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#71775Tips for writing A1 Essays - Paper 1, Paper 2 and WL1

Posted by on Jun 19, 2010 - 23:25

Paper 1
Paper 2
WL1
Literary features

Useful Links (cribbed off sweetnsimple786, thanks!)
World Literature 1 Marking Criteria
World Literature 2 Marking Criteria

Literary Analysis and Writing Technical Points

Tips for Writing A1 Unseen Commentaries (Paper 1)

1. Learn how YOU work best
Unless you've sussed it out for yourself already, your aim throughout the two years of IB should be to establish how you best approach this sort of essay. Everybody prefers to deal with it differently and has their own style -- the ultimate aim for anybody is to produce an essay with a cohesive, well-supported argument, a sound structure, doesn't skip any major points and can be completed within the allotted time. Simple, right?
There are two major areas in which people differ. The first is planning. How much time do you personally need to plan? Some people like to invest a massive amount of their time into it (e.g. for a 2 hour paper at HL they might spend half an hour or more planning it) and some people much less time, for instance 5 or 10 minutes. Obviously some has to take place as you have to read the poem and formulate an argument; whether you then choose to go straight ahead and start writing (usually to maximise the amount you can write down and give yourself leeway to change things) or whether you like to plan out exactly what you're going to say when (to make sure you have a good structure and are focussed), it's not a big deal. You have to work out for yourself what the optimum sort of time is going to be.
The second area is the style in which you deal with the text. This can either be done by theme (and incidentally tends to pair well with somebody who plans a lot) in which major points of discussion are stuck into dedicated paragraphs, or line-by-line which is literally dealing with the text in a linear fashion and therefore tends to require a lot less forethought. Each of these has its weaknesses -- for the former you can easily find yourself spotting something you should've discussed earlier but will then need to break your structure in order to include. You're less likely to come across things as you're writing, can write comparatively 'shallow' essays (i.e. less deep analysis) and of course you do need to plan things like crazy. An acronym often related to this is SCASI (Setting/Character/Action/Style/Ideas), where you do roughly a section of your essay on each of those. Weaknesses related to the line-by-line are largely time management (you end up writing a lot more) and making sure you pick up on overarching themes as well as structuring it in a cohesive manner.
Use any practice commentaries you do to test these out! Which do you prefer? More importantly, with which of these methods/time distributions do you get the best results grades-wise? You might be at an extreme or somewhere in the middle, but you're going to have a style which suits you and it's extremely important you're secure and confident in your personal approach before you enter the exam. On a final note, a lot of teachers will tell you that there's only one way to write a commentary. This is wrong. I've seen 7s with good employment of both these styles and the examiners will reward essays which fulfil the marking criteria, not your teacher's favourite way of doing it.

2. Don't pick between poetry/prose in advance
This might seem reasonably obvious, but there is a considerable chance that the poem/prose which comes up will not be to your liking. With the poetry you might not understand it... and with the prose you might not really see what there is to write. There are exceptions to this rule, some people know what they're doing and can go for their favourite every time, but as a general rule if you don't know 100% that you are an exception (and you'll know, trust me!) my advice is to practice both. Don't pick prose or poetry prior to seeing what they are like, that's a pretty crazy tactic because you're taking away your own options!

3. Have a line of argument
This gives your essay purpose, direction and is something for you to constantly refer back to. It's easier to do an analysis if you treat the whole essay as building up the case for WHY your analysis is correct. Imagine that you've announced "this poem is about X and now I'm going to show you why". This way you'll analyse, you'll give examples and you'll have cohesion because your essay will keep returning to the same central points. At no point in the exam should you be sitting scratching your head wondering where on earth to go next. You have an introduction (your declaration and brief overview of why you believe X to be the case) and a conclusion (briefly how you believe you've proved it to be so). Excellent stuff, having a line of argument.

4. Make sure your argument makes sense
If I am correct, in the USA and some other places, they call an argument a thesis statement. Whatever. Call it what you like, it is extremely important that you project your own 'vision' or interpretation of the poetry/prose. What this does NOT under any circumstances mean is that you see one bit of a line, think "ooo I like that idea!" and start inventing things or deciding that the word 'interpretation' is some kind of arty excuse for making mystical-sounding comments. World Literature is an analytical subject at heart, and whilst there's no technical right and wrong in that several versions of something can be correct, there's definitely a wrong and the word for that is misinterpretation. You do not want to misinterpret the whole thing. Some people are lucky and will never misinterpret because it comes naturally to them; for other people, no worries, there is a litmus test. Decide what you think the main theme of the poem/prose is and then with your decision in mind, and prior to writing anything, go through the whole text and think at every point "does my interpretation DEFINITELY make sense in light of this section?". Sometimes you might find something contradictory -- for instance a note of joy in a poem which is otherwise quite depressing. In that case, your argument can no longer be that the whole poem is centred around bitterness (or whatever, I'm making this up) but rather you'll have to alter your argument to the poem being about the randomness of fate (because on reflection it turns out that the contrast between the depression and the joy makes this the message you receive). Clearly this is an invented example, but the point I'm trying to get at is that the former interpretation wouldn't fit the whole text. The second interpretation DOES fit the whole text. Always make sure that your main line of argument fits everything, or your entire essay will be out.

5. Use language you understand
Okay I'm not going to lie, some people say some really stupid things. If you don't know what a word means, don't know how a phrase is used (and this happens to some native speakers as well as non-native speakers) for the love of whatever higher being may or may not be out there… don't do it! Please. If you've been exposed to a lot of phrases around you in everyday life, and read a lot of books, you'll probably find this kind of thing like second nature to you, and you're very lucky. If not, please don't try and impress anybody. It's better to use straight forward sentences and make sure you're definitely getting your point across. You will not be rewarded for speaking with the kind of Elizabethan flourish which would've made Shakespeare proud of his handiwork. They're going to be more impressed by the whole thing making sense than by you using verbs in conjunction with the wrong prepositions etc.

6. PEE! Also go to the toilet before the exam.
I always assume everybody has heard of this; if you haven't, listen up! PEE is the best way to approach anything. Point, Example, Explanation! Live by the code of PEE and you should never make a crappy point (because if it's crappy hopefully you'll realise your explanation sucks and therefore not write it) and never make a point without explaining it (without that extra E, PEE just wouldn't be the amusing urination-based acronym we all know and love, would it?). To break it down with a (flippant) example:
Point --> Seamus Heaney (a poet) uses potato-based puns to enforce his love of potatoes
Example --> He says: "Without potatoes/I would not be rooted in this life" (yes this is made up)
Explanation --> The word "rooted" refers back both to the author's roots and also to the nature of potatoes themselves which are root vegetables. He also uses a very effective sentence structure to emphasise the significance of potatoes by making them the start of the phrase, the verb in the middle and then with "life" as the last word in the phrase, the stresses fall in such a way that the two seem linked…. etc etc etc. It's amazing what you can bull**** really

Okay I mentioned this with planning earlier. Know when you're going to have done stuff by and keep an eye on the clock. An essay is not an essay without a conclusion and all of its contents, and these things cannot be put into place if you run out of time! When I used to do my A1 essays I went line-by-line and said more or less to leave 5 mins at the end to conclude have 5 mins at the start to plan and intend to be halfway through the poem by the time I got halfway through my time. Never failed to finish an essay with this (very non-technical but useful) tactic. Don't be caught out.

8. Make points, don't score points! (aka don't drop in literary features if you don't know what you're doing)
I wrote that mostly because it sounds catchy, but basically what I mean is that you should realise you get marks for making points. Not for using special words. Obviously you want to use some special words throughout (and by special words I mean the World Lit lingo: alliteration, metaphors, caesuras etc etc) but they should be coincidental with you making a point. I used to fit them in as part of the second E in my PEE. When explaining why my point was valid I would casually mention that it was mightily effective on account of the simile and so on. In other words, they can be slotted in casually.
What you should avoid is point scoring, which is kinda like name dropping only using special words. Just because you know a word to describe a literary feature and what it means, it doesn't mean it's always going to be there! The major victim of people trying to point score is "irony". In actual fact, irony is not all that pervasive in literature. It crops up every now and again, but not particularly frequently and definitely not in 80%+ of things. I'm not going to bother inventing a statistic for how often it does crop up, but just remember it's not everywhere. DO NOT say something is 'an example of irony' unless you
A) are sure it's definitely an example of irony and that you know what irony is
B) are willing to explain how it's an example and why this is effective
This goes for any special word. If you know something is effective but don't know the special word for it (and often there isn't one), there's no harm in explaining it out. It is better to do this than to invent things or to go out of your way to include literary features just for the sake of them being there! If something if effective, just explain why. You don't need a technical term for it every time, and if you see something you know the technical term for but it isn't really effective... don't go out of your way to mention it.

Tips for Writing A1 Essay Responses (Paper 2)

1. Look at past questions and use them to break down your texts for revision
If you look through past paper questions, you'll spot that the sorts of questions you receive will always be about generalised things. Off the top of my head, things like Setting, Character, Beginnings and Endings, Death, Love, Chronology etc. all tend to crop up with reassuring regularity. So, this is the way in which you should approach your texts when revising them. Remember that in the actual thing you'll come across one of these sorts of questions and you will either have to sit and think for the very first time of exactly how the minor characters influenced the play (...for example...) or you'll have handily thought of it all before.
Hopefully you'll agree that the second scenario is much better than the first. My advice is therefore to go through all of your texts and pick out the main points to do with these themes. Not only will you familiarise yourself with the texts in the process, but you should also find that a lot of the points can be easily recycled into your actual essay in the exam and that's the aim. Get a piece of paper, head it up with the theme you're looking at and then divide it into columns. Think of a point from one of the texts and simultaneously whether that same point can be made in another text -- i.e. compare and contrast. You might draw a blank, or you might think "well they DO mention the minor characters, but they play more of a role in narrating the life of the main characters than in providing any of the action..." = et voila, a contrast! That kind of thing.

2. Prepare all of your texts
Do not favouritise texts. You will note that the questions ask you to write about 2 or more of the works you have studied. So yes, technically you only have to learn about 2. What, however, if the question in the exam asks you about Death, and nobody dies in one of the texts. You'll be stuffed. Unless you can see forward in time to know what the question will be, don't do just 2 of the texts. Do all of them. Revising them isn't really very time-consuming or difficult, and at the end of the day you'll be able to make the best comparisons if you're able to choose the best texts to compare. Simple as.

3. Use the exam time as a guide to which texts to use
Again going back to the "only doing 2 texts" thing, there is NO optimum number of texts to do. You can get a 7 comparing 2 of them, and you can get a 7 comparing all 4 of them. Also 3. It depends on the question you get and how much you know to be able to write! Sometimes you'll be able to say a lot about 2 texts, sometimes you'll be able to say a little about all 4. Provided your answer is high quality and makes some good points, it'll be okay.

4. Avoid the format Text A. Text B. Text C. End.
This also applies to the World Lit essays: do not write everything about Love in Text A and then everything about Love in Text B. It is infinitely easier to make good points and score better if you follow the model: Point A about Love in Text A, Point A about Love in Text B. In other words, each paragraph(ish) should be a comparison of a specific point across the texts, and you should be constantly flitting between the two or more texts. This'll give you good structure and make your essay cohesive. It's similar to the line-of-argument thinking, really. Hopefully that makes sense.

