IOC Sample work

This section contains several sample individual oral commentaries from former students. You will want to look at sample work for several reasons, depending on who you are and what your aims are. Teachers may want to practice assessing students, comparing the grades that they would have given with the grades that we have given. Students may want to look at the sample work to learn from example. Either way we recommend you approach these sample works as an 'information gap' exercise, that is to say by making educated guesses before looking at the results. This can be done best by following these steps.

How to use the samples

Read the passage that has been provided for each commentary before listening to the student's response. In fact, you can already make guesses about what you think the student will say in his or her commentary before listening to the commentary. As a class make a checklist of items you would expect the candidate to include in a good commentary.

Listen to the recording of the commentary. As you listen check to see if the student has included all of the ideas that you would have included. Naturally, if you are not familiar with the work, the student will have different and perhaps better insights into the text. This does not always have to be a handicap though. As a stranger to the text, you may see things in the passage that the student is blind to. 

Assess the student's work using the assessment criteria from the IB. For each criteria, discuss what grade you would give the student together with fellow classmates or colleagues. Do not click on the [show] button, which discloses the teacher's marks and comments, until you feel you are confident about your marks.

Look at the teacher's assessment and comments and compare them to your own. Were you close? Do you agree or disagree with the teacher's comments? Perhaps you would like to post a comment to the sample work stating your opinion. Look at more sample works from this section to gain a sense of how lenient or strict teachers can be. All in all, this information gap exercise should be a learning experience. 

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Comments 9

elizabeth smith 3 November 2017 - 15:03

Hello Tim
I have a quick question about the number of extracts I should put together for 12 students. According to the IB it should be 7 extracts but this of course means that one of the texts will have to have three to make up the exact requirement? Or have I misunderstood.



Tim Pruzinsky 3 November 2017 - 23:20

Hi Elizabeth,

You've understood it correctly. This is where you enter unfortunate logistical territory. In this case, you have two options.

1. You can create 9 extracts for easy math and to make it completely even.
2. You can create 7 extracts, as required, but only give students 6 envelopes to choose from. This way, it remains even between all three texts. However, to get your 7th extract in there, halfway through, when 6 or so students have gone, replace one extract with a new one. It keeps it even, but also allows you have to 7 extracts.
3. There is probably another option that other teachers use that I'm not thinking of right now. As long as they have an equal chance of conducting their IOC on one of the three texts, you are good in the eyes of the IB.


elizabeth smith 14 November 2017 - 14:39

Dear Tim
Are there strict guides as to how the extracts are to be numbered? Can it very line or does it have to be every 5 lines?



Tim Pruzinsky 15 November 2017 - 02:58

Hi Elizabeth,

Every 5 lines.


Zak Hood 15 January 2018 - 12:13

Hey, guys.

We have a little confusion in our department about whether or not the poems used for the IOC have to be unseen poems.

The understanding is--of course--that the extracts from the two Part 4 novels will have been previously seen and probably studied in class. The students will just not know in advance which extracts will appear on the IOC.

However, we're not sure if it's stipulated that the poem extracts be unseen poems from the studied author. The guide seems a bit ambiguous on the issue.


David McIntyre 15 January 2018 - 12:45

Hi Zak,

The poetry should have been studied in class. You may decide that the student who is given a poem in the IOC, in contrast to the student who receives an extract from a 350-page novel, is advantaged. Arguably so. If you are of this view, teaching only poetry in part 4 would not be problematic. Just a thought.



Zak Hood 15 January 2018 - 14:08

Perfect. Thank you for the advice and quick reply!

Emily Prager 18 January 2018 - 05:02

I am not seeing the IOC samples. How do I find them?
Emily Prager

Tim Pruzinsky 18 January 2018 - 07:29

Hi Emily,

You'll have to click on each individual page (the first is from "Death of a Naturalist"). Once you do that, you'll find the audio recording of it on the page. If you still can't find it, please let us know!


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