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IOC Procedural requirements20 October 2017

There are often practical problems, such as failing to make the recording clear, procedural issues such as allowing the student to talk beyond the allocated time or failing to ask questions after the... more

Marking the IOP20 September 2018

Marking the IOP can sometimes present difficulties, not least because there tends to be a lot less exemplar material 'out there', and also because it is often a task that individual teachers complete... more

Written Assignment Exemplar 126 April 2017

In the Interactive Oral we looked into subjects varying from the history of the book 'One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich' to the conditions in the labor camps that Shukhov was imprisoned in. This... more

The Higher Level Discussion4 April 2017

As its name would suggest, the second part of the oral assessment is more interactive; the teacher is expected to assume a more active presence in it, and the type of questions asked, as well as the way... more

Written Assignment Exemplar 210 February 2017

The interactive oral covered a range of issues relevant to the novel’s cultural context. The emergence of the scientific method and positivism as a way of acquiring knowledge was introduced as a key... more

Stage 4: The Written Assignment6 February 2017

The final stage of the process is of course to start writing the actual assignment. As the supervisor of the essay, your role is to provide guidance and support - but to keep in mind at all times that... more

IOC Teaching Strategies12 May 2017

Although it is important not to drive the teaching of all aspects of the course towards the final assessment task, it is worthwhile keeping in mind nevertheless the fact that knowledge and understanding... more

The Commentary: a rough guide21 January 2017

What is a ‘commentary’?A commentary is a close analysis of a passage or a short work. More than a summary, it must investigate both the content and the language, i.e. WHAT the passage/poem achieves... more

Marking Paper 13 December 2016

Assessment of Paper 1 is broken up into 4 strands of criteria, each weighted equally. The strands are divided in a very similar way to other parts of the course - being split more or less equally between... more

Preparing to answer an exam question2 March 2018

Although it is obviously true to say that Paper 2 exam preparation is particular to the various texts students have been studying, there are nonetheless a range of more generic skills associated with... more

Written Assignment Exemplar 326 February 2017

Prior to the class discussion on the cultural and historical context of Broken April, as well as debating the significance of different aspects such as the setting and different frames of narrative used... more

Exemplar IOCs5 July 2017

When examiners (which in this case is your teacher) mark the Individual Oral Commentary, they are of course on the look out for some key elements, as defined by the marking criteria:STANDARD LEVEL: more

Written Assignment Exemplar 55 July 2017

This sample written assignment, on the function of clothing in Madame Bovary, is a good example of how a precise and pertinent focus can allow a student to explore a complex, challenging text in some... more

The IOC: advice for students10 December 2016

Preparing for the Commentary and (if you are HL) Discussion is often seen by students as one of the more stressful parts of the literature course. This is understandable as you are working against the... more

Marking Paper 211 May 2017

Assessment of Paper 2 is broken up into five strands of criteria each weighted equally. The strands are similar to other parts of the course although for Paper 2 there is a little more weighting on elements... more

Written Assignment Exemplar 813 July 2018

This HL Written Assignment is a response to Yukio Mishima's dark and disturbing novel, The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea. It is a great text for this part of the course as it is short and accessible... more

Written Assignment exemplar 419 March 2017

In our interactive oral our class is discussed in what ways Murakami's short stories are works of post modern-fiction, how he makes use of magical realism and in what ways there is a conflict between... more

Preparing the Presentation14 December 2016

It is important, for example, that they are made aware of the different kinds of approach their presentation format might actually take. Many, if not most, will need help focusing their ideas into a coherent... more

Paper 1: practise!3 December 2016

It may be a slightly obvious thing to say, but progress in this course depends more on the acquisition of a set of skills than the accumulation of a body of knowledge. And recognition of this carries... more

HL IOC Sample 2: T.S. Eliot and Hamlet20 August 2017

In this sample HL IOC the student gives a commentary on an extract from The Fire Sermon from T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland followed by a discussion on Shakespeare's Hamlet. While a fairly decent response... more

HL IOC Sample 1: Margaret Atwood poem and Slaughterhouse 55 July 2017

In this sample HL IOC the student gives a commentary on the Margaret Atwood poem, I Was Reading a Scientific Article, followed by a discussion on Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse 5. Listen to the commentary... more

Part 4: A student guidefree12 May 2017

This page is written with the students in mind. It presents advice of the kind listed on the previous page but in a way that will hopefully make more sense to them. Standing at the front of a classroom... more

Marking the Written Assignment9 May 2018

The criteria, located on page 49 of the Subject Guide, are the same for both Higher and Standard Level. They are divided up as follows:A: Fulfilling the requirements of the Reflective Statement more

IOC HL Sample 4: Carol Ann Duffy and Othello13 January 2018

This Higher Level commentary and discussion focuses on War Photographer by Carol Ann Duffy and Othello by William Shakespeare. Carol Ann Duffy is a great poet to teach as students generally find her... more

Written Assignment Exemplar 75 November 2017

This is another example of a Written Assignment where a clear and purposeful literary focus has allowed a student to explore a vast and complex text with an impressive degree of precision and depth. more