5. Learn roughly 5 quotes per text (minimum)
You don't have the texts with you in the exams (unless your school is being super lax with the IB rules), however it is always good to
A) do some language analysis
B) show your amazing knowledge of the texts
Of course you can (and definitely should) show knowledge by explaining where your examples sit in context within the texts, how they're supported or repeated throughout the text and all that sort of thing which shows the examiner that you clearly know the text well, without quoting. However, quotes are important. I would recommend you learn 4-5 quotes per text. The reason for this number? Well it's random, however it should also be sufficient. Remember that YOU are in charge of putting them in, so for all the examiner knows, you might know every word of the whole book but have just chosen to put in 2 or 3 quotes -- you can show off what you know and totally skip on what you don't know by simply explaining it rather than quoting it. Consequently, you don't need to remember lots, and you can base some of your points around your quotes to make sure you nip them in. For this reason, your quotes need to be well-selected. I would recommend that you have quotes to convey the main themes, important things about the main characters, examples of the author's style if they have a distinctive style, and at least one quote which you can do a tiny bit of literary analysis on per text. You can find these by flicking through the books and just thinking of the most important things your teachers picked out in lessons, or you'll also find that sites like Sparknotes often contain 'key' quotes which you can use to inspire you. Picture them appearing in your essay and the points you'll make from them and it'll help you pick
They don't have to be long... even just 3 words long if it makes your point!

6. Make sure the essay has a sound, planned structure
In my experience, people rarely run out of time for this essay. There's no line-by-line version where you can ramble on to make your point, you'll have to structure it. Again you should practice how long this is going to take you, but you should do it a bit like Tip 1. Columns to compare points across as many texts as you're going to include. This shouldn't take you too long, but make sure you introduce with a mini line-of-argument, as in Paper 1 (it's a bit harder in Paper 2 so your introduction will probably just be some major generalising about the way in which the theme pops up in the texts) -- this'll also provide you with a way to conclude. Always think how to link the previous point to the next point so your essay flows well.

7. Remember what your texts are called and who wrote them...
It does not in any way shape or form help impress the examiner if you cannot get these right!! You'd be amazed what sorts of things you assume you know but will blank on in the exam, and the names of texts and authors are right up there with major things people forget. Part of this is due to the fact you'll be giving them all slang names by the end of studying them (e.g. 'Handmaids' instead of 'The Handmaid's Tale', and suddenly you'll be in the exam wondering who on earth wrote it, how many Ts there are in "At(t?)wood" and whether it was 'a' Handmaid's Tale or 'the' Handmaid's Tale or whether there was ever an extra word there at all). Really stupid things but you'll get stuck! Make sure you're spelling all of the titles, character and author's names right (don't assume you've been calling them the right name for 2 years, for instance many people reading The Outsider are very freaked that 'Mersault' has secretly been called 'Meursault' the whole time). This is the thing you will absolutely kick yourself for not getting right.

8. Always refer back to context and give examples
Show you know the texts! Without retelling the story, pop in a little bit of context with all your examples, and make sure you give an example (not necessarily quoted, remember, it can just be explained) for every point you make. Don't waste your time by going into insane detail, just make it subtly obvious you know the texts with context and examples.

9. How many paragraphs should my essay have??
Okay, lots of people ask this. The answer is AS MANY AS IT NEEDS. The reason for this is the intrinsic structure of your essay. You want each paragraph/section to be illustrating a new compare/contrast point. For instance, if the Question you're given is something like... "In the texts you have studied, what is the role of time?", you want to instantly come up with comparators/contrasts. E.g....
- in Long Day's Journey Into Night, the setting changes over time to show the passing of the day and the 'journey into night'
- in Waiting for Godot, the setting never changes to reflect how despite changing time, nothing actually changes
- in Long Day's Journey Into Night, the mother lives mentally in the past and regresses further and further as the play goes on
- in Waiting for Godot the characters are confused about the time and how long they've been there
(...and then obviously a lot more points!!)
Having done this you want to look at the points of comparison and contrast you've created. I would say that the points are
1. the way that time affects setting
2. the character's view of the passage of time
Et voila! 2 points and ~ 2 paragraphs.
Hopefully this illustrates the idea of the structure: your paragraphs/sections should represent your points, and your point should compare/contrast across all the texts you're using. In this way you end up with a good, well-structured essay that very tightly and neatly answers the question. Your points and ideas are very clear! This is, essentially, PEE again. Got to love PEE Really though, there's no point in doing X number of paragraphs as some optimum number. You'll have no idea how many points you're going to have and how many paragraphs your writing will take up until you've written it. Otherwise it's like saying that you're going somewhere nobody's ever been before, but nevertheless want somebody to advise you on the exact walking time. Just plain old bizarre.

Tips for Writing WL1 Essays

"Thesis statement" or question, whatever code name it goes under, it is absolutely absolutely essential it's right. You have several things to look at to get it 'right', and these are as follows
A) You will be able to write 1,500 words in answer to your question. WL essays are short and if it's not 1,450-1,500 words minimum I would suggest you've not set yourself a very good question or have failed to answer it thoroughly enough. You should be editing out minor words like crazy trying to trim it down, and definitely not stopping short of the mark.
B) You will be able to answer the question extremely thoroughly within 1,500 words. If you think "oh and I could've said that, too, but I ran out of space..." you didn't set yourself a very good question! Your question must be FULLY answered in the word count.
C) It will be a question! I personally think the phrase "thesis statement" can be misleading in terms of including the word statement. There should be no stating, narrating or retelling (unless it's part of briefly establishing context). You're trying to prove something by answering a task you've set yourself.
If you're having difficulty finding a question, I would suggest looking again at major themes and characters as you'll invariably find at least something to compare between those.

2. Thoroughly integrate the two texts
As with Paper 2 (Tip 4) make sure you constantly put one text against the other and do your best to avoid half your essay being about Text A and then half your essay being about Text B. You can't really do an analytical comparison that way, you end up just listing facts about 1 and facts about 2 -- if you're good you might be able to link Text B back every single time you spot an overlap, but that makes for difficult and messy reading and is generally not what you want to be doing if your aim is to impress.

3. Keep quotes short, simple and sweet
Definitely quote! Just remember that quotes take up your word count, so the more professional you are about integrating your quotes the better. Don't quote a whole sentence if the bit you want is only in part of it. If you can edit out/in words so it makes sense in the context of what you're writing, that not only shows that you are proficient at writing and will get you brownie points for that, but also saves your word count (yay). To show an example of quotes being integrated well and quotes being integrated less well, I shall give an example -- for instance, if the sentence in the book was
"Fred's tortured past was long behind him now"
A 'worse' version of this might be By saying 'Fred's tortured past was long behind him now', the author contrasts the fact that his past was bleak with the fact it happened a long time ago ....
A better version: Here Fred's past is described as "tortured" but the author also contrasts it with the fact that it is "long behind him now"
Not the best of examples but hopefully you can see that by chopping and changing, you can quote as part of your explanation rather than quoting something and then explaining it. In the long run it reads better, saves words and is generally more efficient.

4. SHOW your knowledge of the text
The best way to do this is by putting all of your examples in context. It's very important to appear to have a good working knowledge of whatever it is you're writing about and you should note that the IB specifies an appreciation of culture as one of its little keywords in the WL1 blurb. Although you should put all of the examples into the context of the novel/play/whatever itself, it's possibly worth putting some points of the novel in a more global context -- for instance if you were to pick out an example from Animal Farm with one of the pigs talking, you could extremely briefly mention the propaganda of Orwell's time and the message which he intends to convey through the character of the pigs being very relevant to its original readers. With Antigone or one of the Ancient Greek plays, pointing out how useful the Chorus is as a narrative technique given the mechanics of Greek theatres. This kind of thing is good because it shows you appreciate the style of the piece and also its original cultural context. Whatever you do do NOT go on about this for any longer than absolutely necessary. It's a World Literature piece, so any reference to non-WL stuff should be the tiniest of comments, but it's a good idea to nip in this sort of thing somewhere as it shows the examiner you appreciate a very large context to your understanding of the literature.

Present the characters. Don't write "X eats a potato together with Y". Instead write "The 16-year-old protagonist X eats a potato together with his best friend and neighbour, the blonde Englishman Y". This is how you show knowledge of works, criterion B.
(And handily use hardly any of your word count in the process! Good tip or what?)

Literary features bucket list: a short list of essentials literary features you can add to... but it's definitely useful to know these ones!

Spoiler

Hopefully those're all helpful hints. Please feel free to post some of your own and I'll edit them into this thread with some credit -- only if they're decent, of course, although I'm sure they will be (so no "bring a pen" comments!) xP Or if you have constructive comments to make on the tips already up there, those are also welcome.

#102922How to write a good biology lab report.

Posted by on Feb 21, 2011 - 22:09

Okay, so I found a bunch of notes I took when my teachers were giving us IA tips and format..etc. Some of the below I had to copy of the board, so you may find these in the books.

So, Biology IAs should follow this general format:
DESIGN
1)Research Question
2)Hypothesis/Predictions
3)Variables
4)Apparatus
5)Method/procedure

DCP
1)Collected data
2)Data processing
3)Data presentation

CE
1)Conclusion
2)Evaluation

Design

Research question:
This should be a clear focused question that says exactly what you are investigating. It shouldn't be too long and it must include the dependent and independent variables.
Eg. What is the effect of pH on the activity rate of salivary amylase?
Dependent variable: activity rate
Independent variable: pH

Hypothesis:
This is a paragraph or two where you explain your research question. You are going to say something like:
"Salivary Amylase is a an enzyme that digests starch into di- and monosaccharides. Since it's a salivary amylase, the enzyme works best at an alkaline pH of 7, in other words, the optimum pH is 7. At this pH, the rate of amylase activity will be at it's highest. A pH that is much lower (very acidic) or much higher (very alkaline) will denature the enzyme permanently (specifically the active site), and the enzyme can't function anymore. The activity of the enzyme will decrease as we increase or decrease pH."
You may also want to include a graph to show this if this possible.

Variables:
A list or a table that include:
-Independent variable: this is the variable you're changing. In the example above, the pH.
-Dependent variable: this is what changes when you change the independent variable. Eg. Activity rate.
-Controlled variables: these are all the other variables that must be kept the same in order to get an accurate results. For example, Temperature, pressure..etc.

Apparatus:
This is the list where you include everything you are going to use. Make sure you don't forget anything. My teacher always told me to include a diagram of the apparatus, so you may want to add that too.
When listing the apparatus, be specific:
1)'A beaker' wont work, you have to specify the type and the volume. Same for any other apparatus of this sort.
2)When listing chemical substances like enzymes or starch solutions. Include the volume and the concentration.
3)For Solid substances used, include the mass in 'g'
4)When mentioning the thermometer, you may want to say it goes from -2C to 100C just to be specific.

Method:
I always prefer the method being in a list format rather than a paragraph. It makes it much easier to read and understand. I would advise you to not use the first person. For example if you want to say "I will measure 50ml of starch solution into a beaker" you should say "Measure 50ml of starch solution into a beaker"
Please make sure you include every single step, don't miss one because it seems like an 'obvious' step!
Also make sure that your method controls the controlled variables and allows the collection of raw data.
After finishing your design, take a look at the table below (from the syllabus) to make sure you didn't miss anything:

Data Collection and Processing (DCP)

Collected data:
This is normally given in one or more tables. Make sure your table is clear and easy to read and follow. Trust me, it makes a difference. Do not forget to include the units at the top of each column in brackets and the error!

