IB English A: Literature and IB English A: Language and Literature

Who loves textual analysis and Paper One?  Andrew and Dave do!  Whether you are taking IB English A: Literature or IB English A: Language and Literature, we all have to write Paper One.  This means we need to read critically, explore authorial choices, and consider their implications and how they shape meaning.  Confused?  No worries. 

This page is organized as follows:

  • Quick tips for all students can be found at the top.
  • Language and Literature text types with sample responses come next.
  • This is followed by some critical visual analysis skills for Lang/Lit.
  • Literature videos for all forms come after that.

Paper One – Quick Tips and Tricks For All Students

We get it.  Sometimes you don't have the time to watch lots of videos and sort through lots of documents.  If that describes you, then Andrew and Dave highly recommend checking out the videos below.  They are short, sweet, and have loads of critical tips and tricks to help you succeed on Paper One.

Need 10 ideas on things to include in your Paper One?  Watch this video and learn what’s essential.

Document: Ten Tips for Paper One

Need 10 ideas on things to AVOID in your Paper One?  Watch this video and learn what must be left out on exam day..

Document: Ten Pitfalls to Avoid for Paper One

How many times have you heard your teacher tell you to use more voice when you write?  What does that even mean?  Watch this video to find out.

Document: Adding Voice to Academic Writing

Having trouble with your introductions and conclusions?  Watch this video to learn how to start and finish strong.

Document: Sample Intro and Conclusion

It’s not enough to just identify features.  We need to consider how authors make choices to shape meaning.  Check out this video on Criteria B.

Document: Discussing Reader Effect

You understand how to discuss reader effect, but what about evaluation?  This is an important part of Criteria B.  Watch this video and master Paper 1!

Document: Adding Evaluation

Language and Literature - Countdown to Paper One!

Do you have a summative assessment or mock exam coming up?  Are you busy cramming content at the last minute for either the November or May examination sessions?  If you are a Language and Literature student and this describes you, then you have come to the right place!  Each of the following TEN text types has CLOSE READING and SAMPLE RESPONSES WITH EXAMINER COMMENTS.  There are also documents with text type conventions and various other resources you need to achieve academic success.  Watch the videos.  Master the content.  Crush Paper One!


Document: Student Response


Document: Student Response

More Nonliterary Text Types:

Wow, that was quite a playlist!  But…there’s more to learn.  Don’t worry!  Dave and Andrew LOVE nonliterary text types.  Political cartoons?  Check.  Film, photos, and documentaries?  Yes, please.  Opinion articles and advertisements?  You betcha.  If those sounds interesting, that’s because they are.  Check out the nonliterary text types below and rest assured that your Paper One exam performance will be one that you can celebrate.

Political Cartoons

Andrew and Dave LOVE political cartoons.  They are self-contained commentaries on an important current event or key aspect of society, and they’re humorous.  Look out for colors, symbols, and other hidden ideas lurking in the subtext.  Remember: just like literary authors, cartoonists make a series of choices in their work intended to shape meaning.  Look carefully.  Pay attention and learn their moves.  Ace Paper One.

Let’s learn the basics.  Learn these terms so you can apply them to any political cartoon you encounter!

Document: Cartoon Terms

Document: Cartoon of Cartoon Terms

We’re just warming up!  Now that you’ve learned some basic terms, let’s apply them to more cartoons.


Nice!  You’re getting the hang of this cartoon stuff.  Time to put your ideas to writing.  Check it out!

Document: Cartoon and Sample Writing

Document: Sentence Stems for Analysis

Time to put it all together.  Watch the video, examiner the cartoon, read the student response, and listen to the examiner scoring.  Crucial information here!

Document: Full Student Response


They’re everywhere.  On our phones, on billboards around the city, on our computer screens every time we visit a new site.  Advertisers work to cut through the clutter, grab our attention, and subtly influence us to make a choices to buy, buy, and buy some more.  Accordingly, Dave and Andrew believe it’s essential to show students the tips and tricks companies use to manipulate our attention and persuade us to act.  So, check out these videos.  Not only will you improve your Paper One performance, but you will also be a more skilled and savvy consumer who is attuned to the features our favorite brands employ in their ads.

You’ve got to start somewhere.  Learn the key terms and what to look for in advertisements.  Oh, there’s a cool mnemonic to help you remember this stuff as well.  Watch this first!

