Revising Part 3 Texts

IB English A: Language & Literature: Revising Part 3 Texts

At the time of writing (April 2018), final IB examinations are approaching for northern hemisphere schools. There are, typically, a number of features that reoccur in mediocre and/or weak Paper 2 examination responses. For example, students do not respond (well) to the question they choose. Or, they do not identify or demonstrate understanding of their studied works as literary constructions. On occasion - and almost...

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Comments 7

Sarah Arn 16 April 2018 - 16:38

Thank you! Great preparation resource

David McIntyre 16 April 2018 - 18:33

Thank you, Sarah

Michelle Westermann 17 April 2018 - 02:29

I have modified your idea somewhat to accommodate all three texts. I will send you a .pdf in case you find it useful.
I was wondering if a similar idea exists for Paper 1 preparation. I'm looking at piecing a few things together from the site, but the possibilities of text type and context on that exam are quite daunting...

David McIntyre 17 April 2018 - 14:13

Hi Michelle,

We like to think that what we publish is good. Where it isn't, we like to be told, and we like too when teachers modify and improve our work :))

I'm interested in your Paper 1 ideas. I can see how a grid of the kind provided gives students a basic place to start revising Paper 2, but how could this work with Paper 1 (I wonder)?

Your comments suggest that you are interested in text type (genre?). And, you suggest - rightly, I think - that the possibilities are 'daunting'.

My own approach to teaching textual analysis is to adopt a broadly speaking functional approach to texts. Whilst recognising that there are epistemological challenges to this approach, I still find that the approach (often) works (imperfectly!) in classroom practice. In this approach, the student will ask, as a provisional question, what are the functions of this text? Most often, high school teachers substitute 'function' for 'purpose', I think I am right in saying. Let's say, then, that the main intended function of text X is to persuade. One can, taking a functional approach, suggest that high modality and inclusive pronouns could be features of text X since these features have high frequency in texts that persuade. So far, do good, and one might suppose that one could draw up a list of functions with linguistic structures to match. But, it isn't that simple (I don't think!). For example, in my experience of reading texts that persuade - an experience that is simultaneously anecdotal and professional - I do not know whether declarative sentences outnumber imperative sentences, or if is the other way around. I've seen both. And I have seen interrogatives and exclamations. In other words, at this point, knowing the function of text X (still) matters, but understanding a range of sentence structures seems to matter at least as much. And what of literary texts? What is the function of a poem? Well, one may say, somewhat facetiously, that the poetic function dominates in poetry (a position that Roman Jakobson adhered to), but language's self-referentiality can be expressed in so, so many ways (as you know!).

So, in my own teaching, functional linguists takes me (and I hope my students) far, but it is really part of a more eclectic approach to teaching textual analysis where other approaches such as functionalism (also, rightly, challenged in academic literature) and classical rhetoric may inform how students critique texts.

I guess what I am saying is that I am a little bit suspicious of the suggestion (to somehow repeat for Paper 1 what has been done for Paper 2 on this page). But, I don't say this arrogantly; I'm happy to modify my position! It's important to remember - and I do get reminded - that we are teaching the IB Diploma, not postgraduate linguistics.

Kind regards,


Latika Mehra 24 April 2018 - 06:06

Thanks David!

This grid is a very pertinent for our learners.
It clearly indicates each aspect of the revision. Your inputs regarding Paper- 1 are very helpful.
Latika M.

elizabeth smith 9 May 2018 - 08:46

Dear David
Would it be feasible to study two poets for Part 4: A Streetcar Named Desire, Sylvia Plath and Wilfred Owen.

The part three texts are: A Doll`s House, A Streetcar Named Desire and Gatsby.

Best Wishes


David McIntyre 9 May 2018 - 11:33

Hi Elizabeth,

You can use anything from the PLA in part 4. So, selecting two works of poetry would work. You cannot, however, repeat ASND in both parts 3 and 4 (as your post suggests)/

Kind regards,


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