Paper 1 – the process

Check the Subject Guide and with your teacher for official information about Paper  1.

There are multiple ways to prepare for and write Paper 1, but consider using the method below. There are other elements to the process but the list below contains all of the major steps.

The first set of bullet points are the build up to Paper 1. The second set is for the actual Paper 1 exam.

Preparing for Paper 1

  1. Carefully read through the Paper 1 requirements and criteria.
  2. Analyze Paper 1 samples. Make sure you understand how a Paper 1 sample addresses the assessment requirements and criteria.
  3. As you work through bodies of work in your class, create a list of text types and text type characteristics. You will not know ahead of time which text(s) or text type(s) you will get on Paper 1. It is essential that you are familiar with a wide variety of text types and text type characteristics.
  4. Work very hard on your schoolwork and school. assessments. Although you may not realize it early on, they are designed to build the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful on Paper 1. Pay particular attention to the non-literary texts in the bodies of work.
  5. Work on the analysis, writing, and time management skills necessary to succeed on Paper 1.
  6. Do a number of full Paper 1 practices. You may get practice exams from your teacher. You could also work with classmates to create additional practice Paper 1 exams. Check with your teacher first though.
  7. Try a few different procedures / methods on your Paper 1 practices. Many students spend a bit of time making notes and outlining before starting to write the essay. Other students prefer to start writing their essay as soon as they are allowed to. Try both ways and see what gives you better results.
  8. After you do a practice Paper 1 you need to carefully analyze the text(s) and your response(s). Look at how your Paper 1 meet the terms in each criteria.

The Paper 1 exam

  1. Review the Paper 1 requirements and criteria.
  2. Make sure you are fully aware of the time, date, and location of your exam beforehand.
  3. Ensure that you are fully aware of all of the IB and school guidelines and rules for IB exams and for DP Language and Literature Paper 1 specifically.
  4. Make sure you have the necessary materials you need for the exam ready beforehand.
  5. Listen carefully to the instructions at the start of the exam. Instructions are different for each exam.
  6. As soon as you are allowed to, look carefully at the whole exam. Do not make any rushed judgements or decisions.
  7. When you are allowed to start writing, you should consider not starting writing the essay right away. You may be better off spending some time annotating the text(s), making notes, and creating an outline. Your notes and outline should be on a different answer booklet than you will use to write your essay. This will save you time: you can look at your notes and outline in one booklet while you write your essay in another. Ensure that your notes / outline match the Paper 1 criteria.
  8. You could leave a few extra lines between paragraphs in case you miss something and need to go back later to add it.
  9. As you work through the essay keep track of time. Look at your essay outline and compare your progress with the time remaining.
  10. You should aim to finish your essay a bit early to give you enough time to edit it for errors.
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