Document: Features of Advertising

Document: Mnemonic for Deconstructing Ads


So these tips and tricks work for public service announcements as well?  Nice!  Check out this piece from UNHCR, apply the skills, and watch your Paper One confidence soar.

Document: 15 Techniques of Advertising

Document: More Tools of Persuasion

OK, we’ve explored some ads and other persuasive texts.  Time to put it all together in writing and see if we can build some academic paragraphs.  Notice how the student links references, features, and ideas in writing.

Document: The Model Paragraph

Opinion Articles

There’s a lot going on in our world, and people generally have some strong reactions to current events.  Whether they agree with public policy and sentiment or not, writer’s of opinion columns implement a series of choices in their work to maximize their persuasive effect.  A close cousin of speeches, these short and complete texts pack a punch.  Look carefully at how they’re structured, how they use rhetoric, and how they end with a bang.  Learn this stuff.  It’s Paper One gold.

OK, so you’re starting to see a trend, right?  Yes, that’s right – each text type has a set of terminology needed to discuss specific elements in an academic way.  Learn the terms.  Improve your Paper One.

Document: Persuasive Elements in Opinion Articles

Now that you’ve got some basic skills and some terms under your belt, let’s apply them to three different opinion articles and see what we can do.


Time to put it all together and produce a piece of writing.  Notice how the student combines terms, ideas, and precise references to the text as they crush this Paper One.  Study their moves.  Notice their approach.  Watch.  Learn.  Master.

Document: Paper One Student Sample (clean)

Document: Paper One Student Sample (highlighted)


The ability to read images is crucial for Language and Literature success.  As you know, may of the texts we explore are multimodal, meaning they have both text and image.  So, we need to be savvy and understand how to read photographs, analyze them, and make meaning.  Like other text types, there are some basic terms and approaches to close reading that will open up some important analytical doors for you.  Watch these videos and improve your visual analysis!

Who likes Andrew and Dave’s silly mnemonics for analysis?  Yes, they’re cheesy.  Yes, they help.  Check out this video and learn the basics of deconstructing photographs.

Document: Analyzing Photographs

Nice, you learned the acronym for deconstructing images!  Now let’s apply this strategy to multiple photos and determine the attributes of this great Body of Work from Philip Jones Griffiths.

Website: Body of Work – Philip Jones Griffiths

Films, Documentaries, and Series

Who doesn’t love a good film or Netflix series?  Quick confession: Andrew and Dave have a media problem.  Sure, we have vibrant reading lives, but we love to watch filmmakers and camera crews work their magic.  There’s so much to talk about!  Whether you are looking a camera angle, camera distance, audio tracks, visual tracks, or graphics tracks, Andrew and Dave have you covered.  

Yep, you guess it.  Next text type, new set of terms.  Check out the documents below and match some of the ideas to the iconic series Squid Game.  Don’t worry – we didn’t pick the gory shots for analysis.

Document: Key Terms for Analyzing Film

Sure, the thumbnail says “Individual Oral” but it just as easily could have said “Paper One.”  Remember: these assessments are close cousins!  Watch this video to learn what to look for in documentaries.


I’m sorry…you’ve got to listen to this recording!  Listen to our student destroy these screenshots from Breaking Boundaries on Netflix.  If you haven’t seen David Attenborough talk us through this documentary about climate change, check it out!  It’s must watch stuff.

Document: Student Recording

Document: Recording Transcript

Document: Student Notes and Planning

Literary Text Types

Regardless of the course you are enrolled in, we’re all studying literature.  How is prose fiction different than prose nonfiction, and how should you approach these texts?  What about drama and poetry?  Are there any special skills and tips to learn?  We’ve got the answers to these questions and more down below.  Watch the videos.  Read the documents.  Become a better critical reader and writer.  

Prose Fiction

What’s prose fiction?  Think novels.  Think short stories.  Think “imaginative” writing.  It’s one of the cornerstones of the course for a reason, and Andrew and Dave just love the power of story.  It’s complex, it teaches us about the human condition, and it fosters empathy.  Learn how to be a close reader of prose fiction and let your knowledge shine when you write your Paper One.

Not sure what to look for in prose fiction?  No worries.  This video explore the key aspects to look for and shows you how to find them.  Use the document and watch the video!

