Part 2 Detailed Study


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. In other words, elements of literary craft are very much at the foreground - and so it is very important to focus on the particularities of extracts from your works as you go about teaching them.

Part 2 is assessed through an oral examination. Both HL and SL students complete a 10 minute Individual Oral Commentary (IOC) in which they provide a detailed spoken commentary on an extract from one of the works they have studied. HL students complete an additional task, which is a discussion, led by the teacher, on on of their other two works:

Part 2 core requirements:

Number of Works studied Assessment task
2 Works, each from a different genre A 10 minute Individual Oral Commentary
3 Works, each from a different genre. HL students must study poetry for their IOC. A 10 minute Individual Oral Commentary, followed by a 10 minute subsequent discussion. The discussion takes place immediately after the commentary, without a break.

Which works?

Works chosen for Part 2 must all come from the Prescribed List of Authors (PLA) and each be from a different genre. Texts for this section of the course are often comprised of so called 'canonical' texts, in part to provide your course with the necessary requirements in terms of period/s represented, but also because many of these texts contain a very wide range and concentrated focus on aspects of literary craft.

Remember that only one work per author is allowed so, for instance, you could not choose to study an anthology of First World War poetry by various authors as one work.

The more 'popular' works can  be found here.

In subsequent pages you will find more detailed reference to some of the these frequently chosen works, but of course these should not necessarily influence your thinking too much. As long as you choose authors from the PLA, you are free to select works that are appropriate for the course you have constructed, and for the students' abilities and interests in your class.

Part 2 Assessment

The Individual Oral Commentary and (for HL students) subsequent Discussion often come to represent one of the more problematic sections of the course and can sometimes bring about considerable anxiety on the part of your students (and sometimes teachers!). If you have prepared your students well and have addressed the practical, procedural requirements carefully, then this kind of reaction really does not have to be the case, however.

Subsequent pages in this section of the site remind you of the practical considerations that need to be taken very seriously, and provide your students with a suggested model which will help them to prepare.

Some of the most important things to remember, however, are as follows:

  • Both SL and HL students complete a 10 minute commentary on a passage from one of the works they have studied, but remember that HL students MUST COMPLETE THEIR COMMENTARY ON POETRY
  • Passages chosen must be between 20-30 lines in length
  • Students must be allowed to talk without interruption for up to 8 minutes, at which point the teacher must interrupt in order to ask questions for the remaining 2 minutes
  • HL students must then complete a second 10 minute task - a discussion which is based on one of the other two works they have studied.  
  • The HL discussion is about the work as a whole; it does not focus on an extract
  • The student must not know which text they are going to be given for either the commentary or the discussion
  • Teachers must keep to the allocated times:  nothing said after the 10 minute/s segment/s will be taken into account when teachers and then moderators award marks.

Assessment criteria

Remember that the Part 2 IOC counts for 15%, which is half of the final Internal Assessment mark.  The criteria are as follows: 

 For Standard Level:

Criterion A Knowledge and understanding of the extract 10 marks
Criterion B Appreciation of the writer's choices 10 marks
Criterion C Organization and presentation 5 marks
Criterion D Language 5 marks
Total: 30 marks

 And for HL:

Criterion A Knowledge and understanding of the poem 5 marks
Criterion B Appreciation of the writer's choices 5 marks
Criterion C Organization and presentation of the commentary 5 marks
Criterion D Knowledge and understanding of the work used in the discussion 5 marks
Criterion E Response to the discussion questions 5 marks
Criterion F Language 5 marks
Total: 30 marks

Note that the first 3 criteria for HL are awarded for performance in the commentary, D and E for the discussion, and F is for performance in language overall.

Selected Pages

HL IOC Sample 1: Margaret Atwood poem and Slaughterhouse 5 19 January 2019

In this sample HL IOC the student gives a commentary on the Margaret Atwood poem, I Was Reading a Scientific Article, followed...

SL IOC Sample 5: The Sentry, Wilfred Owen 22 January 2018

Wilfred Owen is frequently chosen for Part 2, perhaps most often at Standard Level. He is a good choice of poet because...

IOC HL Sample 4: Carol Ann Duffy and Othello 13 January 2018

This Higher Level commentary and discussion focuses on War Photographer by Carol Ann Duffy and Othello by William Shakespeare....

SL IOC Sample 4: The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost 4 December 2017

Robert Frost is one of the most popular choices of poet, particularly at Standard Level - and is often studied in Part 2....

IOC HL Sample 3: John Keats and Truman Capote 21 October 2017

This Higher Level commentary and discussion focuses on Ode to Autumn by John Keats and In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. ...

IOC Procedural requirements 20 October 2017

There are often practical problems, such as failing to make the recording clear, procedural issues such as allowing the...

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