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Paper 1 sample response #19 March 2020

The following example guided literary analysis is written in response to the poem 'The Bat' by Ruth Pitter and a guiding question focused on how the poet portrays the development of the speaker's attitude... more

Paper 1 sample response #319 September 2020

To prepare fully for Paper 1 students need to be able to respond to various kinds of text types, including non-fiction and drama. The latter presents quite a challenge perhaps because it can often feel... more

Paper 1 sample responses #4 and #512 October 2020

On this page you will find two HL responses to the same poem - Blaze by Christine West. It can be useful and interesting, for teachers and students, to compare how different students approach the same... more

Paper 1 sample response #212 March 2020

The following example guided literary analysis is written in response to the prose (fiction) extract 'Gryphon' by Charles Baxter and a guiding question focused on the use of humour. As with the first... more

Paper 1 sample response #6 & #716 December 2020

Brian Keenan's account of being held hostage in Beirut for a number of years is a wonderful piece of writing - harrowing, moving, powerful and ultimately hopeful. It is also a great text to teach because... more

Paper 1 sample response #819 February 2021

This response is to the poem used as part of this video on annotation skills. It might be useful for students to complete the activities outlined in the video and then look at this analysis, which is... more

Paper 1 sample response #9 6 March 2021

Higher Level response to Absent Friends by Alan AyckbournThis is a response to the Drama text used on one of the IB's specimen papers for the course, the beginning of Alan Ayckbourn's 1975 play, Absent... more

Paper 1: sample guiding questions30 October 2020

For paper 1, guided literary analysis, students are given two unseen literary passages which can come from any of the four literary forms on the Prescribed Reading List: drama, poetry, prose fiction and... more

Paper 13 February 2020

Paper 1, the first of two external examination papers, is now called Guided Literary Analysis for both HL and SL students. In this examination students will be given two unseen passages, each from a... more

Practising Paper 1: Prose (fiction)24 December 2020

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

Practising Paper 1: Prose non-fiction8 December 2020

As on the old course, prose extracts in Paper 1 can come equally from works of non-fiction as well as fiction. Diaries, speeches, letters, travel writing, autobiography and journalism are some of the... more

Individual Oral samples21 October 2020

On this page you will find four samples of Individual Orals undertaken by students as practice for 'the real thing'. They have not been marked officially by the IB and the first three do not have the... 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 unseen4 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

10 Tips for Paper 110 October 2020

The following 10 tips are designed to help students adopt a systematic and effective approach to Paper 1, the Guided Literary Analysis. Many of these strategies focus on what happens in that first, crucial... more

Properties of language21 January 2017

Although the course in no way demands close analysis of the linguistic properties of literary language, a fairly 'scientific' examination of the linguistic means through which texts are constructed can... more

Global Issues23 November 2019

The final Individual Oral is a complex and challenging task so students need focused and scaffolded practice on the different elements of what they are asked to do in this assessment. A central part of... more

Non-fiction sample extractsfree22 April 2021

Finding suitable extracts of non-fiction for use in Paper 1 can sometimes be a challenge. On this page, therefore, is a selection of extracts, along with guiding questions, for you to use - whether in... more

Higher Level Essay23 September 2019

It is clear from the guidance on the Higher Level essay that this assignment should be set up and conducted as an independent inquiry, with students developing ideas from their learner portfolio into... more

Individual oral: sample extracts and outline6 January 2020

The requirements for the Individual Oral, as outlined in the guide and the TSM published by the IB, present teachers and students with some challenges when it comes to preparing and practising for the... more

A lesson on character in drama28 March 2021

“We're actors — we're the opposite of people!”Rosencrantz and Guidenstern Are DeadWe encounter characters in drama very differently to how we encounter them in novels or short stories. If reading... more

Individual Oral question bank1 May 2020

After a student has delivered their individual oral for ten minutes, the teacher is required to ask questions for a further five minutes. Some students may also need help before the ten minute mark, while... more

HL Essay: Exemplar 1 ('Wuthering Heights')5 November 2019

This HL Essay exemplar is focused on the concept of perspective in Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights, exploring the two main narrators and how Brontë uses their naive perceptions and interpretations... more

10 steps to help you prepare for the IO27 November 2020

This page is for students and includes a 10 step guide to help them prepare for their Individual Oral. This guide is a suggested approach and is not the only way to produce a successful IO; many students... more

Reading for Character19 June 2017

It is almost a certainty that the unseen passage will contain reference to, or even focus entirely on, particular people - or characters. If it is a prose extract then you will have little or no context... more

HL Essay: Exemplar 2 ('Madame Bovary')14 July 2020

The following essay, based on the famous novel by Flaubert, identifies a clear and focused topic, which allows the student to explore the novel in a relatively detailed manner. It is a fairly strong response,... more