Here's an example:

Data processing:
Data processing is where they want you to do something with the data. Find an average, do one of the hypothesis test, calculate the standard deviation...etc. It normally depends on the experiment.

Errors/uncertainties:
This is the calculation of the % error in your experiment which you're going to discuss in CE.
The uncertainty of each apparatus should be printed on it. If it's not, then the uncertainty is the half the smallest division. For example, a ruler that with 0.1cm division will have an error of +/- 0.05cm.

Data presentation:
This presentation should be of the raw data and the processed data if possible.
Bar graphs and line graphs are one of the best way to present a data in most cases. A pie chart or a scatter graph may also be used. When adding the graph, make sure it has a title, labelled axis and legends. If you are for example investigating something at two different environments or situations, you should have a graph for each and then a third graph with the both, to show better comparison. In most cases, you are going to have to do at least 3 or 4 trials, include the graphs for each, then a final one of the average results. When appropriate include the uncertainties in the graph.
Please make sure the graph/chart is suitable for your type of data before using it.

Here are examples:

Bar Graph:

Pie Chart:

Once again, take a look at the criteria for a last check:

Conclusion and Evaluation (CE)

Conclusion:
The first point about the conclusion is that it should directly relate to the hypothesis. In other words, your conclusion must restate and discuss the hypothesis. You are not going to say why the results weren't accurate in this section. You're going to do discuss your results. Does it support the hypothesis? Were you predictions correct? Make sure you mention them again. I read this in one of the documents it got, and many people make this mistake: when talking about a hypothesis you're talking about whether the results support or refute the hypothesis, not prove the hypothesis.
In your conclusion, make sure you discuss the graphs, the charts..the data processing..etc.

Evaluation and improvement methods
I would organize this part in this way:
1st paragraph: the weaknesses and limitations.
In other words, all the possible reasons you could think of as to why your % error is too big (if that applies), why you results didn't perfectly support the hypothesis, why you results weren't accurate...etc. So basically, you're going to talk about all the weaknesses in your design and the effects these weaknesses had on the results. When mentioning the possible errors, I suggest doing it in bullet points because like I said they're much easier to read and understand.

2nd paragraph: improvements:
This is basically the "The errors above could be avoided next time by.....". Then just start suggesting all the things you would do differently next time to get better results, for example:
1)Repeat the experiments more than x times.
2)Control temperature and pressure more carefully.
3)Try to reduce human errors.
4)Use more accurate apparatus for volume measurements.
and so on.

Criteria table:

#98852TOK Essay - OFFICIAL Guide

Posted by on Jan 25, 2011 - 19:39

Basic guide to writing the essay

Reference
This guide is adapted from the works of Richard van de Lagemaat: http://www.cambridge...ets/pdf/TOK.pdf

Writing a TOK Essay
Tones of people freak out over the TOK essay when they see the topics. I know I did. It took me a lot of investigation, tips, and going to talk to my professor to figure out the process. In the end, my teacher gave me the best advice, which I have given bellow. It helped amazingly.
• Where do I start?
• What do I write?
• How many paragraphs should I have?
• How many examples should I have?
• Can I use outside sources?
• How do I define terms? Do I even need to define them?
All of these are common questions asked by TOK students. I have given the information bellow that I find most important for writing a solid, well-rounded, critical and organized essay. If anyone would like to add in advice or information, or give me suggestions of advice and information to add into this document, feel free, and I will get right on it.
How to Remember the Assessment Criteria
Keep in mind the Assessment Criteria when writing your TOK essay. Use it as a checklist throughout your writing process.
• Does your essay contain each criteria, A, B, C and D?
A. Understanding knowledge issues
• You essay is focused on knowledge issues
• You have only relevant information
• Your understanding of the prescribed topic is sophisticated
B. Knower’s perspective
• Your thinking and reasoning is independent
• You demonstrate self-awareness
• You mention different perspectives about specific issues
• Your examples are varied, well-explained and relevant
C. Analysis of knowledge issues
• Your writing style and organization demonstrates insight and depth
• Your main points have been justified
• You essay contains both arguments and counter-arguments
• Your essay clarifies assumptions and implications mentioned
D. Organisation of ideas
• The essay is well-structured
• The key concepts are explained
• Your facts mentioned are accurate
• Your essay contains a Reference Page
Remembering the each criteria throughout the writing process may be difficult; therefore, another method of keeping the basics in your mind while writing is by using the "4 Cs" explained below:
• CONTENT (criterion A)- incorporation of Knowledge Issues
• CREATIVITY (criterion B)- incorporation of Personal Thought
• CRITICAL THINKING (criterion C)- incorporation of arguments and counter-arguments
• CLARITY (criterion D)- well-structured essay
Choosing a Question from the Prescribed Titles and Brainstorming
When choosing a question for your essay from the IBO Prescribed Titles, make sure the question you choose can fulfill the following:

You understand the question
• If you don't understand the question, than don't try to figure out what it means. Just don't choose that question! Choose something easier! You should be clear about what the question means, what knowledge issues it raises and what is and is not relevant to it.
You are interested in the question
• How can you write about something you are not interested in? You will encounter many difficulties and also become very bored. Remember, one goal in writing an essay it to keep it interesting for the reader!
You have something to say about the question
• Can you come up with knowledge issues, possible examples and explanations for the question? You need to display confidence in your essay, if you cannot identify it's features, you cannot display that confidence. Try not to choose a question that covers a topic you did not study in your TOK class.
Now it is time to Brainstorm your ideas:
• Keep in mind the TOK diagram (if you have trouble remembering it, print it out and have it in front of you at all times)
• Keep in mind the Assessment Criteria or the "4 Cs"
• Jot down ideas that come to mind when thinking about the question
• Compare and contrast the ideas, than get rid of unimportant ideas.
• Create a mind map to visualize your ideas, and connect them
• Start giving your main ideas sub-points
• Don't start writing by using a textbook with information. The essay is all about your ideas, and your reflection on the question.
Writing and Organizing the Essay
Now that you have brainstormed your ideas and have a good idea about what you want to write. Begin writing.

Structure:
• Introduction
• Body Paragraphs
• Conclusion
Introduction

• Tell the reader what you are going to do in the body paragraphs of your essay
• There are three steps to a solid introduction:
• have an attention grabber at the beginning of the introduction to hold the reader's attention
• explain what you understand by the question
• outline how you will approach the question and undertake the issues
• In order to explain yourself, you should:
• write the question you are undertaking in your own words
• explain key terms/give definitions for key terms (in order to avoid ambiguity throughout your essay)
• state why the question is important
• impose your own limits on the question (you can never cover everything, so choose the main fields you wish to work work with)
Thesis Statement
• the fundamental claim you are making in your essay
• write a rough Thesis Statement before you start writing
• your Thesis Statement will most likely need to be changed a the end of your writing
Paragraphs

• Purpose of the paragraphs (i.e. the body) of your essay- break down, and set apart major new points in your arguments
• Organization of the paragraphs of your essay- a group of arguments and evidence that have to do specifically with the point of the main argument being discussed in that specific paragraph
• How long should each paragraph be and how should they be or set-up?
• Make sure your paragraphs don't have any irrelevant information
• Major points will, obviously, be longer paragraphs; meanwhile, minor points will be shorter, possibly only 4-5 sentences
• Transition smoothly from paragraph to paragraph (i.e. from point to point). Use appropriate transition words and concluding sentences in your paragraphs to achieve this smooth transition
• Since it is a long essay, you may want to occasionally recap on what you have written, as to not lose the reader in many points, examples and information.
Conclusion

• Wrap up your essay; do not end abruptly.
• Do not briefly restate what you have already said in your body paragraphs
• Formulate a new way to state your major insight/argument
• Mention unresolved issues
• Have a striking concluding sentence, giving the reader a positive view on your essays argument.
Style
• Clarity
• Economy
• Precision
Clarity- make sure the reader can understand what you are saying. Do not feel the need to use complicated words, which would brake the flow of your essay.
Economy- make your essay flow, but also eliminate irrelevant adjectives and other words that are unnecessary and take up your limited word count
Precision
• avoid clarifying too many words; people will get overwhelmed by definitions
• make sure to use language that is correct. Some words have subtle differences, others sometimes are inadequately used
Key Features that Should Appear in Your Essay
Content- Key Question: could your essay have been written by someone who has never taken a TOK class? If yes, than you have a problem: there is not enough TOK content (vocabulary, arguments, areas of knowledge, issues of knowledge, etc.)
• display TOK-type critical thinking abilities
• the central question: How do you know
• tell about the subject, not just facts
• compare and contrast difference sources, knowledge issues and areas of knowledge
Personal Thought- Key Question: does the accumulation of your examples and personal thoughts to justify your arguments give your essay a distinctive voice? If your essay sounds bland and boring, you have a problem: go back, be creative and thoughtful.

• specific positions you take and the points you make for the positions
Definitions- Key Question: Does your essay begin with explanations/definitions of possible contested concepts you will be utilizing throughout your essay? If someone was to highlight the definitions in your essay, would they be in the introduction, before the reflection?
• Define the contested concepts
• Definitions should be at the beginning of the essay, and a reflection should end the essay
• Explain why the definition is important and what hangs on it.
• You may need to refine your definitions after you finish writing your essay.
• Steps for a good definition:
• look into typical examples
• find common characteristics
• test the concept
Arguments- Key Question: Are your arguments a connected series of statements? Do your arguments gives premises to support your claim (your conclusion paragraph)
• "Therefore" test- put therefore in front of your statements, and the series makes sense, then it is an argument.
Evidence- Key Question: Do you have examples for your arguments that give your reader a typical, real-lie event to identify with?
• As a rough guide, you should give supporting evidence if what you are saying is:
• disputable or surprising.
• The more that hangs on an assertion and the more disputable it is, the more evidence you should give in support of it.
• Who says?
• Do they have the relevant expertise?
• Are they trustworthy?
• Do they have a vested interest?
• What’s the evidence?
• How plausible is it?
• Do they show both sides?
• Do they use emotive language? Do other experts agree?
Counter-arguments- Key Question: Did you give substantial counter-arguments and refute them successfully?
• Pretend like your essay is a dialogue: someone is trying to contradict your argument, and you are refuting them
• Once you have given a counter-argument, you will need to decide how it affects your original argument. There are two main types of response you can make:
• Refutation- reject the counter-argument, proving its mistakes, unlikeliness or unimportance
• Concession- You allow that there is some truth in the counter-argument and qualify your original argument to take account of it.
Sound Reasoning- Key Question: Go through your essay and identify all of the arguments. Have they been properly justified?
• To have a well-justified argument, be careful for:
• Hasty generalization- generalizing from insufficient
• Black-and-white thinking- fallacy of going from one extreme to the other.
• Inconsistency- Check the overall consistency of your essay and ensure that your various points do not contradict one another.
Depth- taking your analysis to an upper level; giving the essay weight
• Depth of dialogue try to not go back-and-forth between arguments and counter-arguments, and think of a response to the counter-argument and a counter-response to that. Think about: the quality as well as the quantity of such exchanges, at what point to bring them to a close.
• Weight of evidence The more supporting evidence you can give for your arguments the more conviction they will be.
• Relevant distinctions Introducing relevant distinctions will add subtlety and finesse to your argument.
• Key implications By exploring the implications of your argument, you show that you are thinking around the issue. Ask yourself what follows from the point you are considering.
• Background assumptions What assumptions am I making? Be willing to question them. Try not to confuse what is cultural and what is natural
• make connections
• consider both similarities and differences
• consider different perspectives
• think beyond your own assumptions
• bring in hidden assumptions in your own thinking
Examples
• use varied and effective examples
• Keep in mind when giving examples:
• Hypothetical examples
• Clichéd examples
• Representative examples
• Varied examples
• Brevity of examples
• Examples vs statistics- use both if you want
Quotations
According to the IBO definition, plagiarism is ‘the representation of the ideas or work of another person as the candidate’s own’. You will not be awarded your IB Diploma if it is discovered that you plagiarized your essay. To avoid plagiarism, the IBO says that: ‘Candidates must always ensure that they acknowledge fully and in detail the words and/or ideas of another person.’ Be sure to, therefore, reference (give credit) to any quotations written in your essay.

