English IB HL Paper 1 Notes

Just some advice about paper 1, for higher (standard can use it too, but the mark scheme is for HL)

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English Paper One Tips
The (TITLE) silly (SPEAKER) ass (AUDIENCE) can't (CONTENT) state (STYLE) the (TONE) format
(FORM/STRUCTURE) at the top of the question paper and use it to help you structure your response to the poem.
If you find the poem difficult and don't really understand it, here are a few things you can do which will help to gain
you marks. (Having coloured highlighters would be helpful!)
Underline all the verbs ­ then choose an interesting one and explain why the poet has used it.
Underline all the visual images and pick one which you feel is particularly vivid to comment on.
Underline all the sounds employed in the poem. These might be obvious if they are onomatopoeic, but look
for examples of assonance or consonance or alliteration or sibilance or internal rhyme. Then you can pick one
or two and explain the effect the poet was trying to achieve.
Underline all the adjectives and choose one which you think is used in an interesting/powerful way.
Underline any similes and metaphors in the poem. Pick out one or two and explain what they mean. Say why
they are effective.
Look at the places where the poet has chosen to break the lines. Find one line break that you can comment on
which throws deliberate emphasis onto some particular word or phrase for a reason.
Always refer to the poet by his surname in your answer.
Before anything else, read the poem two or three times. Then try to grasp its meaning - what is the theme, what is
the tone, what is the poet trying to say here? By studying the structure and language of the poem, you will gain an
insight into the poem's meaning. The more times you read the poem, the more you will understand the meaning of
the poem.
Having said that, contemporary poetry is sometimes difficult to interpret. It can often have several meanings, or its
meaning can be unequivocal. Sometimes, the poet doesn't want it to have any particular meaning, preferring instead
the reader takes his/her own interpretation. You are advised to be as open and non-judgemental as possible when
answering the unseen poetry question.
The poet communicates thoughts, emotions and ideas to the reader through a particular choice of words and
structure. The objective of the poem can differ. Sometimes the poem might challenge readers' perceptions of how
they view things, and help them see things in a different light. For some people, poetry is highly personal, and they
engage with poems on a subjective level. In this way, you can learn a lot about life and understanding life through
To help you gain a deeper understanding of what the meaning or content of a poem, try examining the following:
State what you believe to be the main idea or ideas of the poem, approaching it stanza by stanza.
Note the key words or phrases repeated throughout the poem.
Think about why the stanzas/lines are structured in a particular way.
Explore the relationships throughout the poem.
See if there are any recurring themes in the poem, and elicit what the poet is trying to say by writing about

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Page 2

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Who is the speaker in the poem? Is it the poet, or is it the poet taking on another voice?
Who is the poet speaking to? Is it him/herself, is it a particular person, or is it the reader?
What can we tell about the poet from studying the poem.
When studying the language of a poem, there are certain elements to look out for:
Tone: What is the poem's tone (sad, happy, reflective, morose, philosophical, etc.…read more

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These two lines often contain a complete thought. All of Shakespeare's sonnets end
with a couplet. Here is an example from Shakespeare's ''Shall I Compare Thee'':
''So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.''
Enjambment - When a sentence continues into the next line of the poem without
any punctuation mark. Enjambment is often used to suggest fast action or movement.…read more

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Ideas have little organization; there may be a superficial structure, but coherence and development are
2 Ideas have some organization, with a recognizable structure; coherence and development are often
3 Ideas are adequately organized, with a suitable structure; some attention is paid to coherence and
4 Ideas are effectively organized, with very good structure, coherence and development.
5 Ideas are persuasively organized, with excellent structure, coherence and development.…read more

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Write a concise conclusion pulling together the threads of your essay.
Try to include a personal response: In conclusion, what is particularly striking is how...
Analytical prompts
The following phrases are helpful for both speaking and writing about Literature. Both types of response require
structure and focus if the criticism is to be valuable.
Essential to all literary criticism is a sense of importance ­ even urgency.…read more

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The theme of [x] is initiated/developed/sustained/complicated in this [analytical adjective] extract
This brutal image strikes the reader as
There is a vital ambiguity at work here: either ... or ....…read more



Thank you so much for this piece of upload! It has been very useful!

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