Paper 2 – the process

Check the Subject Guide and with your teacher for official information about Paper 2.

The following outline of the Paper 2 process is not the only way it can be done nor is it fully comprehensive. But it is a good place to start.

The first set of bullet points is lead up to Paper 2. The second set of bullet points is for the actual Paper 2 exam.

Preparing for Paper 2

  1. Carefully read through the Paper 2 requirements and criteria.
  2. Analyze Paper 2 samples. Make sure you understand how a Paper 1 sample addresses the requirements and criteria.
  3. As you study works in your class, keep a set of detailed notes. These notes should be for Paper 2 specifically.
  4. When you are planning your Individual oral and HL essay, you also need to think about your options for Paper 2. You CANNOT write about a work on Paper 2 if you have already written about it on your Individual oral or HL essay. In many cases students will use the works they early in the course for the Individual oral and HL essay. The works studied nearer the end of the course are more likely to be the ones use for Paper 2. Make sure you discuss your options with your teacher.
  5. As your list of works that you can use for Paper 2 narrows, you need to keep more detailed / in-depth notes for the works and Paper 2.
  6. Work very hard on your schoolwork and assessments as these are designed to build the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful on Paper 2. Pay particular attention to the study of literary works.
  7. Work on the analysis, writing, and time management skills necessary to succeed on Paper 2. You need to look closely at each criteria to do this.
  8. Do a number of full Paper 2 practices. You may get practice exams from your teacher. You could also work with classmates to create additional practice Paper 2 exams. Check with your teacher first though.
  9. Try a few different procedures / methods on your Paper 2 practices. Many students spend a bit of time making notes and outlining before starting to write the essay. On the other hand, some students start writing their essay as soon as they are allowed to. Try both and see what gives you better results.
  10. After you do a practice Paper 2 you need to carefully analyze your response. Look at how your essay meets the terms in the essay questions as well as the Paper 2 criteria. Analyze your choice of works and consider what other options you had.

The Paper 2 exam

  1. Review the Paper 2 guidelines and criteria beforehand.
  2. Make sure you are fully aware of the time, date, and location of your exam.
  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 2 specifically.
  4. Make sure you have the necessary materials you need for the exam ready.
  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. You need to decide which of the question you will answer and which works you will write about.
  7. When you are allowed to start writing, you should consider not starting to write your essay right away. You may be better off spending some time annotating the questions, 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 on another. Ensure that your notes / outline match the Paper 2 guidelines and 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.
Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top