Individual oral commentary

The individual oral commentary (IOC) is a test on Part 4, a critical study of literature. By the time students take this oral exam SL students will have studied two works from the PLA, and HL students will have studied three works from the PLA. In class much preparation can be done to create confidence and understanding. For example students can be involved in the process of finding important passages from the literary works. Presentations on passages can be given in class. Teachers can draw students' attention to the assessment criteria. We recommend at least one round of mock orals before the final orals are conducted. Unlike the further oral activities, where the best performance counts, in the IOC, the last performance counts.

Both HL and SL students are assessed according to the same criteria. Differentiation between levels only occurs at the stage when grade boundaries are determined by the IB. Marks for the further oral activity are added together with the marks for the individual oral activity. Then they are divided by two. After moderation, grade boundaries are determined by the subject committee. Standard Level boundaries are more lenient than Higher Level boundaries. 

The basics

All of the following points apply to both Higher and Standard Level students:

  • Each student receives a 40-line passage from a work that he or she has studied for Part 4.
  • Students do not know which passage they will receive on this internal exam.
  • Each student has 20 minutes to prepare the passage.
  • Students must then talk about their passage for a minimum of 10 minutes and a maximum of 15 minutes. 
  • All orals must be recorded. Some will be sent to the IB for moderation.
  • After the 10th minute a 2 to 5 minute discussion may take place with the teacher.
  • The IOC counts for 15% of the final grade.
  • Teachers must ensure that there are enough passages to draw from during the oral exam. There should be an equal number of passages from all Part 4 works. The IB has stipulated the following total number of passages for class of these sizes (the following table is taken from the Language A: Language and Literature guide):
Number of students Number of extracts required
1-5 1 per student
6-10 6
11-15 7
16-20 8
21-25 9
26-30 10
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