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How to get a 7 in English A1 Paper 1 (Unseen Commentary)

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Hmmmm. What length would you recommend? Internally, we've done two so far this year. The first I went really in-depth, theme-by-theme, before concluding that all the themes culminated to form a stereotypical 'journey' text albeit with the twist that the journey is portrayed as common and unextraordinary, illustrated both through tone and the narrator's musings. The equivalent of 7-8 double-sided IB sheets, 23/25. The second I spoke of the overall theme of humanity rendered helpless in the face of nature, used setting, de-personalisation and tone as my key aspects. Probably 4 double-sided IB sheets (was feeling tired, lazy and unwell). Also 23/25. I know quantity doesn't substitute for quality, but am I to believe that I contributed the same amount to the criteria despite writing double the content the first time round? Our teacher annotates our papers, but doesn't give us any overall feedback or even attach her marks per criteria, so I've got no clue.

Edited by Saurav Das
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I disagree with 'i think' because they don't really care what you think. Until the end that is. Write 'this could suggest blah blah hey look at me being all perceptive proud_smiley.png' or words to that effect.

forgot to add, nice post smile.png

Edited by Graeme
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From what I gather the criteria suggests that your personal response can be accepts as long as you have evidence from the extract to support your interpretation. Does that mean it's possible for two commentaries with different themes and ideas to get more or less the same score with substantial reasoning behind each commentary?

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To get a 5 for presentation, and structure, you need a clear introduction, where you refer back to the name of the extract, writer, and your thesis statement. The thesis statement is your signpost to explain how you are going to analyse the extract. We were taught to pick the one aspect of the text that struck us most, to write it down in vary casual English, and then to rewrite it in formal literary language. For example you would start off by thinking: Wow, the poor girl in the extract is clearly bonkers or mad: and why all the references to ice and snow? and then your thesis statement could read something like: The repetition of images of cold and ice emphasizes not only the increasing isolation of the protagonist, but also points to the lack of vitality and life, which culminates in the apparent death of the protagonist in an "icy black hole".

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I disagree with 'i think' because they don't really care what you think. Until the end that is. Write 'this could suggest blah blah hey look at me being all perceptive :proud:' or words to that effect.

forgot to add, nice post :)

I agree with this. "I think" just shows that you might not be sure and that isn't convincing when you want to show that you know what it is doing. Just state what the feature does and move on, don't use anything that could show a possible weakness in your argument.

I'd also like to add that it is very possible to memorize a few short quotes (4-5 word quotes) that include the feature in your works. Most people just remember important sentences after reading them, rather natural. If you add in these quotes that you remember it will display a better appreciation to the feature.

DO NOT quote something large, even if you did memorize it. It's kind of iffy when you suddenly have a 10+ word quote out of nowhere.

Edit @mods: sticky this? Or merge into the pre-existing thread concerning paper1 and 2?

Edited by Drake Glau

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Thanks for the advice! ;) I have my English A1 SL Paper 1 on Monday and I am definitely doing for Prose. I will not waste any time to read the poem.

I'll just have to memorise the different criterion and hope for the best.

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Im sorry but this is ridiculously wrong! First of all there are very few 7's every year worldwide. To get a 5 in a section is doable but still very difficult. You are certainly not going to get a 25 it just doesn't happen, nobody gets 25/25. Also you NEVER use first person in the commentary; saying "I think" is a death wish. For criterion c you cant just throw out random literary and poetic devices. You have to layer them into your ideas and shouldn't be thrown around. You're not just pointing them out either you explaining your ideas such as "the poem expresses a mood of adoration through "these lines" that have for example symbolism or cacophony or metonomy which help emphasize the effect of the lines and the idea. You don't follow one particular method of organization. The acronym PEE isnt going to help you, certain organizational methods such as idea by idea or stanza by stanza are possibilities but can't always be relied on it all depends on the poem or prose. Section E is not like C at all E is the language used and it sophistication. Did you say a "weird" use of movement or did you say an "unorthodox" or "uncanny" or "imaginative" use of movement? Did you make good use of adjectives or use dull plain ones? I am curious as to what you scored on your English exam because if you did anything remotely like what you said in the guide you're looking at probably a 3 or 2.

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How ignorant to say that nobody ever achieves it - it is true it is rare, but still possible. A guy in the year above me actually did get given a 25/25 for his poetry commentary, marked by the IBO. They also have it remarked just to confirm that it is 100%.