#148251Time Management

Posted by on Feb 01, 2012 - 22:36

Sup people of the IB. I found a short guide that I wrote a while ago that deals with stress and procrastination. I'll add more to it later (the irony but it is late ) so hopefully it's helpful. There's more to come if I remember

Stress

Firstly stress at school is mainly caused by lack of organisation. So sorting that out could half or even eliminate your 'i want to rip the hair out of my head' feeling!
How to organise work:

• Invest in a folder if you write notes with a note book and use folder separators to make things easier.
• This makes losing notes a lot less likely because they are in a named folder. Plus it makes you feel really professional

If you're feeling that things are getting to you, just step back for a little bit and think. You don't need to be getting overly stressed because that hinders your work and can result in tears, this isn't helpful to your development because it lowers your confidence. Try drinking some water, taking a short break from revision or going for a walk. Clear your mind.

Procrastination

This thing is horrible. I hate it loads and i have a half decent way of sorting it out. Just know that you cannot get rid of it completely otherwise you'll probably end up not enjoying life. No one can seize EVERY SINGLE opportunity they have to work. It's just not realistic haha

The reason why procrastination happens is because there are two parts of your brain that helps this. ( I cannot remember their names, forgive me for that)
One part see's the short term benefit of everything, like going on facebook or staring into the sky. This part is much bigger than the part that see's the long term benefit of working now. Plus the long term benfit part (the determined one) gets tired quickly.

Ok, imagine yourself as two people. 'present' you, and 'future' you.

'Present' you wants to put off work and say i'll do it tomorrow until your you've started everything too late. This would make you think, 'yea i promise i'll do it tomorrow but now i'll watch tv' or 'now i'll stare at pictures of yoda riding a cat'. Do you notice this trend? It happens a lot.

What you need to remember is that, it isn't now you that will be feeling the consequences of your procrastination, it'll be future you. (i hope this is making sense so far)

You need to look to future you and think that you want to have less work so you'll do it now.

Procrastination isn't because you're lazy, it's because you're weak in the sight of distractions (that sounds mean but everyone gets distracted for the reason i stated above)

• You don't want to be revising and realise that you cannot read half of anything that you've written. Some care will go a long way.
• You don't need to write full sentences when making notes, just something that can remind you what was taking place in class.
• Try organising your work daily.
• This further reduces the chances of losing sheets and notes, hole punch it and keep it safe. You'd be surprised how much they can help
• Lessen the distractions!
• Mute your computer so you aren't hearing all sorts of notifications
• Clear the cookies from your computer so you have to enter your password in everytime you want to log into something (but make sure you remember them haha) This makes logging into stuff an added effort so you're more inclined to just not bother and start your work.
• And if you need to just ban yourself from IBS and TSR (if you use it too)
• Give yourself motivation!
• Put pictures up of what you want to achieve
• Plan a little treat you can have ONLY if you've completed a certain amount of work... not if you've done something for a specific time
• It's too easy to say 'i've read for half an hour, time to chill'. You could've just been sitting there

[*]Look into what you want to do and what you need to do to get there
My next point is that not all procrastination is bad!

So when you feel lazy instead of refreshing the facebook homepage, read an article from the news or a page from a book relating to your subjects.

Plus don't mistake procrastination for having a break, breaks are good! they keep your sanity in tact

Ok the end is here! After multiple facebook references, unnecessary emoticons, incomplete sentences and poor humour that is.

I really do hope someone finds this helpful as this took me a while to write but maybe it'll be worth it
[/list]

Just remember, a little stress isn't bad and taking breaks isn't the same as procrastination.

I'll be adding more to this as things come to me.

****

You list all your tasks and label them A - F, with A being the most important and anything after D generally something you can put off until you've finished everything before that.

Stay concentrated and it won't seem like that much of a daunting task!

Spoiler

#97127Mathematics Portfolio Tips and Queries

Posted by on Jan 15, 2011 - 08:05

I haven't seen any IA tips around so I guess I would share some tips gathered from my Mathematics HL teacher's suggestions, some IBSurvival members' suggestions, my own knowledge and my own experiences.

Cover Page

Unless this is set by your school, I recommend that your cover page includes:
• School Name (e.g. Sekolah Tiara Bangsa – ACS)
• School Crest, if available
• Subject & Level (e.g. Mathematics HL)
• Portfolio Type (e.g. Portfolio Type I)
• Portfolio Title (e.g. Patterns Within Systems of Linear Equations)
• Candidate Name (e.g. Desy Kristianti)
• Candidate Number (e.g. 001863-002)
• Examination Session (e.g. May 2012)

• Candidate Name (e.g. Desy Kristianti)
• Candidate Number (e.g. 001863-002)
• Subject & Level (e.g. Mathematics HL)
• Portfolio Type & Title (e.g. Portfolio Type I – Patterns Within Systems of Linear Equations)

I recommend that your Footer includes:
• Page number in "Page X of Y" format (Page 3 of 20)
• (Note that your cover page is not included in the page number)

Formatting

I recommend that you have the following formatting:
• Font : Times New Roman or Arial
• Font Size : 12 or 11 respectively
• Font Colour : Black (Automatic)
• Line Spacing : 1.5 lines
• Alignment : Justified
• All variables and constants typed using the Equation feature in Ms. Word
• The portfolio should be printed in colour

Introduction

I recommend you to do the following in your introduction:
• Define some terms where appropriate (e.g. define Stellar Numbers). If you do not come up with the definitions by yourself, citations should be included as footnotes.
• Introduce the problem in the task
• Mention the purpose of the portfolio
• Name the software or program(s) that you are going to use
• Include a logo of all the software or program(s) used (e.g. Figure 1)

Figure 1 Autograph

Body

I recommend you to do the following in your portfolio:
• Answer all the questions in the order of how the questions are presented in the task sheet. However, do not write your portfolio in question-answer form. There should be a nice flow throughout your portfolio.
• Define relevant variables clearly. Usually x∈ℤ or x∈ℝ. If x∈ℝ and you are asked to put in different values of x, try all possible kind of constants such as:
• Integers (e.g. −12, 0, 23)
• Fractions (e.g. −13/19, 1/2, 21/4)
• Surds (e.g. −√2, (√5)/7, √(107) )
• Logarithm (e.g. − log5 8.5 , (log 9)/6 , ln 4)
• Pi (e.g. − 2π ,5/π , 7.3π3)
• Trig functions (sin 2π ,−tan 100° , 2 cos2 45° , cot 35°)
• Euler's number (e.g. − e, 2e/9 , 6.8e2)
• Complex number (e.g. √(-7), 3.8+4i)
• Explain what you are going to do before performing a calculation
• Show all the relevant steps for calculations. Any calculation performed should be shown.
• Calculate everything using your calculator except for rudimentary calculations
(e.g. use calculator to find the inverse of a matrix but do not use calculator to calculate 2+3)
• If you are using a calculator, put a screenshot showing just the part showing the mathematics. You do not need the program interface. These figures should be big enough that it is readable by unaided eyes but not too big.
• Use mathematical notations and terminologies where appropriate (e.g. arithmetic sequence, discriminant, augmented matrix, asymptote, infinity, etc.)
• Use a graphing software to plot graphs
• Use different colours if you plot more than one function on the same set of axes. Indicate clearly which function is which colour. Legends should be put on the same page with the
graph.
• Put the graph and the caption on the same page. If you need to rotate the graph, rotate the caption too so that the examiner know how they should see the graph.
• Do not describe step by step how to plot the graph using your graphing software. Instructions on how you got the graphs you got are not necessary, as what the examiners
are focusing on is your mathematical process, not the tools you used for the process. Just describe briefly what you are doing with that software.
• If you are asked to develop a model function, develop any of the following:
• Linear
• Cubic
• Exponential
• Logarithmic
• Sinusoidal
• Write in third person. Do not use I, YOU and WE.
• Go the extra mile, if possible
• A good portfolio should be 16-28 pages long

Conclusion

I recommend you to do the following towards the end of your portfolio:
• Tell them that this is the end of your investigation
• Mention the software or program(s) used in bullet points

Calculator

I recommend you to use any of the following software or program(s):
• TI-Nspire Student Software (http://education.ti..../detail?id=6768)
• Any Graphic Display Calculator that you have

Graphing Software

I recommend you to use any of the following graphing software or program(s):
• Autograph (http://www.autograph-maths.com/)
• GeoGebra (http://www.geogebra.org)
• TI-Nspire Student Software (http://education.ti..../detail?id=6768)
• Wolfram Mathematica (http://www.wolfram.c...atica/features/)
• Microsoft Excel
• Winplot (http://math.exeter.e...is/winplot.html)
• Graphmatica (http://www8.pair.com/ksoft/)

Some other graphing software or programs you could possibly use:
• GraphCalc (http://www.graphcalc.com)
• Graphing Calculator 3D (http://calculator.ru...ing-calculator/)
• Logger Pro (http://www.vernier.com/soft/lp.html)
• Maxima (http://maxima.sourceforge.net)
• Fung-Calc (Linux only) (http://fung-calc.sourceforge.net)
• Graphical Analysis (http://www.vernier.com/soft/ga.html)

that is all from me. the full version of the tips is available in this file and there are also details of the assessment criteria in that file.

if you guys have any other tips please post them below thank you!

#92386Compilation of Wisdom

Posted by on Dec 20, 2010 - 07:01

There are many threads around this giant forum that offer help, tips, advice, places to ask questions and get answer etc. etc. but like I said, it's a giant forum and finding them all, or finding the very one YOU need can be difficult. So here's a quick list of some awesome threads that you can use to help you with anything you might need.

General IB Awesomeness

1. How To Not Fail at Writing Essays
- READ THIS. Don't start your first essay without reading this. It's amazing, you just don't know it yet.
2. Citing The Sources
- READ THIS TOO. If you do not cite right, it's plagiarism. Plagiarism =Fails and possible kick from the IB Programme.
- Tips to avoid going over the word count for Essays. Some words simply aren't necessary.

History

4. The History Internal Assessment
- General information about the History IA as well as specifics about the various parts of the IA
5. The Gritty Details and Tips to the History IA
- Very detailed outline of what the investigation is, how to write it, how to form a question, you can find all of your answers here probably for this IA.
6. Tips for taking notes, remembering facts, and approaching P1.
- Some details on how to take efficient notes and remembering them, not just writing. Also a nice run down of Paper1 and how to approach it.
- Have some history questions? Ask them here. Mainly for providing facts to aid in your argument.
- What to think about when evaluating the Origin, Purpose, Value, and Limitations of those pesky sources.

