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How to get an IB 7 in english?

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My goal is to try and get 7 in english or at least a 6. But one thing i absolutely hate about english is writing essays and tests in a limited amount of time (exam). Could you guys please give suggestions, maybe people who are getting 6 and 7s in english? Also, in the beginning of grade 9 i was actually a really bad writer and didn't even know the basics like parts of speech etc. but i have improved so much, but whenever i write an in class test i always seem to do poorly because i'm always off topic (unfocused) or i'm not being SPECIFIC. My teachers have told me to do practice tests, commentaries but it's so hard trying to find time and i get distracted easily.

Help would be greatly appreciated!!!

(please reply b/c i always see so many views and hardly any replies!)

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If you go off topic and aren't specific enough, then you need to outline before you write. If you have 1hr to write, for example, a commentary, spend 15-20 minutes analysing, then 10-15 minutes outlining, and the rest of the time writing. It's not impossible to write a good essay in 30 minutes, especially when you already have your main ideas decided upon.

If you have an in-class essay to write, and you're not allowed to bring in the text, then predict the topic. For example, if you have to write an essay on the techniques (as I believe is required on Paper 2), then memorise a few quotes which exemplify the methods the author uses to develop the setting. Then, when you get your question, again, spend time planning! You should know the work on which you're writing this essay inside and out. It's not enough to read the SparkNotes and go in expecting 90%. You actually need to understand the text. If you don't understand the text, then you should probably work on that. Read it carefully, and ask yourself questions e.g.: why does [this character] keep looking out windows? Do windows represent anything? How does [this character] manipulate [another]? Is it in his/her diction or actions?

But in the end, it all goes back to outlining. If you want to write a good essay, then you need to outline. If you can't come up with enough evidence to support your main idea, then maybe it's not important enough to be a main idea.

Hope I helped :)

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dont aim for a 7 in english a1 HL, you're setting yourself up disappointment. The grading is super subjective. I know many brilliant students who recieved a total 44 with a 6 in English A1.

The test truly depends on who is marking your test and how your teaching grades your IOP/IOC. However, if you really know your literature and can write a killer in essay in the time limit, a 6 is possible.

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yes that helped alot, thanks! yeah my teacher always tells us to plan for 10-15 mins. then write the essay/commentary and then proofread for 15 mins. but i have absolutely no time at the end to proofread. Im wondering if this is a bad thing. So i guess i should focus more on the plan and once i know what i'm talking about the writing of the essay will be easier? but sometimes i feel like im always trying to find the write word you know, as in i have to be more precise, concise but in a limited amount of time i forget that and i just write. I mean there are alot of talented writers with an immense vocabulary who can easily think of good words, but i feel i'm at a disadvantage with that.

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Getting a 7 in HL english, although very difficult, is not impossible.

If you are horrible at writing essays under time limits, it's still okay, because that isn't the only thing you're marked for. The breakup of the total is:

Written papers : 50%

World Literature : 20%

Oral Assessment : 30%

Which means that half of your grade depends on internal assessments only. If you are apprehensive about the external assessment, try to achieve full marks for the commentaries and world lit.

To practice for paper 1:

Buy an anthology ( or issue one from the library), I recommend books that your school uses for GCSE literature and annotate those poems. Don't time yourself yet, but keep a copy of the assessment criteria with you ( this can be found in the Lang A1 guide. If you don't have it, reply to this post and I'll upload it). When writing the analysis, keep referring to the criteria to make sure you don't go off at tangents. Moreover, to structure your essay better, use the PEE ( point evidence, explanation) system. This ensures that have just one point per paragraph. Oh and you get full points for structure. When you feel that you have mastered the criteria, you should get hold of past papers and practice with those, giving yourself 15 minutes less than what you are generally given for the exam ( so that in the final exam, you have that 15 minute margin which you can use to round up your essay and proofread it.).

To do well in Paper 2,

Read and reread ALL your books and know them by heart. You should be able to recite them off the top of your head.

