Paper 2 – practice question: “…convey ideas that are universal…”

Before analyzing the text make sure to review your paper 2 resources. Paper 2 questions are very broad and can be adapted to a large number of works in a number of different ways.

  1. Identify the keys words in the question.
  2. Think about the works you can write about for paper 2 (i.e. ones you have not used for your IA oral or HL essay). How well do the key words in the question fit two of your works?
  3. What are the different ways in which you can approach the key words between the two works and even within the two works?
  4. How can you make sure you sufficiently address the requirements of criteria A and B if you choose this question and the two works you have chosen?
  5. On an actual Paper 2 you will of course need to quickly evaluate all of the questions on the exam and decide which one to answer.

From an IB specimen paper:

“Some literary texts, although set in a particular place or time, convey ideas that are universal. In what ways is this true in two of the works you have studied?”

  • What are particular places or times that your works are set in?
  • How do the works convey ideas that are universal?
  • When you read “ideas that are universal” what should very quickly come to mind are themes in your works.
  • What are the authors trying to convey particular universal ideas?
  • What textual features and / or broader authorial choices are used to develop these universal ideas?

A quick practice for paper 2 can involved more than brainstorming the above points. You could also do some or all of the following:

  • Write an organized set of notes that helps you answer the paper 2 for each of the two works.
  • Organize the notes into a rough essay outline.
  • Write a thesis statement that directly answers the exam question.
  • Write a short introduction. The introduction should clearly outline the two works, your basic approach to the question, a bit of relevant information about each work, and close with your thesis statement.

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