IB English A: Language & Literature: Criteria

When preparing for the Paper 1 exam, you should familiarize yourself with its assessment criteria. If you know what examiners are looking for, then you are more likely to write effectively and score well. Self assessment, peer assessment and teacher assessment are key to preparing for this exam. You will want to practice by writing Paper 1s from previous years. An overview of both the SL and HL Paper 1 criteria are...

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Comments 7

Deborah Drake 30 November 2017 - 19:46

Am I missing something? How is it that there are only 20 marks available on Paper 1 but it's work 25 %? How do they do the math for that? It seems like usually the points available equated to the percentage worth - like paper 2.

Tim Pruzinsky 30 November 2017 - 23:33

Hi Deborah,

They don't always match. In this case, the Paper 1 score out of 20 is multiplied by 1.25 to get the correct percentage.


Niki Underwood 12 December 2017 - 17:53

What are the grade boundaries for SL Language & Literature?

Tim Pruzinsky 13 December 2017 - 04:08

Hi Niki,

They technically change for every exam (albeit slightly or not at all, depending on the year). You'll have to look at the subject report for that exam year to get this information. You can find it on My IB (the former OCC). Click on the subject report for the exam year you want.


Lauren Hucknall 21 March 2018 - 13:31

Hi Tim and David,

I'm getting a bit stuck with Criterion C - Organization and development. I'm pushing my SL students to produce well developed ideas that link back to the audience and/or purpose of a text. Is this enough to demonstrate 'development of the argument'? Am I right in thinking that their points need to be delivered in a convincing, well supported way rather than having to create a persuasive piece, or do I need to get them to do more to hit the top band for this assessment objective?

Thanks for your help,

Tim Pruzinsky 21 March 2018 - 23:32

Hi Lauren,

If all my students could deliver their points in a convincing, well supported manner - connecting to audience and purpose - I would be quite pleased. I think you are right to focus on this in a Paper 1. As for the persuasiveness of the argument, language plays huge role here too and it is sometimes hard to separate the organization of the argument from the vocabulary and tone used to make that claim. I do want both, and although I am not looking for a "persuasive" piece, I do want students to find their writing voice and to use it.

I also think there are many ways to organize a Paper 1 and that examiners need to (and do) keep an open mind when it comes to Criterion C. It sounds like you are on the right track, but please do ask if you have any follow-up questions about this.


Lauren Hucknall 22 March 2018 - 01:26

Thank you for this, Tim. It's helped to reassure me. I'm currently using one of the sample P1 responses from your site with the class so one of the things I'll get them to look at will be the language the candidate uses to uses to communicate their points. Hopefully this will start to give them a way in to balancing the organisation and tone of their response.
Thanks again,

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