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English A1 HL - IOC Number of Works?

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I was just wondering about the amount of potential works that each school could draw while doing the commentary. Apparently, when we draw our selections "from the hat," there will only be 10 to choose from, with 25 students. Our teacher has informed us about the amount that we should prepare for, and they include:

  • Two Shakespeare works (Macbeth, Othello)
  • Five short stories (James Joyce, Dubliners)
  • Eight poems (Margaret Atwood)

The number appears to be somewhat high - is this normal for most other schools? I'm paranoid, especially since the Atwood poems are quite difficult to deal with, and while our teacher pointed out various literary features within them, he hardly mentioned the significance of what the author was actually doing while implementing such things. Also, the two Shakespeare works are, of course, rather lengthy. I'm not trying to complain about the work that I have to do, but at the same time, with my TOK oral and EE going on at around the same time, I don't want to be overly stressed by unnecessary work.

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That does seem like rather a lot at first glance - but also you ARE taking two things which are segmented. We also had 4 works to choose from - 6 Keats poems & 4 Heaney poems & 4 Hughes poems, a Shakespeare play, a Jane Austen novel and the incredibly complex/BORING autobiography of Robert Graves. Albeit that rather than being complete works one of them is watered down into short stories, it's still 4 works. I'd say the amount you're doing is probably about right.

Of course some schools are very lenient and actually tell you which piece they're going to give you (technically cheating) but if your school does it by the book (like mine did), you're probably on track. It's a lot, I know :D Sadly it's about how much the IB expects you to know. Took me agessss to learn them all (poems weren't so bad but Robert Graves had issues when it came to chronology!) but it's one of those things you have to plough through steadfast.

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I agree with Sandwich, although mine seems like less, with a play, several poems, 10-ish essays & speeches, and a novel. What our teacher will allow us to do is once we finish at least 2 of the 4 works, we can schedule an IOC, so the sooner you do it, the less you have to prepare for in terms of numbers of works, if that makes sense.

About the poems--perhaps your teacher wanted you to reach that conclusion? If he told you his take on the poem, then you might be subconsciously confined to it, and on the IOC, you might not be able to get past that. It's really infuriating, but our teachers rarely tell us what they think so that we can form our own opinions. There's not really a wrong answer, as you've heard dozens of times. Could you run your thoughts about the meaning of the poems by your teacher?

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