Paper 1

Paper 1 includes two unseen non-literary texts or text extracts. SL students write a guided textual analysis about one of the texts. HL students write a guided textual analysis about both of the texts. Page 35 of the guide states this about Paper 1: "The passages could be taken from any of the text types listed in course requirements."  Therefore, the texts selected for this examination will be two different types, selected from a list of text types provided in the course guide (see pages 21-22). Each text is accompanied by one guiding question that directs students to consider a formal or stylistic aspect of the text. It is not necessary for students to respond to this question, but the question is there to provide a useful way for students to begin to think and write about the text.

This section of the site 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

  • Paper 1 is an examination using unseen non-literary texts. 
  • Paper 1 asks students to write a guided textual analysis about one (SL) or both (HL) of the texts provided.
  • Each individual text is presented with a guiding question.  This guiding question will be about a technical or formal aspect of the text.  While students do not have to answer the guiding question, and they can propose their own line of argument about the text, it must be focused on a particular aspect that provides focus to the analysis.   
  • 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 and many more.  A complete list can be found in the guide on pages 21-22.
  • Paper 1 counts for 35% of the final grade at both SL and HL. It is assessed externally.
  • Paper 1 is out of 20 marks for SL and 40 marks for HL. 
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