Look at past IB papers, and try to anticipate the questions which can come... for practice, write essays comparing how similar themes are portrayed in different books, or how the same subject is dealt with differently. Try to make comparisons of similar themes/motifs/subjects, and after writing each essay, mark yourself using the criteria given in the guide. Again, time yourself when you're confident enough; use PEE. Sleep well the night before. During the exam, read through the genre-specific as well as general literature questions, pick one for which you can think of more examples from the texts you have studied, even though they don't immediately occur to you. This is why you're given the 5 minute reading time.

To do well in the IOP

Choose your topic and write an essay on that topic, using the criteria from the guide. My teacher recommends comparing 2 novels for the IOP as it shows deeper understanding and the ability to make connections. Write down quotations and the key points ( the PEE) on flash cards ( you can carry these for the final IOP). The day before your IOP, read aloud your essay several times so that you remember it ( well, kind of ). I don't recommend memorizing the essay because then if you forget even one word you will panic. Use the flashcards.

To do well on your world lit essays

Use and exploit your english teacher. When asked to come up with the topic, come up with well thought-of questions, about 5-6 should be good. The teacher, although not allowed to pick a topic for you, can help you select the one which has the best scope. Then, work on the first draft with YOUR LIFE. Make the best essay that you can. Don't treat any of your drafts as drafts. That way, the teacher is making your BEST work even BETTER. Again, use the criteria ( Can not emphasize this enough).

To do well in the IOC:

Annotate your books just as you would a poem. Mark literary devices, character and plot development, as it happens. Try to determine the most important part of the books ( generally where something new is revealed or a character undergoes some kind of transformation or the plot of the story takes a surprising turn. In shakespeare plays, notice when prose turns to poetry and vice versa). Generally, the concentration of literary devices are found when something crucial to the story/character is about to happen. These are also the parts most likely to turn up for the IOC. The most important quotes can generally be found on sparknotes or cliff notes, but remember there are other important parts too. If you've done poetry in class, it is likely that a whole poem will turn up. Be prepared. Practice by randomly flipping to a page in the book and analyzing what you get. Record and mark yourself using the criteria.

Phew.

If you have any more doubts, pm me smile.gif

Edited by Srishti Mehrotra
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Practice as many essays as you can without affecting your subjects. Do your own paper 1 commentaries and have the teacher mark them. Also the written tasks are worth alot, focus on them heavily

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Getting a 7 in HL english, although very difficult, is not impossible.

If you are horrible at writing essays under time limits, it's still okay, because that isn't the only thing you're marked for. The breakup of the total is:

Written papers : 50%

World Literature : 20%

Oral Assessment : 30%

Which means that half of your grade depends on internal assessments only. If you are apprehensive about the external assessment, try to achieve full marks for the commentaries and world lit.

To practice for paper 1:

Buy an anthology ( or issue one from the library), I recommend books that your school uses for GCSE literature and annotate those poems. Don't time yourself yet, but keep a copy of the assessment criteria with you ( this can be found in the Lang A1 guide. If you don't have it, reply to this post and I'll upload it). When writing the analysis, keep referring to the criteria to make sure you don't go off at tangents. Moreover, to structure your essay better, use the PEE ( point evidence, explanation) system. This ensures that have just one point per paragraph. Oh and you get full points for structure. When you feel that you have mastered the criteria, you should get hold of past papers and practice with those, giving yourself 15 minutes less than what you are generally given for the exam ( so that in the final exam, you have that 15 minute margin which can make or break you).

To do well in Paper 2,

Read and reread ALL your books and know them by heart. You should be able to recite them off the top of your head.

Look at past IB papers, and try to anticipate the questions which can come... for practice, write essays comparing how similar themes are portrayed in different books, or how the same subject is dealt with differently. Try to make comparisons of similar themes/motifs/subjects, and after writing each essay, mark yourself using the criteria given in the guide. Again, time yourself when you're confident enough; use PEE. Sleep well the night before.