Mathematics

9. The Different Maths
- The difference between the 4 Math classes, information about what each is as well as general information about which to take when wanting to look good for a university with your chosen area of interest.
10. The SL and HL Portfolio, a howto
- Formatting, what to do, what to focus, how to make yours better than the other person's next to you
- When math is just too hard, let some other math nerd help you figure it out! NO IA DISCUSSION!
12. The Math Studies IA
- What you need to do for the Math Studies IA. Unlike the SL and HL Math this IA does not change except for the variables you choose. This gives general tips on how to easily get a 7.
13. Fancy Math Notation for IBS
- So you can make 5pi/4 look like ${5\pi\over 4}$

Tok+EE+CAS

14. The Extended Essay for Dummies
- Self explanatory? Most EE questions can be answered here, can't directly help you with any ideas and/or analysis, sorry.
15. ToK Presentation Guide
16. ToK Presentation Past Experiences and Tips
- Other peoples embarrassing presentation moments! Or not, either way, the dos and don'ts for a good ToK presentation.
17. ToK Essay Prescribed Titles and Guidelines
- What the essay is, how to approach it, why it's even there.
18. Writing the ToK Essay
- How to approach, write, analyze, cite, whatever. If you need to know how to write the ToK Essay, click above.
19. ToK Essay Checklist
- Have you read this? Have you done these things? All of them? No? Don't turn it in yet!
20. Other's CAS Activities and Potential Ideas
- List of many people's activities they have done for CAS hours, you are able to repeat stuff they do
21. Howto CAS
- Plan the event. Reflect upon it. Keep Records.

The Natural Sciences

- Have a Biology question? Ask here.
- Have a Chemistry question? Ask here.
- Have a Physics question? Ask here.
25. SL+AHL Physics Videos for Topic13
- Topic 13: Quantum and Nuclear Physics (Radiation, Phtotoelectric Effect, Atomic Spectra/Energy States, and Nuclear Physics/Radioactive Decay)
26. Tips for Making Lab Reports
- General tips and advice for making a nice lab report when you really have no idea what you're doing!
27. Uncertainty Calculator
- This will do your basic uncertainty calculations when adding, subtracting, dividing, or multiplying values.
28. Chemistry internal assessment resources and guide
- What they really want you do for the Chemistry Designs, DCP and CE.
29. Group 4 Project Ideas
- List of what some people have done. Might help when you just don't understand how to connect three sciences into one lab.
30. Biology Exam Tips and Studying
- Tips to beast your exam and several links to topic specific revision resources.
- More Tips from Mahuta
31. What to choose?!
- When you just start, you don't know what these are so here's a good preview of all of them to help choose

A1 Languages

32. Basic Guide to Analyzing Texts
- Things to know before analyzing any text.
33. A1 Language Tips for Paper1, Paper2, and WL1
- Specifics and how to's for A1 Language exam Paper1, 2, and World Lit. Essay #1
34. A1 Language IOP Information
- Information about the Individual Oral Presentation for your A1 Language. What to do and what not to do as well as tips to staying calm during the presentation.
35. A1 Language IOC Information
- Information about the Individual Oral Commentary for your A1 Language. Still what to do, how to approach, tips for using your prep time etc.
- These books are meant to challenge your thinking. It won't be easy. Read this first

Economics

37. Economic Portfolio Resources
- List of links for various economic resources for the portfolio.
38. Economics Portfolio
- Tips for the Economics IA Portfolio thingy. Every little bit helps.

The Arts

39. Visual Arts Workbook Guidance
- How to make a not sucky workbook!

Psychology

40. The Psychology IA
- Tips and reminders for carrying out the Psychology IA. Got to be nice to people
- A few more links specifically for Psychology. Includes Syllabus, IA Information, and how to study for the exam.
42. Psychology Essay Formatting
- Some tips on how to write a Psychology essay for tests. There are key things you need to include

A2/B/AB Languages

43. Paper 1 Tips (The Texts)
- Tips written by a friend of mine on what is on the Paper 1 exam for B languages and how to approach them and what to look out for.
44. Paper 2 Tips (The Essay)
- More tips written by the same friend on how to show off in Paper 2. Examples and tips are french oriented however the tips apply for all languages.
45. The Oral IA
- Formatting the IA. What to say to make the grader know that you know what you're doing. Yes, when he says "dock" they will SUBTRACT points even though IB is positive grading.

I was unable to find anything to link for Business Management so if you know some links to help with this subject feel free to PM me and I'll add them
or if there is something I missed just let me know!

Hope this list helps during your two years of happy fun times

#67255Tips for writing A1 Essays - Paper 1, Paper 2 and WL1

Posted by on May 03, 2010 - 23:04

My classmate sent me this for tomorrows exam and I found it to be most helpful, so I wanted to share it with you guys

A good way is to discuss the following for both prose and poetry:

· The five W’s – What? Who? When? Where? Why?
· Ambiguities
· Diction
· Imagery
· Tone
· Mood
· Structure
· Pattern
· Voice
· Syntax

Prose-specific:

· Plot
· Narrative point of view
· Characterization
· Chronology (Use of time)
· Setting
· Paragraphing

Poetry-specific:
· Layout
· Stanzas
· Metre
· Sound

Organization of Time:

30 minutes – Read the passage, over and over again until you feel confident about the passage and have absorbed its contents. Then analysis and structure your commentary with a thesis statement.

Exemplary Thesis Statement: A’s work B shows C through the following devices D to achieve overall effect(s) E.

Outline:
Introduction – Opener containing author and title. Discuss the main issues of your commentary, e.g. devices, in such a way that you are “attempting” to understand the meaning of the work (e.g. the overall effect). Do not present yourself in such a manner that you seem entirely self-assured in the introduction, but rather you have noticed something and plan to explore it further through the commentary. Conclude with the thesis statement.

Literary devices #1 (e.g. Structure, Diction, Imagery) – Open with the general intent of the paragraph – e.g. A uses archaic diction to rectify the Victorian setting. Then, discuss the evidence for this, showing the effects of these devices and the author’s intention with this. The closing sentence should present what device you were exploring and the overall effect you feel this had for the passage, and in its heightening of the “overall effect and intentions” of the passage.

Repeat this for every group of literary devices, mentioning all the relevant devices and aspects (see previous lists).

Conclusion – state that extent of the effect’s effectiveness. Then state the devices that contributed. Then conclude with a clincher.

90 minutes – Write, using proof from the text, in accordance with your previously made outline. Discuss the effects of the devices and show “professional” personal interpretation. Ensure that your vocabulary is eloquent and coherently verbose.

Tips:

1. The structure of your commentary is probably the single most important way of gaining (and losing marks). Write a strong Introduction and Conclusion (in a similar format as previously described) and ensure that every body paragraph has a strong opener with the intent of the paragraph and a clincher which emphasizes the addition to meaning that the devices provide. This is incredibly easy to do - but if forgotten, it will make a difference in your grade.

2. ‘So what?’ mentality – every single device you mention should have you thinking “So what?” what does this device do for the passage? How does it contribute to the overall effect or meaning? This will strengthen your discussion of the effects (key for HL). If you cannot mention the effect or the significance DO NOT mention the device!

3. Do not seem definitive, rather seem to “struggle” – use words like ‘perhaps’, ‘seems to’, etc, to ensure that you do not say “This is what the poem is, take it or leave it.” The examiner has most definitely read the passage well and will not be pleased to see a butchering of the text, which is definitive (and most likely pompous in their eyes). Also, this will allow you to point out the text’s ambiguities and describe their significance.

4. Use ‘the reader,’ ‘the audience,’ and possibly even ‘we’ to reinforce the reader.

5. Do not state the obvious – show your thought process and analysis. Example, in commenting on a passage from Life of Pi, where the author mentions the tiger and child are scared:

“link 1: the boat is sinking and tiger is too (obviously)
link 2: the tiger is scared (clearly implied by text)
link 3: fear is an emotion, therefore the tiger is experiencing human emotions (low level thinking)
link 4: if the tiger is experincing human emotions, the author is trying to humanize the tiger (slightly higher level thinking)
link 5: why is the author humanizing the tiger? perhaps the tiger is supposed to be a metaphor for a concept (higher level thinking)
link 6: what is the concept and what are the author's reasons? (thesis statement)
link 7: since these emotions are humans, there is personification going on (more higher level thinking).

An example of an explication written for a timed exam (non-IB specific):

The Fountain

Fountain, fountain, what do you say
Singing at night alone?
"It is enough to rise and fall
Here in my basin of stone."

But are you content as you seem to be
So near the freedom and rush of the sea?
"I have listened all night to its laboring sound,
It heaves and sags, as the moon runs round;
Ocean and fountain, shadow and tree,
Nothing escapes, nothing is free."

—Sara Teasdale (American, l884-1933)

As a direct address to an inanimate object "The Fountain" presents three main conflicts concerning the appearance to the observer and the reality in the poem. First, since the speaker addresses an object usually considered voiceless, the reader may abandon his/her normal perception of the fountain and enter the poet's imaginative address. Secondly, the speaker not only addresses the fountain but asserts that it speaks and sings, personifying the object with vocal abilities. These acts imply that, not only can the fountain speak in a musical form, but the fountain also has the ability to present some particular meaning ("what do you say" (1)). Finally, the poet gives the fountain a voice to say that its perpetual motion (rising and falling) is "enough" to maintain its sense of existence. This final personification fully dramatizes the conflict between the fountain's appearance and the poem's statement of reality by giving the object intelligence and voice.

The first strophe, four lines of alternating 4- and 3-foot lines, takes the form of a ballad stanza. In this way, the poem begins by suggesting that it will be story that will perhaps teach a certain lesson. The opening trochees and repetition stress the address to the fountain, and the iamb which ends line 1 and the trochee that begins line 2 stress the actions of the fountain itself. The response of the fountain illustrates its own rise and fall in the iambic line 3, and the rhyme of "alone" and "stone" emphasizes that the fountain is really a physical object, even though it can speak in this poem.

The second strophe expands the conflicts as the speaker questions the fountain. The first couplet connects the rhyming words "be" and "sea" these connections stress the question, "Is the fountain content when it exists so close to a large, open body of water like the ocean?" The fountain responds to the tempting "rush of the sea" with much wisdom (6). The fountain's reply posits the sea as "laboring" versus the speaker's assertion of its freedom; the sea becomes characterized by heavily accented "heaves and sags" and not open rushing (7, 8). In this way, the fountain suggests that the sea's waters may be described in images of labor, work, and fatigue; governed by the moon, these waters are not free at all. The "as" of line 8 becomes a key word, illustrating that the sea's waters are not free but commanded by the moon, which is itself governed by gravity in its orbit around Earth. Since the moon, an object far away in the heavens, controls the ocean, the sea cannot be free as the speaker asserts.

The poet reveals the fountain's intelligence in rhyming couplets which present closed-in, epigrammatic statements. These couplets draw attention to the contained nature of the all objects in the poem, and they draw attention to the final line's lesson. This last line works on several levels to address the poem's conflicts. First, the line refers to the fountain itself; in this final rhymed couplet is the illustration of the water's perpetual motion in the fountain, its continually recycled movement rising and falling. Second, the line refers to the ocean; in this respect the water cannot escape its boundary or control its own motions. The ocean itself is trapped between landmasses and is controlled by a distant object's gravitational pull. Finally, the line addresses the speaker, leaving him/her with an overriding sense of fate and fallacy. The fallacy here is that the fountain presents this wisdom of reality to defy the speaker's original idea that the fountain and the ocean appear to be trapped and free. Also, the direct statement of the last line certainly addresses the human speaker as well as the human reader. This statement implies that we are all trapped or controlled by some remote object or entity. At the same time, the assertion that "Nothing escapes" reflects the limitations of life in the world and the death that no person can escape. Our own thoughts are restricted by our mortality as well as by our limits of relying on appearances. By personifying a voiceless object, the poem presents a different perception of reality, placing the reader in the same position of the speaker and inviting the reader to question the conflict between appearance and reality, between what we see and what we can know.

SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT:
The writer observes and presents many of the most salient points of the short poem, but she could indeed organize the explication more coherently. To improve this explication, the writer could focus more on the speaker's state of mind. In this way, the writer could explore the implications of the dramatic situation even further: why does the speaker ask a question of a mute object? With this line of thought, the writer could also examine more closely the speaker's movement from perplexity (I am trapped but the waters are free) to a kind of resolution (the fountain and the sea are as trapped as I am). Finally, the writer could include a more detailed consideration of rhythm, meter, and rhyme.

Hope this helps,
best regards from Teresa in Iceland

#74974Type II -- Population Trends in China

Posted by on Aug 12, 2010 - 00:59

Hello to everybody!

I am nearly finished with this one, only wondering whether it is better to include graphs that show grids or ones that do not. Does that makes any difference whatsoever?

hi,

did you choose a logistic graph straight away when looking at the data points or did you choose something different and then change when you saw the researchers model?

#105245Origins, Purpose, Value and Limitations

Posted by on Mar 06, 2011 - 11:33

Both in question 3 in Paper 1 and in Section C in the Internal Assessment, you will be asked to evaluate sources for their Origins, Purpose, Values and Limitations. Here are some questions you should be asking yourself when you are faced with a particular type of source:

#107479ToK Presentation OFFICIAL Guide

Posted by on Mar 24, 2011 - 06:08

ToK Presentation Guide

Knowledge Issues
'Knowledge issue' i.e. issues about knowledge. It would be appropriate here to consider what ToK is all about. Many naturally assume that anything philosophically based is ToK. Understandable, but wrong. ToK is based around three main questions:
• What is knowledge?
• How is knowledge acquired?
• How do we know what we know?
In layman’s terms, a knowledge issue is a very general question which aims to explore the problems of knowledge and evaluate it. Thus, knowledge issues are usually formatted in the form of ‘How do we know…?’ (this deals with question 3) However, there are other forms such as ‘What is the role of [a way of knowing] in [an area of knowledge]?’ (this deals with question 2).

The knowledge issue must be stated in the introduction of your presentation as it is what your presentation is all about.

For example, ‘To what extend is euthanasia ethical?’ is not a knowledge issue as it does not attempt to answer any of the three basic questions. ‘What ways of knowing can aid us in determining whether euthanasia is ethical?’ is not a well formed main knowledge issue because it is too specific, but at least it is a knowledge issue which deals with question 2.

‘Derived / Sub-’ Knowledge Issues
These are knowledge issues in themselves but are connected to the main theme or main knowledge issue of the presentation and are possibly more focused in nature.

For example, if your main knowledge issue is ‘What is the role of reason in History?’ a linking knowledge issue you could explore would be ‘How can we use Historical knowledge and inductive reasoning to predict future events?’ Your entire presentation should be based around the main knowledge issue and your main theme, but this sub-knowledge issue will allow you to explore one small aspect of 'the role of reason in History'.

Claims and Counter-claims
These are statements which are answers to your knowledge issue or sub-knowledge issues. They are then proceeded with evidence that supports such a point. In a way you can treat this as a paragraph in an essay, its structure is similar to the Point Evidence Explaination (PEE) or Statement Evidence eXplaination (SEX) which you may be familiar with.

For example, for the knowledge issue ‘How do we know whether homosexuality is ‘natural’?’ A claim would be ‘deductive reasoning can tell us that it is not natural.
• the natural goal of all living things on earth is to reproduce;
• homosexuality does not allow the possibility of biological reproduction;
• therefore homosexuality is not 'natural'.
A counter-claim would be that ‘deductive reasoning has its limitations in aiding us to determine whether homosexuality is natural.’ A discussion on the flaws of premises and reliability of deductive reasoning would then take place.

Real Life Situation
A real life situation is a realistic event, object or scenario that allows you to extract knowledge issues from it or supports your claim, a possible answer to your knowledge issue, by providing evidence. Real life situations can be drawn form anywhere ranging from the news to a book your read to an event that happened on the school playground. The possibilities are endless. Always try to make your real life situation related to you in some way; an incident which happened to you would be perfect.

For example, for the knowledge issue ‘How reliable are our sense perceptions in determining what is true.’ For the claim/counter-claim: ‘Sense perceptions have their limitations in determining what is true,’ a real life situation would be, ‘The time when I was small and saw a ghost’s face appear in the curtain, upon further inspection, it was the folds of the curtain that had shaped into something similar to a man’s face. With the combination of flawed inductive reasoning, sense perception had hindered my knowledge of truth.’

Getting Started
There are two main ways to get yourself started.
• is to find a real life situation which really interests you. You will extract one knowledge issue from it and simplify it to make it into your main knowledge issue your presentation will be based on. From there you find sub-knowledge issues and more real life scenarios to support your claims and counter claims.
• is to think of a broad knowledge issue, derive sub-knowledge issues which you wish to explore and find real life situations from there.
There are many ways to do your presentation. It can be a simple lecture, a power point presentation, (if your are in pairs) a dialogue, a role play ect.

The entire presentation should be like a verbal essay, with a focused introduction introducing the main issues, your methodology and how the presentation is structured. A claim should be given first, evidence to support the claim, then the limitations of the claim or a counter claim. The conclusion should sum up the main points in the presentation, it is an opportunity to give your opinion (great for scoring marks on the Knower’s Perspective criteria).

Presenting
As with any presentation, practice makes perfect. Make sure you can be heard clearly and that you articulate yourself well. The nice thing about the presentation is that since it is verbal it allows you to create a lot of links. E.g. ‘referring back to the first slide of the presentation’, ‘this scenario is very similar to the tax the government is enacting next month isn’t it?’ Create a set of notes to aid you so that you know what you will be discussing next. With power points do not cram everything onto the slide, each slide should only have a max of 5 points, they should not be sentences. When showing pictures, make sure it covers the entire slide, what’s the point of having a picture when it's of minute size shoved in the corner?

#136018ToK Presentation OFFICIAL Guide

Posted by on Oct 21, 2011 - 15:39

How to pick your TOK presentation title

RIGHT this post is being made because there's an almost endless supply of people who pick very bad TOK presentation titles and it's always for the same reason: they don't really understand what the TOK presentation is about! SO listen up everybody and pay close attention to my attempts to dispel the TOK myths and stop people putting loads of effort into a presentation which is doomed from the start!

1. What do they mean when they say to pick a Knowledge Issue?
The answer is frankly that the phrase 'knowledge issue' is very misleading, in my opinion. I certainly didn't have any idea what one was for most of the time I did TOK. Just think of 'knowledge issue' as a complicated way of saying 'a topic which can be analysed using the TOK pentagram thingy'. What is the TOK pentagram thingy? Well by that I mean the Ways of Knowing (emotion/reason/sense-perception/language) which in the IB diagram is surrounded by the Areas of Knowledge (Humanities, Human Sciences etc.). So a 'knowledge issue' is any topic which can be discussed or analysed in the context of the Ways of Knowing (and the Areas of Knowledge).
Confused?
You may well be. Keep reading! Or just skip the next heading and go to no. 3.

2. Do they mean to pick an ethical dilemma?
No, no and NO. Thousands of IB students misunderstanding TOK up and down the land seem to have a thought process which (understandably but also wrongly) goes along the lines of:
TOK = Philosophy = ...ethics = are things right or wrong??
This is not good. TOK is supposedly a branch of Philosophy but that's as far as it goes. A knowledge issue is not "is _____* right or wrong?"
* = abortion, nuclear war, creationism... and so on.
Don't write about ethics, don't touch ethics, don't go near ethics. Ethics and TOK are like oil and water. They do not mix. An area of knowledge may well be ethics but I guarantee you that almost anybody trying to put ethics into their TOK presentation will fail to write about the TOK aspects and just start writing about ethics. So take Kant, Utilitarianism, Relativism and anything else you may have proudly learnt the rudiments of, and stuff them in a bag for later. Or if you take IB Philosophy, they'll go down well there

3. Okay so what DO they want from me??
This is the best question because it's not about what they MEAN by knowledge issue etc. that is going to help you do well, but rather what they want from you which is the key to success and being able to pick a good TOK essay title. Always think of it in these terms and you'll be able to tell whether you're on the right lines or drifting dangerously off course.
Effectively they want you to answer the following question: How do we know what we know? specifically using their method of the Ways of Knowing/Areas of Knowledge in your explanation.

4. So... what do they mean by how do we know what we know?
How do we know what we know about X? = using the 4 ways of knowing (reason, sense-perception, emotion, language), how do these 4 things interact and come together to form the knowledge that we have about subject X.
For instance, how do we know that this pen is yellow?
This isn't an endlessly deep philosophical question (in this instance) because this is a TOK lesson so they want you to copy/paste from the TOK pentagram. So think to yourself: what are the 4 ways of knowing and how do we use those to know the pen is yellow? Well, maybe somebody told you it was yellow (language), maybe you were told that it was the third colour of the rainbow (reason), maybe you were just shown it (sense-perception). I'm not sure how you'd emotionally find out it was yellow, but you get my gist - basically you are applying the 4 ways of knowing to something and then claiming that those ways of knowing form the "How" of the question "How do we know what we know?".

5. I get it now, but how is "this pen is yellow" a knowledge issue?
Yeah, it's not a knowledge issue. Or rather, technically it is, but it's such a simple one that you couldn't do a presentation on it. Now that you've got the hang of the fact we're looking for SOMETHING to which to apply the 4 ways of knowing, we can look for a proper issue to get your teeth into. My advice is to think of something which is either an assumption or a decision that we make relatively unthinkingly. For instance, "How do we know which charity to donate to?" or "How do we know whether literature is 'good'?".
THEN think your way through the 4 ways of knowing to see whether you can apply them (in which case, congratulations, you're going down the right lines!). Can you think of a way in which we use that way of knowing to come to a conclusion about your new 'knowledge issue'?

6. How does it become an 'issue' exactly? I seem to just be narrating things...
In many ways this is the crux of the essay and the whole point of TOK (to get you to consider this). This is the point at which you say "Well, I know about whether literature is good or not via reason because I assume that anything which has sold 10,000 copies MUST be good..." and then go "actually wait, reason requires things to follow logically - but actually, does this logically follow?".
Well that's what you have to discuss! Your argument as it stands is:
1. People only buy books if they're good
2. 10,000 people have bought this book
3. Therefore the book is good.

...but does number 1 really make sense? What about advertising? 10,000 people might buy a really bad book if they see loads of adverts for it. Was the book a set text for the national curriculum? Plenty of people would have to buy it then And so on. Basically it's looking at the knowledge we have and checking it for mistakes and THAT is why it's an 'issue' and why TOK is meant to be helpful. If you're the kind of person who never questions why they think things, or thinks "hang on a sec, maybe I'm just assuming something which might not be true..." then TOK may be a revelation to you.
This is where you go crazy with stuff like appeals to emotion, bias, censorship etc etc. and start looking into how the way in which we have come about the knowledge might fail to give us a complete picture of the 'truthful' version of that knowledge. Reason, emotion, sense/perception and language have a lot of issues in terms of ways in which they can help and hinder you, and it is now your job to suss these out and make them into a presentation! Essentially: How do they help you/let you down in terms of finding the 'truth' for the knowledge you've chosen as knowledge issue?
BUT make sure you talk about the 4 ways of knowing (or however many apply, you might not need/be able to use all 4) and not just about bias/censorship/any key words other than the ways of knowing if you want to get your marks!