Document: SCASNI acronym for annotating fiction

OK, you know the terms and what to look for in a short prose fiction passage.  Now lets close-read an assessment passage, outline our thinking, and consider how authors make choices to shape meaning.

Document: SCASNI applied to a Paper One Text

You’ve read closely, you’ve annotated, and you’ve got your thesis and rudimentary outline ready. Let’s check out this sample paper and examiner comments and see what we can learn.

Document: Paper One – Full Student Response

Prose Non-Fiction

Sure, we all love pure story, but this course requires that students read and analyze prose nonfiction texts as well.  So what exactly is this stuff anyway?  Think memoirs.  Think travelogues.  Think philosophy and other insightful texts that present factual information in an entertaining and literary way.  Andrew and Dave love this stuff, and so do our students.  Check out these three great 2-video sets – they’ll show you how to read carefully and write powerfully.

How do writers combine the scientific and the literary to convey information?  Check out this video and watch Andrew and Dave break it down.

Document:  Assessment Text (clean)

Document:  Assessment Text (annotated)

Learn about the human heart, its beauty, and how modern doctors can still learn from traditional methods in this cool text that is a former Paper One Assessment.

Document:  Assessment Text (clean)

Document:  Assessment Text (annotated)

Let’s read this excerpt from a great memoir and see what we can learn.

Document:  Assessment Text (clean)

Document:  Assessment Text (annotated)

Now that the reading portion is out of the way, let’s take a look at this student response and listen to Andrew and Dave discuss the strengths and weaknesses.  Lots to learn here.

Document: Student Response (clean)

Document: Student Response (highlighted)

Nice work with that close reading.  Let’s look a piece of student writing, discuss strengths and weaknesses, and use this as an opportunity to make your writing better.

Document: Student Response (clean)

Document: Student Response (highlighted)


 Let’s see how Dave and Andrew’s student took the ideas from the reading and demonstrated their understanding and analysis under timed Paper One conditions.

Document: Student Response (clean and highlighted)

Document: Three Different Styles of Introductions



Wipe that dirty look off your face and have some confidence – poetry can be fun!  Sure, Dave and Andrew understand that it’s abstract, it’s full of deep thinking, and it’s complex, but that’s what makes it so interesting!  Maybe you’ll learn to love it if you have the tools?  That’s where IB English Guys come into play.  Check out the videos and document below.  You’ll find poetic terminology, close reading strategies, and sentence stems to guide your writing.  Watch.  Learn.  Master.  You’ve got this!  

Don’t be fooled by the “Individual Oral” thumbnail.  As you’ve probably noticed, the IO and Paper One skill sets are close cousins.  Check out this video and learn the basics of breaking down poetry.

Document: Poetic Terms

Document: Sample Poem with Annotations

Document: Sentence Stems for Analysis


Yes, poetry has a lot of moving parts.  Is there an acronym or some other trick to remember how to analyze these things?  Yep.  Dave and Andrew have you covered.  Check out the video and check out the docs.  Some good stuff here.

Document: How to Read a Poem

Document: Acronym for Analyzing Poetry

Document: Words to Describe Mood and Tone

Document: Maya Angelou Poem For Analysis



Great!  You’re getting the hang of this poetry stuff.  Let’s dig a bit deeper and do some close reading and thinking.  Time to learn how to put it all together and arrive at the thesis.

Document: Mary Oliver Poem for Analysis

Document: Mary Oliver Poem (fully annotated)



Check out this former IB Exam where we break down a great poem.

Document: Poem – “Tyre Shop” by Bob Orr

Check out the full student response and compare your work.

Document: “Tyre Shop” – Full Student Response


Andrew and Dave love drama.  But, you’ve got to remember to pay attention to the stage directions. What can you see and hear on stage?  What props do you notice?  How are costume and staging used for effect?  So many things to explore!  It’s important to learn the basics for now, but stay tuned for more content in the future.  Our students love drama, and so will you.  Immerse yourself in this text type and enjoy!

Seriously?  More terms to learn for another genre?  Yes, but don’t despair!  Drama provides some great opportunities to flex your brain muscles and show your teacher – and the examiner – that you can think and analyze with the best.

Document: Dramatic Terms

Document: Annotated Passage

Coming Soon!

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