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Studying English at IB offers students the opportunity to widen their horizons, engage in lively debate and explore alternative ideas about the world, elements which fit perfectly with the IB Learner Profile.

Every IB student takes English Literature at Higher or Standard Level. The IB course consists of individual and group oral and written assessment improving your skills both in presentations, discussions and written work.

In the Higher level, over the two years, 13 texts are studied across 4 genres, 3 time periods and 3 different places. These can be studied in various depth according to your chosen interests. The focus is on breadth, giving the student an overview of literature they may enjoy and engage with and offering an opportunity to study playwrights from Shakespeare to Ibsen; texts from other cultures, which could be a selection of African, Russian, Japanese, Irish, German or French texts in translation; a wide variety of poetry as well as literary non-fiction. Students are then assessed on these texts in an assortment of ways varying from conventional exams and coursework to oral presentations. 

This approach is brilliant for University, preparing students for the range of texts and the choice of study. In Southampton University an English professor took an ex-student aside to ask what her route to University was as she was so widely read, had brilliant speaking and listening skills and was so able to articulate her opinion in tutorials – her answer ‘The IB English Course’.  She felt fully prepared and confident in her first year as a result of sixth form lessons that felt very similar to University learning.

The Standard English IB course is similar, offering the same exciting breadth and variety of assessment just with slightly fewer texts to study across the two years. Many students who are not confident in English at GCSE are often amazed how much they enjoy the course that offers them flexibility and a wide range of texts and how confident they become in the subject achieving excellent results in the process.


In Year 12 you have two assessments

  1. Texts in Translation assessment involves writing a 1500 word coursework essay on your chosen text and writing a separate 300 word piece about the context of the text.
  2. Individual or paired presentations from a choice of two or three texts and are delivered for 10 minutes to the class; these can include drama, power point visual material, questions, games and are linked closely to your personal and literary response to the text. You may do a character profile or an examination of a motif in the novel.  You will study two or three texts for this and then choose your favourite text to focus on.

In Year 13 you are assessed by two exams and a commentary

  1. The Oral Commentary is a one on one recorded speaking exam where you talk about (If Standard level) a poem or section of prose you have studied and then (if Higher Level) you have a 10 minute discussion about a novel you have also studied.
  2. An exam based comparison essay on two, three, studying three or four plays.
  3. An exam based unseen essay on a poem or prose.

In extra Curriculum English we run speaking challenges and enter competitions – there is opportunity to run lower school clubs in this for your CAS as well as a G and T lower school club run by Year 12 for lower school enthusiasts. There is also a reading challenge group and the honour of being made English Prefect!