To do well in the IOP

Choose your topic and write an essay on that topic, using the criteria from the guide. My teacher recommends comparing 2 novels for the IOP as it shows deeper understanding and the ability to make connections. Write down quotations and the key points ( the PEE) on flash cards ( you can carry these for the final IOP). The day before your IOP, read aloud your essay several times so that you remember it ( well, kind of ). I don't recommend memorizing the essay because then if you forget even one word you will panic. Use the flashcards.

To do well on your world lit essays

Use and exploit your english teacher. When asked to come up with the topic, come up with well thought-of questions, about 5-6 should be good. The teacher, although not allowed to pick a topic for you, can help you select the one which has the best scope. Then, work on the first draft with YOUR LIFE. Make the best essay that you can. Don't treat any of your drafts as drafts. That way, the teacher is making your BEST work even BETTER. Again, use the criteria ( Can not emphasize this enough).

To do well in the IOC:

Annotate your books just as you would a poem. Mark literary devices, character and plot development, as it happens. Try to determine the most important part of the books ( generally where something new is revealed or a character undergoes some kind of transformation or the plot of the story takes a surprising turn. In shakespeare plays, notice when prose turns to poetry and vice versa). Generally, the concentration of literary devices are found when something crucial to the story/character is about to happen. These are also the parts most likely to turn up for the IOC. The most important quotes can generally be found on sparknotes or cliff notes, but remember there are other important parts too. If you've done poetry in class, it is likely that a whole poem will turn up. Be prepared. Practice by randomly flipping to a page in the book and analyzing what you get. Record and mark yourself using the criteria.

Phew.

If you have any more doubts, pm me smile.gif

Getting a 7 in HL english, although very difficult, is not impossible.

If you are horrible at writing essays under time limits, it's still okay, because that isn't the only thing you're marked for. The breakup of the total is:

Written papers : 50%

World Literature : 20%

Oral Assessment : 30%

Which means that half of your grade depends on internal assessments only. If you are apprehensive about the external assessment, try to achieve full marks for the commentaries and world lit.

To practice for paper 1:

Buy an anthology ( or issue one from the library), I recommend books that your school uses for GCSE literature and annotate those poems. Don't time yourself yet, but keep a copy of the assessment criteria with you ( this can be found in the Lang A1 guide. If you don't have it, reply to this post and I'll upload it). When writing the analysis, keep referring to the criteria to make sure you don't go off at tangents. Moreover, to structure your essay better, use the PEE ( point evidence, explanation) system. This ensures that have just one point per paragraph. Oh and you get full points for structure. When you feel that you have mastered the criteria, you should get hold of past papers and practice with those, giving yourself 15 minutes less than what you are generally given for the exam ( so that in the final exam, you have that 15 minute margin which can make or break you).

To do well in Paper 2,

Read and reread ALL your books and know them by heart. You should be able to recite them off the top of your head.

Look at past IB papers, and try to anticipate the questions which can come... for practice, write essays comparing how similar themes are portrayed in different books, or how the same subject is dealt with differently. Try to make comparisons of similar themes/motifs/subjects, and after writing each essay, mark yourself using the criteria given in the guide. Again, time yourself when you're confident enough; use PEE. Sleep well the night before.

To do well in the IOP

Choose your topic and write an essay on that topic, using the criteria from the guide. My teacher recommends comparing 2 novels for the IOP as it shows deeper understanding and the ability to make connections. Write down quotations and the key points ( the PEE) on flash cards ( you can carry these for the final IOP). The day before your IOP, read aloud your essay several times so that you remember it ( well, kind of ). I don't recommend memorizing the essay because then if you forget even one word you will panic. Use the flashcards.

To do well on your world lit essays

Use and exploit your english teacher. When asked to come up with the topic, come up with well thought-of questions, about 5-6 should be good. The teacher, although not allowed to pick a topic for you, can help you select the one which has the best scope. Then, work on the first draft with YOUR LIFE. Make the best essay that you can. Don't treat any of your drafts as drafts. That way, the teacher is making your BEST work even BETTER. Again, use the criteria ( Can not emphasize this enough).