Reading unseen passages4 April 2017

Elsewhere in this section of the site is the (repeated) recommendation that skills in responding to unseen texts are improved when students learn to break down the various means through which they are... more

'Seeing' the unseenfree4 April 2017

Whether it is literature, music, painting, dance, architecture, or indeed any kind of art, the response you have when you see a work for the first time is a vital part of the way you 'see' it finally.... more

HL exemplar 1: prose7 February 2017

The passage on which the following commentary was written is in response to an extract set in the May 2012 paper.Having read through the comments provided for the two SL Guided Literary Analysis responses,... more

An overview of the Written Assignment5 December 2016

Part 1 is assessed through the submission of one 1500 word coursework essay, and is assessed externally. However, the syllabus asks all students to approach the final essay through a particular series... more

SL exemplar 4: poetry2 July 2018

This poem was set for the May 2015 exam. The candidate's response below is of a generally good quality, although there are a number of things your students might find the means to critique. One of these,... more

Written Assignment Exemplar 628 July 2017

This sample written assignment is focused on one of Neruda's best known poems, Walking Around. When it comes to the study of poetry for Part 1, while students need to study a collection of 15 to 20 poems... more

Part 1: Works in Translationfree4 April 2017

The IB Programme is of course defined by a number of core principles. One of these is an holistic approach to education - an interest in the development of different aspects of a student's intellectual,... more

Paper 1: the basics21 January 2017

The first of two external examination papers is referred to as: Guided Literary Analysis Literary CommentaryIn this first of two exams, students are expected to demonstrate skills in critical analysis... more

SL exemplar 1: poetry12 March 2017

The following Standard Level Guided Literary Analysis was written in response to this poem:https://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/mar/16/saturday-poem-gillian-clarke-mothers-dayThe Guiding Questions questions... more

HL exemplar 5: prose9 May 2018

The following commentary is a response to the May 2017 HL Time Zone 2 prose extract. It is a good example of a student responding in an intelligent and coherent way to a passage that - by their own admission... more

Part 2 Detailed Studyfree4 April 2017

In Part 2 of the course, students study a range of texts from different genres. The focus of the 'part' as its title suggests, concerns detailed analysis of the language and style of the works chosen.... more

SL exemplar 2: prose6 February 2017

This passage was set for the SL May 2013 exam, which you should be able to get hold of quite easily. It is a good one to explore because it is non-fiction, and therefore a useful reminder of the different... more

HL exemplar 4: prose2 May 2018

The following commentary is a response to the May 2014 HL Time Zone 2 prose extract. It might be a useful one to show to your students because there is a fairly obvious problem with it in its lack of... more

IOC HL Sample 3: John Keats and Truman Capote21 October 2017

This Higher Level commentary and discussion focuses on Ode to Autumn by John Keats and In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. These two works and their respective writers are popular choices, particularly at... more

HL exemplar 2: poetry10 February 2017

This poem was set for the May 2012 Paper, in Time zone 2. Have a read of the poem by clicking on the link above and then read the student's response to it below. You can download the commentary via... more

Introductions: Paper 2free27 November 2018

Introductions to Paper 2 essays often fall short for various reasons. Sometimes they are too long and identify nitty gritty that really should be kept back for the main body or the essay; sometimes they... more

Stage 1: the Interactive Oral16 February 2018

The first stage of the process that culminates in the writing of the 1500 word assignment focuses on the preparation and administration of an in-class 'interactive oral'. This discussion is prepared and... more

Stage 3: Supervised Writing21 January 2017

Stage 3 of the process that leads towards the writing of the Written Assignment is marked by a movement away from direct focus on elements of culture and context to address the literary qualities of the... more

HL exemplar 3: poetry27 November 2017

The poem, Blaze, by Christine West was set for the May 2017 Paper, in Time zone 2. Read the poem by clicking on the link below and then read the student's response to it underneath. Have a go at grading... more

The IOC: a student guide to literary art2 May 2017

Sound ​Poetic metre ​Diction and Syntax (1) ​Imagery ​Metaphor ​ more

Stage 2: the Reflective Statementfree12 May 2017

Once the Interactive Oral has been completed, all students must answer the question above, as prescribed by the syllabus. Before writing the RS, however, it is important to discuss with students the kind... more

Practising Paper 1: Prose (fiction)3 December 2016

In many respects, of course, working with an unseen prose text requires very much the same skills demanded by a poem. However, it may well be that certain elements come to the foreground more quickly... more

HL Paper 2 exemplar: Prose, Novel and Short Story (The Power and the Glory and Atonement).13 May 2017

This sample Higher Level response uses The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene and Atonement by Ian McEwan to respond to a the following Paper 2 question on prose: novel and short story:Discuss the importance... more

WA lesson Ideas: getting the title right free2 May 2017

Phrasing the title well depends on two key components:1. Making sure the chosen topic is an appropriate one2. Taking time to phrase the title in a meaningful, effective wayTypically, topics and titles... more

WA lesson ideas: the importance of meaningful planning7 December 2016

It hardly needs pointing out that planning the Written Assignment carefully is an essential component in the development of a strong essay.Any piece of written work that seeks to promote the development... more