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IB Highlights: English Exam Questions

IB Question of the Week: What do English A Literature exam questions look like, and what is the percentage of exams for the student’s IB grade?

Here is the breakdown of the weightings for the IB assessment components for English A Literature HL in a normal year, when there are no COVID accommodations. Note: Papers are the exams taken in May of senior year.

Here is an example of the Paper 2 exam question:

Answer one essay question only. You must base your answer on at least two of the part 3 works you have studied and compare and contrast these works in response to the question. Answers which are not based on a discussion of at least two part 3 works will not score high marks.

Drama

  1. Explore the techniques used by at least two playwrights you have studied to portray characters constrained by social expectations, and the effects created.
  2. In the works of at least two playwrights you have studied, compare the ways in which plot and structure are used to engage the audience.
  3. Explore the techniques used to interweave elements of comedy and tragedy in the work of at least two playwrights you have studied.

Poetry

  1. In the work of at least two poets you have studied, compare the techniques used to reveal the speaker, and the effects achieved.
  2. With reference to the work of at least two poets you have studied, compare in what ways and to what effect language has been used to create intense and/or unforgettable moments.
  3. Some poets shine a light on particular issues, while others criticize explicitly. Compare these different approaches in the work of at least two poets you have studied.

Prose: novel and short story

  1. Compare the different approaches to narrative that are used to create suspense in the works of at least two authors you have studied.
  2. Some works end with a neat resolution; others are less clear cut. With reference to the work of at least two authors you have studied, compare the techniques used to create such endings and the effects achieved.
  3. With reference to the works of at least two authors you have studied, compare the ways in which trapped or confined characters are used to highlight social issues.

Prose other than fiction

  1. How and to what effect are seemingly minor details resulting in major consequences presented in the work of at least two authors of prose other than fiction you have studied?
  2. With reference to the works of at least two authors of prose other than fiction you have studied, compare the techniques used to portray misunderstanding and its effects.
  3. In the works of at least two authors of prose other than fiction you have studied, discuss the creation of setting and its role in providing an emotional landscape for the reader.