To do well in the IOC:

Annotate your books just as you would a poem. Mark literary devices, character and plot development, as it happens. Try to determine the most important part of the books ( generally where something new is revealed or a character undergoes some kind of transformation or the plot of the story takes a surprising turn. In shakespeare plays, notice when prose turns to poetry and vice versa). Generally, the concentration of literary devices are found when something crucial to the story/character is about to happen. These are also the parts most likely to turn up for the IOC. The most important quotes can generally be found on sparknotes or cliff notes, but remember there are other important parts too. If you've done poetry in class, it is likely that a whole poem will turn up. Be prepared. Practice by randomly flipping to a page in the book and analyzing what you get. Record and mark yourself using the criteria.

Phew.

If you have any more doubts, pm me smile.gif

Hey can you please share the assessment criteria and also where can I find past IB English hl Paper?

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Hey can you please share the assessment criteria and also where can I find past IB English hl Paper?

Try using :google: to find these. Past papers aren't hosted on IBS. The assessment criteria for WL1, WL2 and the IOP can be found on those respective Tips threads at the top of the A1 forum.

yes that helped alot, thanks! yeah my teacher always tells us to plan for 10-15 mins. then write the essay/commentary and then proofread for 15 mins. but i have absolutely no time at the end to proofread. Im wondering if this is a bad thing. So i guess i should focus more on the plan and once i know what i'm talking about the writing of the essay will be easier? but sometimes i feel like im always trying to find the write word you know, as in i have to be more precise, concise but in a limited amount of time i forget that and i just write. I mean there are alot of talented writers with an immense vocabulary who can easily think of good words, but i feel i'm at a disadvantage with that.

In my opinion, proof-reading is not possible within the time limit and you're way better off using that 15 mins to get more down on the page than you are re-reading it. I mean, you can hardly change much about it, whereas 15 minutes more writing/analysis/points is invaluable. The only limit on how much you can write in the A1 exams IS time.

Everybody has their own style of dealing with Paper 1, but I for one found making outlines etc. an absolute waste of my time. Read through the poem (I always did poetry, to be fair), decide what kind of central message you're going to argue for, check for literary features - this should take 5-10 minutes. Then (for HL, anyway) you have 1 hours 50 mins to attempt to get all your ideas down onto the paper - I generally started writing within the first 10 minutes and didn't stop writing until maybe 1 or 2 minutes before the end. Mega sore hand at the end.

On the other hand, I never really thought I'd get less than a 7 :blink: Not in a conceited way, but just that if you know how to analyse the stuff and can write it all down, you're kinda guaranteed a good mark. Kinda like how if you understand everything in Maths, it's not really possible to get less than a 7. An experience I've unfortunately never had myself, ahah.

If you can't express yourself concisely, don't sit and give yourself a headache about it. It's probably going to be faster to express yourself in a long-winded way and get it down on the page than it is to sit and scratch your head and come up with something shorter. Unless you write very slowly :P If you have the skill of analysis... analyse.

As for being off-topic and non-specific, well you know exactly what your problems are! Literally it's just an analysis so there's not even a question - it's actually hard to go off-topic. Find a line of argument right at the start and spend the whole essay expanding that line of argument. "This poem is about the brevity of mankind" = line of argument. Make everything else about proving your argument, and you'll never go off-topic or deviate.

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When it comes to timing, I disagree that proof-reading is not possible - you have to make time for proof-reading since in every English assessment (whether in an exam or not), 'style' (which encompasses grammar, expression, etc) constitutes at least 5 marks and is always the final criterion.

In terms of overall timing when it comes to exams, I, personally, would adhere to the following guides:

Paper 1:

SL/HL

Reading the text, analysing, determining your thesis, planning 15/20mins

Writing 65/90mins

Proof-reading 10/10mins

Paper 2:

SL/HL

Reading the questions, determining your thesis, planning 10/10mins

Writing 70/100mins

Proof-reading 10/10mins

To succeed, don't ignore planning or proof-reading - they're vital, especially for paper 1. As cliche as it sounds, you need quality, not quantity (albeit, if there is little content, you're also going to score dismal marks). To achieve quality, you need to plan and edit!

