Skip to: Marking Criteria
1. Topics can be quite general
This isn't like the World Literature papers where your question has to be absolutely dead on target. You can pick from themes, characters, symbols, sections and so on. You're at liberty to make this into something of a discussion topic and you shouldn't fret too much about what title you give to the presentation, provided you can give it a decent introduction and conclusion. Even something as simple as "the theme of Death in Book X" should be fine. Remember the IOP is pretty chilled out (which is why it's often the first thing to be tackled).
2. Use your presenting skills
When you're presenting to somebody, you have to use basic presentation skills. If you learn them now, you'll have them for later life, courtesy of IB Finishing School Absolute basics include being audible (not mumbling, not whispering, trying not to stammer or stutter such that your whole thing is incomprehensible etc.) and making eye contact with the audience.
Some quick tips for how to raise your game above the absolute basics include...
- Varying the tone of your voice so you're not speaking in a monotone. People will sit up and pay attention.
- Trying to look at everybody at some point during your presentation, even if they're asleep on their bags or something, because you'll be showing the teacher your extreme eye contact skills.
- Using props where necessary, or perhaps a powerpoint presentation (these are nonessential... lots of presentations won't really need props at all)
- Use body language. Stand up and stand confidently (not hunched over wishing you weren't there). Use your hands to aid your speech as you would in normal conversation, perhaps slightly more.
3. Think about your own visual cues
Don't read off a piece of paper! However, this doesn't mean you have to be totally off-paper (that would be crazy). Some people can go without any notes at all, and they will be the people who've memorised what they're about to say. Good for them, but no worries for everybody else, it's not compulsory! Besides, it's easy to drop into a monotone when you're just repeating things. The majority of people sit somewhere in the middle, and I would urge you to think about what works for you, and to remember one simple thing: it's not about what you have with you, it's about how you deliver it. They say not to read off paper because of the sort of delivery it produces (total lack of engaging the audience, stumbling whilst trying to read your own terrible handwriting etc.). You could technically have it written out word for word but only look down at it twice and it would be brilliant. SO what I'm really trying to get at is that you should go with whatever visual cues will best aid you being able to present in an engaging manner with minimal reference to said cues.
To give my own personal experience, I liked to write out reasonably detailed notes (not word for word, but more sentences than just bullet points) because I felt much more secure presenting if I knew that looking down would put me back on track instantly without having to worry about what my bullet point meant, or having a mind blank. Use your cues to work for you and not against you and avoid lapsing into either reading or terrible silence.
4. Refer to the text
Just because you're presenting something, it doesn't mean you can forget about literary analysis. Include examples in the form of quotes from novels, i.e. don't forget the basics.
5. Express enthusiasm or prepare for audience apathy
You don't actually lose marks for doing something boring but it's so much more rewarding (and easy) to present if you can get the audience on side. You'll probably have to sit and watch each other's presentations for several lessons until everybody has finished and the audience will therefore be split into 2: people who're nervously clutching damp pieces of paper because they're in the firing line for going next, and people who're sleeping contentedly on their desks. Neither of these groups are likely to want to listen to you unless you're telling them something interesting, but if they DO start listening and you spot them doing this, you'll feel your nerves melting away. So if you at least pretend to be enthusiastic about a topic (or even better select something interesting!) I guarantee you'll find that not only do they pay more attention and enjoy it more, but you'll also get more positive feedback, nicer questions (if they ask questions), and will give a much better delivery.
6. Although the option is there, don't feel you have to make it too interactive
You can be really interactive and creative, or not interactive at all. If you are not interactive at all, you should ask for questions at the end. You don't HAVE to be interactive if there's no point or you don't want to be. If it's clearly idiotic and a sop to the concept of interactivity to take a poll on who the class's favourite character is, don't do it! You don't have to do polls or ask questions throughout your presentation if you don't want to.
7. Think about how to make your preparation work best for you
Some people like to practice their presentation over and over again before giving it so they feel secure in what they're doing. Other people find the whole thing much easier if they don't practice it before so they don't get distracted or monotonal by thinking how they did it the previous times. Do what's best for you, not what's best for whoever you're talking to about it. If you DO like to practice it, practice with a friend or family member so they can tell you what you should change (if anything). Regardless of whether you do or don't like to practice it in advance, a really good idea is to ask your teacher to let you do a practice IOP on a different topic before you sit down to devise the actual thing. It'll build up your confidence and let you have some individual feedback.
8. Time yourself!
... or if you don't like practising it, think very hard about how long it might take and what you should do if you find yourself going over time. Don't forget about this bit!
9. If you're nervous...
Imagine it's just a conversation like you'd have with your classmates at any other time! Or imagine you're somebody else, or that you're performing on a stage in the character of somebody else... really, imagine whatever helps you. Make sure you feel secure about the amount of supporting material you have, make sure you think you've done a good job with the topic (even better that you're enthusiastic about telling everybody what you've found) and if you find practice useful, that you've practised well in advance and are happy about it. Then just chill out. People tend to pick up lots of marks in the IOP. Relative to other assessments for A1, it's very light-hearted and relaxed. The more nervous you are, the less likely you are to perform at your best, so build up your confidence in what you're doing and how you're going to do it.
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, or if you have constructive comments to make on the tips already up there, those are also welcome!
These are taken directly from the syllabus. Ask yourself all these questions and see if you're hitting all of the marks! As with everything Lit A1, the criteria are somewhat vague and difficult to self-assess, but do your best to aim for these as goals.