Topic and Theme: What’s the difference?

images (20)It can be difficult to understand the difference between the terms ‘motif’, ‘topic’ and ‘theme’.   These terms are closely linked that they can be easily confused — and, to make matters worse, they may be used interchangeably and without any clear distinction in the classroom.

In this post we offer some simple definitions of the three terms to make sure that you use them correctly when writing your World Lit essays Continue Reading →

IOC Commentary: Questions

download (3)The IOC exam can be an intimidating prospect for many candidates;  it is, undoubtedly, the most intensive, high-pressure exam of all, requiring  in just 8 minutes a well-organized, insightful response to a passage presented to you by your teacher 20 minutes beforehand.

The pressure is on, but you needn’t fret if you adopt the right approach and attitude.

We believe in preparation — lots of it! And well-ahead of the crunch time. Here are some things you can do already:

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Top up your account with free credits. Ideal for those preparing for upcoming exams or heading into a major assignment — but good also for those just starting out.  Please note that this exceptional offer ends in 5 days and is therefore limited in duration.

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From the Horse’s Mouth

images (1)Examiner Advice for Paper 1 (English A: Language & Literature) 

Every year, the IBO releases examiner reports which offer valuable insights for each exam and assessment type. The reports typically offer recommendations to candidates and teachers on how to improve and what to avoid.

In this article, we reproduce examiners’ critical insights on the Paper 1 exam performances for English A: Language and Literature.

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Use our contact form and tell us when you are available – remembering to include your city/timezone! We’ll confirm by email a suitable day and time.

Use the free trial (Skype) session to go over an assignment, practice commentary-writing, view a high-scoring P2 exam, or clarify some aspect of English A.  Contact us now.


In the Spotlight: The Great Gatsby

images (9)The classic novel of The Roaring Twenties, The Great Gatsby, by Scott Fitzgerald.

In a Podcast Harriet Gilbert and guests discuss the haunting tale of dazzling, doomed Jay Gatsby as told through the eyes of young Midwesterner Nick Carraway.  In another Podcast Australian director, Baz Luhrmann talks about what went into the filmic adaptation of the novel.   

All this followed up with viable topics and ideas for the FOA, IOP or Written Task/WA and a sample IOC on a 40-line passage from the novel.

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Extended Essay: First Reflection

images (22)As part of your engagement mark (Criterion E), you will be required to fulfil 3 reflection sessions with your supervisor. Your reflection will be recorded in the Reflections on Planning and Progress Form (RPPF) and submitted along with your extended essay proper.

In this article we look into what is expected in the first session and how you can prepare for it: Continue Reading →

In the Spotlight: “Things Fall Apart”

download (5)Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (1958) begins with life in a small Igbo village in what is now Nigeria, and ends with its (tragic) upheaval on the arrival of Christian missionaries and colonial European rulers.

This is a very popular work at IBDP and therefore it may form the basis of your next assignment or final exam. Below we offer ideas and inspiration for the FOA, IOP, WT1 &, WA. For Paper 2 practice using this work, ask us for a free session.

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