IB DP English Language and Literature Explained

Lang & Lit is different from Literature in that apart from literary texts, you will get to study non-literary texts too. These typically include magazine articles, infographics, brochures and speeches, but you might get to explore cartoons, photographs, and even films and television! Here’s a rough breakdown of what the syllabus requires:

Read – or Watch!
As mentioned above, you will need to study a mix of literary and non-literary texts. SL students will have to study 4 literary works, while HL students will have to study 6. The number of non-literary works you have to study is not specified, but it will take up the same learning time as your literary works (so it’s a half-half split!).

Individual Oral (30% for SL, 20% for HL)
You have to make a 10-minute oral response to examine how a global issue of your choice is presented through two works of your choice, one literary and one non-literary. For example, you can present on how an aspect of feminism is presented in a collection of artwork and a poetry collection. Then there will be a 5-minute Q&A session with your teacher.
The IO is a challenge to prepare for. You will need to frame your line of query carefully and make sure you address both the form and content of the works that you have chosen. If you think you need help, consider having an IB English tutor to maximise your grades for this internal assessment which you can fully prepare yourself for.

Paper 1 (35% for both SL and HL)
This is the unseen paper. You will be presented with two non-literary passages from two different text types with guiding questions. If you are taking SL, you can pick one from the two; if you are taking HL, you will have to do both. The key to Paper 1 of Lang&Lit is to address the material given to you holistically in a structured and thorough manner. If you find yourself struggling, You may consider engaging an IB English tutor to give you more guidance.

Paper 2 (35% for SL, 25% for HL )
This is the comparative essay, and the format is the same for SL and HL. You have to choose to answer one question out of four based on two works you have studied. The questions will be phrased in a very generic manner, and the key would be to make sure to frame your analysis to address the question. If you find yourself struggling to keep up with the discussion in class, having an IB English tutor would help you get back on track.

HL Essay (20% for HL)
As the title suggests, only HL students are required to write this piece of formal essay of 1200-1500 words on one literary or non-literary text you have studied.You will have to choose your own line of inquiry (i.e. phrase your own question), and to dig into the deep depths of one of the works studied. There are many skills involved – from framing the question to organising your argument, everything will have to be done with care as your teacher will be scrutinising your work in detail! To make sure you are producing your best work, consider getting help from an experienced IB English tutor to guide you along this coursework to ease the stress (and possible confusion!).

The IB English Language and Literature syllabus asks for a wide range of skills from the candidates. You have to be able to analyse both literary and non-literary works, and to present your analysis in a coherent and structured manner. It is not an easy task, and we understand that. If you find yourself struggling with any of the elements or need more guidance with a particular work that your teacher has assigned, contact us so that we can arrange you to work with an IB English tutor to shed more light on how you can do better.