Edited by TykeDragon
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How ignorant to say that nobody ever achieves it - it is true it is rare, but still possible. A guy in the year above me actually did get given a 25/25 for his poetry commentary, marked by the IBO. They also have it remarked just to confirm that it is 100%.

I didn't mean to say nobody achieves it but like you said it is very rare. Concerning the guy in the year above you Im not sure how he would know he got a 25/25 because at our school we don't find out what we scored on each individual section. When the scores are released in July it just says your score for each subject, its not broken down into what you scored on each section, so I'll never know what I got on it. I guess it could be different there but we were told we never find out just as we were never told our scores on the IOP or IOC or written assignment.

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How ignorant to say that nobody ever achieves it - it is true it is rare, but still possible. A guy in the year above me actually did get given a 25/25 for his poetry commentary, marked by the IBO. They also have it remarked just to confirm that it is 100%.

I didn't mean to say nobody achieves it but like you said it is very rare. Concerning the guy in the year above you Im not sure how he would know he got a 25/25 because at our school we don't find out what we scored on each individual section. When the scores are released in July it just says your score for each subject, its not broken down into what you scored on each section, so I'll never know what I got on it. I guess it could be different there but we were told we never find out just as we were never told our scores on the IOP or IOC or written assignment.

Incorrect. The next day, the majority of IB students get a breakdown of their scores and where they lost marks so they know what to remark if they need it. And 25/25 in P1 English isn't rare. 2/15 in HL in my school got full marks in P1 and 7/15 got over 20.

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The motto is: Easier said than done!

A list of criteria and all the good advice goes *only so far*. Everything looks neat and tidy on paper and in the mind. You already KNOW what the criteria are. And all the advice you have got so far is GOOD. So you feel reassured.

And that is just the hitch. Those illusions of security.

Sure, you CAN do well, and ALMOST ANYONE SHOULD be able to score 25/25. .... But will they, even with all the good advice and list of criteria? I don't think so. You know that too.

Practise -- lots of it. Constant. Systematic. Sustained. And with detailed feedback from your teacher (or peers, if they are expert). That is key.

Don't wait for it. Don't wait for the dying of the day: Practise, practise!

Edited by Blackcurrant
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I disagree with 'i think' because they don't really care what you think. Until the end that is. Write 'this could suggest blah blah hey look at me being all perceptive :proud:' or words to that effect.

forgot to add, nice post :)

 

I agree. If I recall correctly, first person must not be used in Paper 1

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It'll be interesting to see how this goes, but please be entirely sure of the advice you're giving out. For example, one of the most blaring mistakes in your post was your suggesting to use first person in the commentary. DO NOT DO THIS. It's not about the reader, not about "i", not about what impact it has on you. It's about what's written, the purpose, how it was done. DON'T MAKE THE MISTAKE OF EVALUATING IT OR OFFERING PERSONAL COMMENTS!! 

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I teach Language A: Literature, and it's encouraging to hear the wide range of opinions being voiced on this forum. The truth is there are no rules for writing the commentary. Ultimately, writing is an art and, therefore, highly resistant to strictures and rules. That said, there are many structures, habits and techniques that that have been established by tradition that allow the writer to more effectively communicate his/her ideas. Each of these suggested structures can be helpful; however, advice that works for one student/writer may be unnecessary or even unhelpful for another writer. This is undoubtedly frustrating to hear because one of the consequences of this is that interpretations of what is good and bad writing varies. More encouragingly, however, these variances occur at the higher levels and generally consist of a debate over whether a student deserves the very highest grade or not. 

 

For example, a talented and capable writer, who acknowledges and shows evidence of understanding a wide variety of writing structures, techniques and terms, can shift tones in an essay – moving from formal to less formal syntax and diction (for example, using the pronoun "I") – and still be effective, even in formal writing. For a writer like this, shifting tones may offer additional evidence of confidence and fluency. For a less talented writer with less control over their prose, a shift in tones may actually suggest a lack of coherence and fluency. Which may be why eighth grade teachers discourage their essay writers from using the pronoun "I" while twelfth grade teachers occasionally relax this rule.

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On 5/4/2013 at 1:07 AM, cjy said:

Incorrect. The next day, the majority of IB students get a breakdown of their scores and where they lost marks so they know what to remark if they need it. And 25/25 in P1 English isn't rare. 2/15 in HL in my school got full marks in P1 and 7/15 got over 20.

I'm from Australia and we do not find out where the individual marks are broken down, and yes it is rare, maybe you just went to a good school. 

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