7. So do all TOK titles have to be in the format "How do we know what we know about X?"
Nope, have free rein and go wild. Just make sure you can apply the 4 ways of knowing and that you're examining HOW we come to know about the issue.

8. Link it to a real-life scenario/example wherever possible.
Okay, this isn't a suggestion, this is a command. Find an example, invent an imaginary example, whatever. You get bonus points for this, so do it 'cause it's easy. For the "How do we know what literature is good?" scenario, I might look at the real-life scenario of literature picked to be taught in schools or literature put in the 'Classics' section of a bookshop, or perhaps literary prizes. All scenarios where we have to ask about good literature, and all real-life examples which you can theme your presentation around. The TOK examiners get very sad when they realise that TOK is essentially just another random overlay of bull**** onto real life, so they are made VERY happy indeed by seeing you give a real-life example to prove that TOK is indeed relevant to reality. Even if it isn't. If you fail to link the TOK pentagram to a real-life issue, you can wave goodbye to a hefty chunk of marks. Bonus points if it's a personal example of an issue or uses personal experiences (even if you make them up).

9. Did I mention... DON'T TOUCH ETHICS!!!!
Because honestly this is the hardest one for people to accept. TOK teachers might ask you ethical questions in lessons because they're trying to engage you and make you interested (and let's face it, once you stop pretending it's relevant to ethical dilemmas it becomes about 110% less interesting...), but they WILL NOT AWARD YOU MARKS for talking about ethics rather than TOK - no matter how insightful and interesting your presentation on ethics may or may not be.

In Short...
In summary, the answer to the question "Is this a good TOK presentation title?" can be solved via a simple litmus test.
- Can you attach it to a real-life example?
- Can you discuss it in the context of the 4 Ways of Knowing? (Or if not all 4, in the context of a few of them).

If yes: Excellent work!

If no: Think again, find a new topic. Go to jail, do not pass GO, do not collect £200 etc. and give up on this idea with immediate effect.

MOST IMPORTANTLY: Do not select an ethical dilemma! ...or if you do, can't say I didn't warn you.

Hopefully this helps. TOK is quite a big and ill-defined subject so if anybody has any other ideas or techniques to get good TOK presentations, please do contribute them and I'll add it in. This is just my version. I apologise that the format of this is perhaps not so useful, but if you DO read all the way through it in order, then it does make sense. I promise. Oh and remember ALWAYS READ THE MARKING CRITERIA!

Oh and one final thing - if you send me a PM asking me how you'd approach this great TOK title you came up with "How do we know whether literature is 'good'?" and for my suggestions, you should expect in advance to receive no reply. For obvious reasons!

#70212Type II -- Population Trends in China

Posted by on May 27, 2010 - 04:52

This should help some: http://cerebro.xu.ed...1f/logistic.pdf [the bold stuff haha]

Plugging numbers in usually helps as you keep the other two variables constant. K is the easiest. Making t infinitely large will show you what K is, which is explained on that site.

#111389IB Psychology Revision Guide '11

Posted by on Apr 23, 2011 - 16:04

Hi all, thought I would just upload the IB Psychology HL revision guide I made for my CAS Major.

This guide isn't perfect but from the feedback I got from my teacher and people that are using it I feel that it is a very solid revision guide. There is generally evaluation for most of research and I have lots of supporting and counter research provided.

I hope this helps you guys revise because I know Psychology is a pain in the ass to revise for. Please don't take this work and say its your own, I spent a lot of time on it.

By the way, in case your interested the major sources I used are the Pearson Baccalaureate Psychology textbook, the IB course companion and the oxford a level psychology revision guide and some class notes.

P.S. I may upload the health one in a few days if you guys want it.

EDIT EDIT: I've added the Health one too.

#64422Type I -- Stellar Number

Posted by on Mar 08, 2010 - 23:53

Ok so for the first part I got this:

n __ #
1 __ 1 ---> 1-3= 2 ---> 2-3=1
2 __ 3 ---> 3-6= 3 ---> 3-4=1
3 __ 6 ---> 6-10=4 ---> 4-5=1
4 __ 10 ---> 10-15=5
5 __ 15

But how does this help me arrive at a equation?

For the second part:

I understand that for U2=12 (2) + 13 and U3= 12 (3) + 37. But how do i turn this into an equation?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

I think the method is called finite differences, so you may want to Google that. I'll try to outline it below using different numbers.

Have you heard of polynomial or quadratic sequences? The way it's been explained to me is you take the terms and find the positive difference between each consecutive term. Then you have a new list of numbers and you find the difference between each terms again, which gives a new list. Then you do the same thing again. You repeat this until you've found a list with all of the same numbers. If you get a list with all of the same numbers, then you know that there's a polynomial that will fit your sequence.

So for example

1, d+1, 2d+1, 3d+1
[take difference]
d, d, d

So that's a first degree polynomial... aka a monomial, which is what you deal with when you say an = a1 + (n-1)d, where d is the difference, because when you simplify, you get an=dn-d+a1

More complicated:
1, d+1, 3d+1, 6d+1
[take diff]
d, 2d, 3d
[take diff]
d, d
Since you've had to take the difference twice, it's a quadratic. If you had to take it thrice, the polynomial would be a cubic. And so on.

I think I get what you mean could you give me an example with numbers though if you have time. Like say hexagonal numbers 1,6,15,28,45..... if you break them down it comes to 5,9,13,17,21 ..... and if you break that down it becomes 4,4,4,4,4. But how would I find a general statment for that?

So you're looking for a quadratic for reasons mentioned above in this post. The general form of a quadratic will be
an2 +bn +c= an
[where n is the nth term]

Now plug in the known values. You'll have to use three "points" (n, an) like (x,y) because you're solving for a, b, and c. So you'll create a system of equations.
Here's a couple of them w/ your hexagonal numbers:
n=1, an = 1
a + b + c =1

n=2, an=6
4a + 2b + c=6"

You can also use the point (3, 15)
9a + 3b + c = 15

Now you're just solving for a, b, and c using a system of equations.

4a+2b+c=6
- a+ b+ c=1
-----------------
3a+b=5

Now try to get another equation with no c in it.

9a+3b+c=15
-(4a+2b+c=6)
---------------
5a+b=9

so 3a+b=5
5a+b=9

Subtract one equation from the other and you get
2a=4
a=2

Now plug in your a value to find b.
5a+b=9
5(2)+b=9
b=-1

Now plug in a and b to find c
a+b+c=1
2-1+c=1
c=0

so the equation would be 2n2 - n = an

#44504Exam ban on request

Posted by on Apr 27, 2009 - 06:57

Hello,

As staff at this site, we realise how much of a distraction the internet in general, and IBSurvival in particular, can be when it comes to exam time. If you find that IBSurvival is distracting you from your studies too much, or that you spend too much time procrastinating on here, you can request for a ban to help you concentrate on studying for exams. We will ban anyone who voluntarily asks for to be banned to concentrate on their studies.

Simply PM an admin or a supervisor stating the amount of time you want to be banned (e.g. 1 week, 2 weeks, until date X) and leave your email address. We will email you with our email so that you can contact us if you want to be unbanned before the date you mentioned.

This 'service', so to speak, can be used at any time, even when you have school exams or just working on your IA. IBSurvival is here to help you, not to make you spend all your time procrastinating on here so that your grade drops .

Happy studying!
IBSurvival team

#106140Detailed Guide

Posted by on Mar 13, 2011 - 23:59

Greetings humans. The following are some tips I've compiled in order to make your oral a less painful and rather care free process in which you talk with the examiner (which may or may not be your teacher) about a topic that you have chosen (or not). So here we go with the tips...

The Format

Alright. The oral for language B consists of 9-12 minutes of you purely talking in your chosen foreign language. Whether it be French, Spanish, German, MAndarin, etc. the list goes on and on, the format will mostly be the same. (Unless I'm delusional in which case it isn't). It is also divided into three 3-4 minute chunks. These 'chunks' if you will each have a different component to them.

Chunk #1

So you sit down you say your name and candidate number. And then you start. This part is 3-4 minutes wherein you provide some background information about the subject you have chosen. Let's say I was doing my Spanish oral and I wanted to do it on the concept of the siesta. Alright so in this portion I would talk about the siesta, what it is, where it is practiced, when is it, etc. So the basic who what when where. Don't try to be too specific and don't try to be too deep. I know IB has made us robots and that "everything must be deep". But don't do it! There's time for that later .

Tips for this chunk:

Don't memorize your presentation: Just don't do it. NEVERRRRR. Now reread the last sentence. Here it is again. NEVERRRR. The examiner and the grader will know when you've memorized your presentation and they will dock points. Dock I say, DOCK! So just don't do it. Instead know what you're going to talk about, and say it. Don't memorize every single word you're going to say because if you happen to miss a sentence it'll trip you up like no other. Just be natural and if you have to pause don't insert space fillers such as "uhm" "ah" "oh" "ee" "oo" "eek" "omg" "gasp" you get the point. Just let it be silent for a few seconds while you recollect your thoughts and then continue like nothing happened. Also I would suggest using the formal conjugation of all verb tenses. Your teacher (like mine) may allow you to use the informal tense. No. I don't think the graders like that. Finally, stay on track. Don't be so robotic that you have no emotions but also don't be so giddy that you fill the 4 minutes with laughter instead of speech. Always remember to use a variety of tenses and colloquial language. Sprinkle in some idioms and bake at 350 degrees till perfection.

Chunk #2

Alright then. You'd think the first chunk would be the hardest eh? Ya no. The during the second chunk, your examiner asks you questions about the topic you just presented. They could transcend cultures and these questions get a lot deeper. For example if you were doing that oral on siesta's your examiner could ask you "How do you think this tradition has affected the psyche of those who practice it" or "how do you think the people who practice the siesta differ from those who do not if at all". You get to improv. Yay!

Tips for this chunk:

Chunk #3

Yayyyy. Now that the hard part is over, you get to have fun. Theoretically...In this section the examiners will ask you questions about your life. Where you want to to go to college blah blah blah. You know the generic type of questions. Another 3-4 minutes will make up 9-12.

Tips for this section:

Once again, no rambling. Leave room for 3 questions. Use a variety of tenses. If your life is boring and you have nothing to talk about pull a Duy (thats me) and make up stuff. Not outrageous mind you. Just spice up your life with stuff that you'd never do. It's exciting and shows of your vocabulary that you wouldn't use otherwise. So doooo it. Pull stuff out of the air. Dooo it. Thats pretty much it. Keep it consistent and you'll be good for this section.

So I hope this helped. That's pretty much all I know. Maybe. I dunno. MAybe I'll add more stuff later...Meh.

Posted by on Jul 29, 2010 - 17:23

Here are some tips and suggestions for reading books (for A1 languages ) during IB. Not comprehensive; all suggestions and additions appreciated!

If possible don't leave the book reading too late... i.e. preferably before you begin working on it in school, and the first time (more about this later) if possible before the start of the school year/term. This takes some of the load off of you during the school year, when you will have homework and other time-erasing responsibilities.

