Paper 2 – practice question: “…the struggle to be understood…”

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:

“How do two of the works you have studied portray the struggle to be understood?”

  • “Portray”- which “textual features and/or broader authorial choices” (criterion B) are important in each work in ways which are linked to”the struggle to be understood”?
  • “the struggle” – The word “struggle” should bring to mind internal and external conflicts in each work. Make sure you can clearly identify not only struggles, but struggles that are directly linked to being understood.
  • “to be understood – in what ways are different people, groups, and organizations in your two works trying to be understood but are struggling to do so?

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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