HL Essay: Exemplar 4 ('The Unbearable Lightness of Being')11 November 2020

The following response, based on the novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera, is another excellent example of a HL essay. This essay was the result of a student pursuing a specific area... more

HL Essay: Exemplar 3 ('Art')6 September 2020

The following response, based on the play 'Art' by French playwright Yasmina Reza, is an excellent example of a HL essay. It is the result of a student choosing a text that engaged them and using their... more

HL Essay: a guide for self/peer review6 February 2021

A guide for self/peer review This page is designed for students as a guide to help them review their essay, or for peer review of essays before submission.These guidelines can also be downloaded as a... more

Structuring essaysfree12 May 2017

Organising ideas in essays and then presenting them in a meaningful, developed manner is one of the most challenging technical elements of the course - but success with structure is an essential means... more

HL Essay: final checklist13 February 2021

HL Essay: final checklist for students before submission This page is designed for students as a guide for a final check of their essay before submission.These guidelines can also be downloaded as a document... more

Reading for theme or motif12 May 2017

In the end, of course, we typically find ourselves reading literary works in order to explore what they seem to 'say' to us about particular subjects or issues. And when certain ideas seem to carry particular... more

Reading for Settingfree12 May 2017

Along with character, it is very likely indeed that the unseen passage in front of you when you sit Paper 1 will in some shape or form make use of setting. Setting is a rather loose term, of course,... more

Reading for Action30 November 2016

The particular events of an extract are inevitably going to present you with material for comment. However, term 'Action' can be used to describe any event that creates a sense of narrative interest.... more

Writing introductions30 January 2017

It hardly needs pointing out how important the opening of any essay is. This is the first thing of course that your teacher or examiner will read, and it is where the first impression of your writing... more

Extended Essay: the basics22 January 2017

The Extended Essay asks students to explore a particular topic in relation to one of their 6 subjects, which represents for them an area of personal and independent interest. It is an opportunity to... more

The Extended Essay16 November 2016

Writing the Extended Essay is (or should be) a very important part of a student's diploma experience, and certainly one that prepares them as well for elements of study at university level. It is a good... more

Extended Essay: reflectionsfree3 April 2021

With its explicit emphasis on engagement and reflection, the Extended Essay asks students to consider the research and writing process, and their learning through this process, alongside the question... more

A lesson on the essay6 April 2020

This lesson focuses on the essay, its origins, some famous examples and some of the problems of clearly defining this (or any) genre. The essay has been described as a "puzzling literary genre"and students... more

Writing good paragraphsfree2 May 2017

Writing good paragraphs is inevitably an essential element of all good essays, and one that you will spend a good deal of time developing throughout the course. But what does it take to write them consistently... more

A lesson on narrative voice and perspective13 September 2020

This is a fundamental question - arguably the fundamental question - when faced with any prose text, as David Lodge explains:“The choice of the point(s) of view from which the story is told...fundamentally... more

Paper 2 question bank23 February 2020

Paper 2 questions will ask students to compare and contrast two of the works they have studied. The questions may take different forms, invite examination of any aspect of content, form or style and apply... more

100 Slides23 April 2020

Interrogation of the details of literary texts is something that should be happening all the time in this course - and the more frequently this takes place - of the widest variety of text types - the... more

Revision ideas12 April 2019

As the final IB exams are a yearly occurrence for teachers, it can be easy to forget that they come around just once in a lifetime for our students and are a completely new - and often completely daunting... more

Synonyms for analysis17 January 2019

For many students, the challenge of the Literature course does not lie in reading, understanding or engaging with texts, but rather in articulating their appreciation with clarity, precision and sophistication.... more

Using quotations12 May 2017

A feature of all good essays is concerned with providing support for your ideas from the text you are examining. Evidence exists in terms of reference to particular details - whether moments, scenes or... more

A lesson on the poetic line6 January 2021

As with all literary texts, students of poetry need to have a heightened awareness of what makes poetry distinctive from the other forms of creative writing, as well as a good knowledge of the different... more

Poetry11 May 2017

Resources, teaching ideas and lesson plans for the following poets are accessible through the icons below. Carol Ann Duffy's poetryJohn Keats' poetryMargaret Atwood's poetry more

Drama11 May 2017

Resources, teaching ideas and lesson plans for the following plays are accessible through the icons below. Doctor Faustus Hamlet more

A lesson on dialogue26 September 2020

Hamlet, Act 3 Scene 2So starts Hamlet's advice to the group of visiting players as he seeks to outline the importance of what is said in drama and the importance of this being heard and enjoyed by the... more