In the simplest terms, more is better. There's no universally accepted 'magic number': you can read the books as many times as you want. But I'd suggest at least one preliminary reading to get an idea of the plot, characters, and general development of the novel, then a second reading (if available, while reading the Sparknotes as you go along). If you are doing a book in an exam, it is a good idea to read it a final time as late as possible before the exam - if you have several books here, work smart. It is easier to read the Great Gatsby than Anna Karenina, so if you 'get' the book - or at least like it - then it might be better to focus on re-reading the shorter books.

3. Use available resources!
Some teachers - most teachers, I'd hazard - don't like Sparknotes. Mainly because students tend to rely on it too much, especially when writing essays. But the thing about Sparknotes is that the chapter summaries, for example, are really useful in jogging your memory. The quotes section often helps clarify obscure or confusing fragments. I would read the entire Sparknotes for a book more than once, particularly to try to keep a large number of events and characters in mind. The fundamental edge you need when it comes to novels is to know them backwards - and Sparknotes is useful! Just close it when you start writing...

4. Read novels in as short a time as possible.
This is mostly my own opinion... the thing is, it's easier to get through a novel, especially something like Madame Bovary, Catch-22 or War and Peace, chapter-by-chapter. It's tempting to read a little bit at the end of the day, and pretty much forget the book otherwise. But this sort of reading doesn't really exercise your mind, since you're sleepy as you do it.. a small test: when you open up the book the next day, check back and see how much you remember. When I read before going to sleep I found that the last few pages were increasingly hazy; I could barely remember what had happened and none of the specifics of the language. This is up to you, but I'd suggest reading the book in as few chunks as possible: this enables you to see connection, patterns, motifs, etc. The more you stretch the reading the less complete your understanding of the novel will be.

5. Take notes.
As you go through the book during the more thorough reading, it's useful to make your own notes in some sort of structural pattern (i.e. chapter-by-chapter, organized by section, and so on). This helps you use certain sections of your mind that aren't employed during just passive reading, and makes it much easier to remember the actual storyline, etc. Also you should try to select important passages and quotes - the perfect exam essay includes specific quotes, and the best way to learn them is to write them down repeatedly. The earlier you identify them, the better. Some specific passages you should always be especially aware of: the opening/introductory passage, the climax, the end of the book, long monologues or soliloquy, and I guess moments when somebody dies (i.e. in Madame Bovary when Emma commits suicide). But there are usually lots more too.

6. Create lists.
This is book-specific, so use your own good sense to decide when it's necessary. For some books like Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, it's really helpful to create lists of foreign words with definitions. Or sometimes, as with Joyce's Portrait, a lot of very specific vocabulary will be used, in this case to do with religion and churches, and if you've been secularly raised (like me) these may be confusing or, at the far end of the spectrum, completely meaningless. Lists and definitions are good because you can fold them and keep them as a bookmark in the book, and refer to them whenever you need to (or add to them) during subsequent readings, or even later in the book.

7. Write Journal entries.
This is a bit of a personal choice as well. I've seen it suggested several times but I've never done it myself in so many words, but it sounds helpful: writing occasional informal journal entries about specific scenes or passages. These can be pretty individual, spontaneous and unstructured. It has to do with the active thinking principle and also finding a personal response to books.. for example, you could even write about what you like and don't like in a book. Making neural connections is good, because it helps you remember things, and active thinking builds neural networks.

8. Pay Attention to Specific Features of Novels.
I could write a lot here, probably too much, so I'm just going to try to make a short list with some notes of the specific features of books it's a good idea to pay attention to, because they come up often in essays. A really useful reference book here is The Art of Fiction by David Lodge, which you can probably order on Amazon to arrive tomorrow, and lists 50 of these with examples and notes. But basically narrators are important, and the narrative 'tense' (is that the right word?) is very important. For example, first person narrators tend to be more personal than third person narrators, and that has an effect on the reader's perception of the story, how closely we identify with the characters, etc. Stream-of-consciousness is a particularly 'close' form of narration, but also look out for free indirect discourse, when the third person narrator takes on the speech mannerisms and opinions of a certain character. Setting/weather/landscape is also important; in some books it has symbolic importance, in others weather closely mirrors character's thoughts/emotions (look also for the pathetic fallacy) and time is significant too. Some books take place in twenty-four hours, others over years or even decades, and authors use these for specific reasons I guess. Also very significant are changes in any of these, like a sudden change in setting. And many, many books have changes in the passage of time - for example in Johnny Got His Gun, the first section is very specific and seems to take place over a few days or weeks, while the second suddenly leaps out to the scale of months and years. Changes in the passage of time, for example, often mirror other underlying shifts in the story, and I guess are good indicators of an important change.

Also finally I've included a list of books that may be useful for studying novels, in the form of an attachment of a screenshot from the Oxford Study Courses guide. This can be purchase for something like 20 pounds and shipped to wherever you are, and might be a good investment by the way, even if you're good at your A1 Language.

Good luck!

#163896Official IB May 2012 Results Thread

Posted by on Jul 06, 2012 - 07:21

#155706Final Words to May '12 Candidates

Posted by on Apr 08, 2012 - 02:14

There's less than a month left until we're finished, and at this point I'd like to offer and extend my congratulations to those who've made it this far. And I can say I've had it only more or less as bad as you have. I hope you have taken some time to congratulate yourselves, but not too much! The end of our perilous journey is near, but no less challenging.

We've braved through things we thought were hell, done things that didn't make sense, and stayed up those nights that we thought we didn't. Worked like hell, swore through assignments, petrified by unconverted marks, bled through each page of an A1 reading we detested. But no, you didn't let that keep you down; you have trekked through things that you would never have even thought of doing, and have even written a goddamn CAS reflection on it sometimes too!

The sweet taste of freedom is just around the corner, all we have to do is just do what we've been doing for around 20 months or so- (I don't know what you do, but somehow, I've been doing something [probably die a little bit each day] so that I haven't dropped out yet, so just keep doing it!) You have felt how amazing it is from finishing a math portfolio to completing your last science IA; now that will pale in comparison when you finish that last exam! Most of us are probably hyped for post secondary, whether it's apprenticeship, college, university, travel, whatever. These crap-filled exams are the last things in our way; finally, it's time to show these IB examiners (from hell) what we're made of of what we're made!

Hopefully, you've started to make time to study. If you haven't, (like me) then I hope you're meeting your goals then! Anything worth doing is worth doing well The day where we stagger out of the classroom, finishing our last exam, laughing, half crying hysterically, unbelievably accepting the end is nigh. These are our last days; even I can't believe it; it's really going to be all over.

When exam session comes, I encourage everyone to get some sleep the day before and have some protein; and try not to cram! Try not to put any pressure on yourself, and don't compare yourself to anyone else! You can only do the best you can; don't expect more from yourself that way. By the end you'll be so happy you'd want to punch a baby feel like you've conquered everything! Great things happen to great people! As the IB chapter of your life begins to close, a new, awaits you in the next. I hope things will get better for everyone from here!

You should be proud of your accomplishments. I hope the IBS community has served you well. We are always welcoming alumni to help out the fresh new-born dying souls who've been conscripted into the IB programme -just like you have- and give them a hand!

Good luck everyone!

-Capt'n Marth

#126666Tips to answer the P1 question well

Posted by on Aug 14, 2011 - 13:15

I sat my IB Psych SL exam last year (anticipated yay!) and I have a fairly good understanding of how to structure a good response to P1 (which is pretty much the same for P2 as well). I thought I'd share.

Before I start, I think it is imperative that you get in to the habit of planning your response - it doesn't take long, and it will save you!! It will make you organise your ideas logically and certainly improve the quality of your language. You will be forced to be prudent in your evaluation, and examiners will totally see that you know what you are talking about!

The concise and general steps to planning and answering questions

1. Read the Q twice (or as many times depending on your need)
2. Highlight or underline the key words
3. Annotate the Q and break it down
4. Plan your response, including what you know as relevant to the question
5. Brainstorm evaluative points & ensure it is balances (for 22-mark questions)

PLAN for 8-mark Qs

• Expect low/medium command terms (CTs) and so LEARN what they mean!! A good flash card game can be found here

• Define, Describe, Outline, State, Discuss, Contrast, Compare, Explain, Distinguish, Apply

• Break down your response in the same way as the CT can be broken down

• What is the topic?

• What did the CT ask?

• What is my assertion?

• What study am I going to use to support my claim?

• 1-2 study is enough to illustrate each concept

• Did the CT ask for my opinion at the end?

• Be concise (you don’t have much time!)

PLAN for 22-mark Qs

• Expect medium/higher order CTs

• Describe, Discuss, Contrast, Compare, Explain, Distinguish, Apply, Analyse, Compare and Contrast, Evaluate, Examine, To what extent

• Break down your response in the same way as the CT can be broken down

• What is the topic?

• What did the CT ask?

• What is my assertion? Should have multiple!

• What study am I going to use to support my claim?

• multiple study is enough to illustrate each concept

• What study am I going to use to evaluate my claim?

• 22 marker always require some form of evaluation

• What happens to my original claim now?

• Did the CT ask for my opinion at the end?

• Structure it to have broad idea at the start which funnel down into narrower ideas

• Good to have an introduction that clearly states your scope, what you will be focusing about so that the examiners know exactly what you are doing.

• Good structured response should have intro-body-conclusion format

• Be concise (you don’t have time!!)

Sentence work/structure using example!!

Example: To what extent does genetic inheritance influence behaviour?

First, give a nice and short intro and state your opinion.

• Define the relevant terms very briefly and give your opinion if the command term asks you

• Example: Genetics, defined as ................ , is believed to play significant role in human behaviour. There are many debates on this topic and some psychologists assert their own claim to the most accurate approach, but I believe that this debate cannot be resolved. Genetic inheritance does influence our behaviour, but only to an extent. Some behaviour is very much shaped from our social constructions.....

• Include the points that you are going to make and the studies that you will use to demonstrate your points

• Example: In order to examine to what extent genetic inheritance influence behaviour, this essay will focus on the explanation towards depression through discussing the Bouchard et al.’s study (year) and Seligman et al.’s (year).

• Example: Genetic inheritance does play a significant amount in shaping our behaviour. This can be clearly seen through correlation studies that specifically look at depression of monozygotic twins.

• Give details on your key point

• Include studies to back up your claim. Make sure you give significant amount of depth to your answers

• Example: Monozygotic twins share 100% same genes. Thus, if genetics do influence behaviour, both should exhibit the same behaviour. On the other hand, dizygotic twins only share 30% of the same gene and thus have less correlation to each other. Bouchard et al’s study explicitly employs this concept of correlation, and looks into depression between twins. In their study, they analysed twins that are monozygotic and dizygotic and found that x% of monozygotic twins had correlation of depression while y% of dizygotic twins had correlation of depression. This suggests that genetics do play a role in human behaviour, as the more biologically similar you are to someone, the more similar your behaviours are to them...

• Example; Hence (Thus, In light of this, In conclusion) through ........’s study we can see that there is a direct correlation between the genetics and our behaviour.

Give another paragraph with the same format. But be careful what you write! Since this question is a to what extent question, you have to give a counter argument of what you just wrote on the previous paragraph.

• Use words like;

• However

• Nevertheless

• Contrastingly

• On the other hand

• Suggest that not all the cases support your claim in body 1.

• Then go on and give details on why you think so