiarity. It can also be noticed that the article is geared towards advertising the new Toyota Prius V Hybrid as it speaks of staggering figures that suggest this car outshines others and is very powerful in the international vehicle industry: “outsells 30 other US-market hybrids combined” and “two million[…] have been sold in 70 countries.” The article also includes catchy, car-related metaphors such as “went the extra mile” and alliteration aimed at depreciating other models like “Camry and Corolla cash cows.” These stylistic features emphasize the features that allow the Toyota Prius V to be better than the rest and have a leading role in the market.

The article briefly pauses on Toyota’s previous Prius model’s fame before moving onto visions for a glorious future. This shows a progressive development in the article that is matched by the development of the Toyota Prius that establishes a feeling of flow and continuity in the article, enticing the readers to carry on.

The article furthermore presents the highlights of new car and gives the readers insight into jargon related to it: “pronounce ‘vee’.” It suggests the car is innovative “all-new” like nothing we have seen before, almost magical to the point in which it is being associated to “pixie dust.” Other important information such as the price tag (“$25,000 to $35,000”) and incorporated items is also mentioned, with the originality of “infotainment” to add extra flair in the closing lines. This enables the article to fulfill its purpose of informing and promoting the new vehicle and leave the reader in awe.

Text 2 on the other hand has the purpose of drastically warning its reader of the problems facing India’s ambitious, “cool but weird” plan. It gives a brief introduction outlining the matter at hand and states what India is going to gain from it: “a new market […] looking to find new markets” (lines 6-7). However, the editorial then moves on to address the obvious obstacles lying in India’s way to fulfilling the goal, and does this in a simple, clear, easy-to-read manner, using the technique of bullet pointing.

The subheadings of each bullet-point provide the reader with a concise summary of the problems that India will encounter, and are in a bold font to further signify their importance and catch the reader’s attention in each paragraph. Fehrenbacher then leads the reader through her thought process step by step by including questions that she will then answer, like “where are these […] from?” (line 12) and hypotheses starting with ‘if’ in lines 34, 35 and 36.

Unlike Text 1, Text 2 is aiming to dissuade, not persuade, its readers. However, to connect with the reader, Text 2 uses a similar tone to Text 1, keeping the language and sentence structure straight forward and establishing an atmosphere of ease and friendliness with its readers.

Examiner's comments

Assess the sample work using the assessment criteria for Paper 1 before reading the examiner's comments below. Then compare your marks to the examiner's. Are they similar or different?

Criterion A - Understanding and comparison of the texts - 5 marks

The analysis should show and understanding of the similarities and differences between the texts. There needs to be a clear understanding of the target audience, the purpose and the context (where possible) of the text. The comparative analysis must be supported by relevant examples from the texts.

2 out of 5 - Unfortunately the first comparison of these texts appears in the final paragraph. Therefor it is difficult to assess this commentary according to this criterion. Furthermore, the student claims that the purpose of Text 1 is to advertise the Prius V, which is not true. It criticizes Prius drivers for driving so slowly, and it offers the reader an objective perspective by stating many informative facts and statistics. The main points of this commentary are supported with some well-chosen examples from the texts.

Criterion B - Understanding of the use and effects of stylistic features - 5 marks

The comparative analysis should show an understanding of how various stylistic features, such as tone, style and structure, are used to construct meaning. The analysis should comment on the effects that these features have on their target audience.

2 out of 5 - As far as Text 2 is concerned, the only stylistic feature mentioned is the use of bullet points, which help the text 'flow' and make it easy to read. There is some level of analysis with regards to Text 1, where the candidate comments on the use of statistics and monetary amounts.  

Criterion C - Organization and development - 5 marks

The analysis must be well-balanced, meaning that it treats both texts equally. Furthermore, it must be well-structured, coherent and organized.

1 out of 5 - There is not an equal treatment of the two texts, as Text 1 is explored with more depth than Text 2. Furthermore, the main idea of this commentary, that there is a rising interest in hybrid vehicles, is not developed with much depth.

Criterion D - Language - 5 marks

The language of the comparative analysis must be clear and accurate. It should be appropriate, meaning it contains formal sentence structure, good choice of words and effective terminology.

3 out of 5 - The use of language is very clear and accurate, with a good use of sub-clauses and complex sentence structures. 

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