P1 Sample work

IB English A: Language & Literature: P1 Sample work

One of the best ways to learn is by example. In order to become familiar with the expectations of Paper 1, you will want to look at how student work has been assessed in the past. Both poor and good samples are presented in these pages, so that you can learn from other students" experiences. We suggest you assess student work according to the criteria for Paper 1 before you look at the examiner"s comments of...

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Comments 18

Jane Barker 13 January 2017 - 08:06


Does anyone have any sample responses for the May 2016 SL Paper 1? We just used it for a mock exam, and it would be great to share sample answers with the kids!

Thanks so much,

Tim Pruzinsky 15 January 2017 - 08:33

Hi Liz,

We are constantly updating the site with new resources and samples. However, at the moment, we don't have a SL Paper 1. I'm sure we will before they take their real exams in May.


Sylvia Abayomi 1 February 2017 - 15:19

HI Tim or David,
I just wanted to ask you because I wondered if one should treat a paper 1 and 2 the same if you teach the literature course as I see you do not do literature A.
Will you a literature A course in the furture?
Thank you

Tim Pruzinsky 2 February 2017 - 03:12

Hi Sylvia,

They are different courses and have different assessment criterion. In that respect, treat them differently.

However, I think good writing is good writing no matter the assessment. So, the teaching of writing might be similar, but for a different purpose.


Sylvia Abayomi 6 February 2017 - 18:57

Yes I suppose so. Thank you Tim.

Sharmistha James 28 February 2017 - 02:54

Hi Can anyone please upload the Question paper for Paper 1 2016
sample answer script is there but question Paper is not there for both the levels.
thank you

David McIntyre 28 February 2017 - 03:51

Hi Sharmistha,

We cannot do this. These are copyrighted and must be purchased from the IB. At the time of writing, this paper may not yet be available for purchase.

Best regards,


Priyamvada Gopal 29 March 2017 - 05:22

I am trying to get my students to write a very effective theses statement for their Paper 1 SL. What advice should I offer them? I do not really know what is good enough for the IB.

David McIntyre 29 March 2017 - 07:35

Hi Priya,

I notice that you are asking a similar question on the OCC, so my response, here, builds on the opinions you have been offered, and the understanding that the IB neither prescribes not proscribes particular practices (albeit guidance of sorts comes in the form of subject reports)

One may, of course, suggest that a paper 1 does not require a thesis and/or that, in the course of writing, the writer 'finds her way' to an argument.

Both of these ideas constitute, in my view, not particularly effective practices. They are not effective, not least, because students have to, quite fundamentally, 'get' from the outset the text or texts they are writing about. Where students fail to 'get it', their analysis is invariably mediocre or poor.

I would suggest that 'getting it' is expressed at the beginning of a paper 1, and that this is essentially expressed as a thesis.

So what goes into it? In what way(s) can you identify the essence of a text/texts? Well, this may be in the functions (i.e. purposes) of a text, and/or it could involve an understanding of attitude or perspective - there is no one right way of thinking about this. All texts have functions, where a function can be regarded as 'what a text does'. Advertisements tend to have the function of persuading (although this will combine with other functions). So, in establishing a thesis, the student can do this by considering what the main function(s) of a text is/are and how the functions are realised. Much of the remainder of the analysis will expand on this initial idea.

In a similar way, HL students will frequently consider two texts that share a similar concern but differ in perspective (and almost always) linguistic realisation. Thus, for example, 'Text A is concerned with X and argues that Y. Text B is also concerned with X, but in contrast to Text A argues that Z'. I think that this kind of approach provides an initial argument (or 'thesis' if you prefer), and that there is in the claim made and in the parallelism of the claim the offer of a balanced argument.

Finally, I would suggest that effective introductions tend to signpost. For paper 1, this signposting could intimate the key linguistic/stylistic features that will be discussed and which realise the function(s) of the text(s). Therefore, if the key function of a text is 'to persuade', what are the main linguistic structures that encode the persuasive function?

I hope this helps,


Patricia Ager 4 April 2017 - 13:10

Hi David,
I can see the student responses to Paper 1 questions which are very useful. Are you able to tell me where I can access the original question paper, please?

Tim Pruzinsky 5 April 2017 - 01:00

Hi Pat,

Unfortunately, we can't publish the original question paper due to copyright. You will have to ask your IB Coordinator for them. And if not, the IB Store (follettibstore.com ) will have them for a small price.


Priyamvada Gopal 5 April 2017 - 06:53

Hi David,
Yes I did pose this question on the occ also :)
Thank you for your response and it has helped a lot. I shall share this with my colleagues.

Sharmistha James 22 August 2017 - 09:24

Dear David
Thank you for the samples for Paper 1, can you please upload the Text/question paper for each sample. Without the Question paper/texts its difficult to place the samples(Paper 1 HL and SL) in the correct perspective.
Thank you.

David McIntyre 22 August 2017 - 12:04

Hi Sharmistha,

I understand that this would be beneficial. However, we are not able to do this as it would infringe copyright law.

You may purchase the exams from the IB. However, please note that in some instances the texts are removed from what you order (sic). This may sound odd, but again it has to do with copyright law.

Best regards,


Alexandra Hay 15 September 2017 - 00:45

Hi Tim or David,
Would it be productive to have SL students write a practice paper 1 on a speech? (Grade 11 / Year 1 of DP) Many of my students have difficulty organising / expressing themselves in writing, so I'm working toward a WT1 on speeches (a speech about a speech, based on the Mandela sample) and want to precede with a practice paper 1 for analysis. (I want to link the tasks with the same primary source to help deepen their understanding.) My question here is that I have not seen any paper 1 work on speeches -- is this so? And, would it be wrong to prepare students for paper 1 style work with a speech? I hope this makes sense.

Tim Pruzinsky 15 September 2017 - 01:26

Hi Alexandra,

I think this makes complete sense. It's logical and sound. It's year 1 of the program. You are building their skills. You want to give them a chance to show and transfer their knowledge. Off the top of my head, while a speech hasn't shown up for SL, it is absolutely a text type that might. I say go for it!


Alexandra Hay 20 September 2017 - 09:58

Thank you, Tim -- this really helps. Another question -- as far as I can see, the quiding question (s) for the paper 1 exams is not included in the samples here. What guidance can I give students in this regard?

Tim Pruzinsky 20 September 2017 - 11:04

Hi Alexandra,

At HL, there are no guiding questions. They get the same instructions year in and year out. Essentially, write a comparative commentary.

At SL, they get two guiding questions. One will usually be more context or topically based and the other will usually be about style, but not always.


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