Hope this helps

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How do we get better in essays, use better language, analyze better etc? like me teacher does not teach us anything and the best grades of the classes are 5's... (I'm in SL)

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Practice, practice, practice. With Paper 1 especially, you really need to do several practice papers and ask your teacher to mark them for you. Pay attention to the markschemes. On Paper 1 I tend to do prose since poetry is often easier to misinterpret, in my opinion. I typically read over the prose once, read over it again and then read over it a few more times, annotating it intensely. This probably takes between 20 and 25 minutes. For the rest of the time, I write like there's no tomorrow.

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Hey can you please share the assessment criteria and also where can I find past IB English hl Paper?

:) Hope that helps. You start to see a pattern when you go through a lot of past paper questions, they are sort of obvious and as you read back through your texts to analyze them and try to pick out quotes that are useful you can almost anticipate what sort of stuff you will be able to talk about and how exactly you can compare/contrast the different texts.

How do we get better in essays, use better language, analyze better etc? like me teacher does not teach us anything and the best grades of the classes are 5's... (I'm in SL)

Hmm, to be honest to get "good" at english really requires lots of practice just like Effie Trinket mentioned. Try to get your hand on some past Student written exam papers with the grading and comments because when you first try to analyze a students writing for where it is and isn't lackin and then you see the marking you'd be surprised by how much more you feel like they could have improved yet they still got good marks. So it gives you an idea of how to definitely improve your ideas and also what common problems students make, and how not harshly some examiners tend to be, haha.

But really it takes a lot of practice especially if you don't have a good teacher. We got a new techer in DP2 and man did she shape us up even in a couple of months. I could not believe that I got a 7 in my IOC (got a 7 in IOP too but I took like 2 weeks to prepare it and i practically memorized my entire speech). And I know that the only reason I did so well is because my teacher really really helped us a lot by constantly putting us on the spot and asking us to randomly analyze ideas put forth by the writer or one specific passage or she'd put us on the "hot seat" (like when doing Macbeth) and make us take on the role of a particular character and we'd have to answer all sorts of questions. She made sure that we not only understood the plot line but all the significances of little things the writer doesn't. And after a while of just trying to analyse texts you start to become more aware of literary devices and ideas that are less than obvious and I have to say its sort of an acquired skill. I felt like I was doing really crap on my Unseen Commentaries but just after going through the process of analysing so many poems/passages in class and with my friends I feel much more prepared. Then there's the whole structuring your essay so like everyone said, practice brainstorming. For me I can't sit and write lots of essays for practice, I get fidgety and I procrastinate. So what I do is I take practice unseen passages ( I rarely attempt poetry, we have a love/hate relationship) or Past Paper 2 questions and draft a grid of how my answers would look.

I draft a basic intro, then the body of my essay, then conclusion. If you are doing P1 then try to split up your response into the 5 sections of Setting, Theme, Character, Plot, Literary Techniques (if you want, it's a suggestion but a good one) write down all of the instances where the writer has done something to portray or utilize that particular literary device and then make sure you can give an example of everything you have listed and briefly explain the significance (PEE method). Then once you have your 5 sections one will usually be much more heavier in terms of how many points are under it and you would plan to structure your essay around that one and then sort of tackle the less important sections as you go. You can obviously interlink them depending on your passage and the sort of explanations you are giving.

For P2 its much the same process of drafting though you go by Point 1, Point 2 ( and so on ) that relate to your question. I suggest you pick points of comparison for your two/three texts and head them as such and underneat list the signifiance of that point to book 1 and book 2 so that when you write you would be able to integrate information about both books together. When you are brainstorming before a real paper or as practice you can/should definitely list your examples from the text as you go through each point related to each text. I tend to brainstorm for 30 min before attempting to write my paper because I have a tendency to lose track of myself and thus lose points on structure so it's important for me to keep my thoughts in order and it actually becomes much easier to write a good essay first off so you don't even have to worry so much about editing.

Hope that helps?

Edited by Jirashimosu
Please do not share links to IB past papers.

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