Introduction to IB English and IB English tutor

Updated: Sep 23, 2019

IB English offers a wide variety of courses to cater with students with different needs. HKExcel, on the other hand, offers IB English tutor services to help in all courses. In this blog post, we will explore the various IB english courses offered and the ways that we can help.

Language A: Literature (HL/SL)

This course is for students that uses English as a first language and involves the analysis of literary texts.

The course can be broken down into 4 parts, with each part focusing on a different kind of literary work. These 4 parts would allow students to explore literature for a wide wage of genres, cultures and time periods. Through the course, students can learn to appreciate literature and to critically analyse their writing and reading.

Key features of the course:

  • Both higher level and standard levels are offered

  • 240 hours are recommended for higher level study and 150 hours for standard level study

  • 13 literary works are studied in the higher level course and 10 works will be studied in the standard level course in depth

  • The course aims to develop students’ ability to critically analyse literature works

  • Assessments include formal examinations, written tasks and oral examinations

  • For the formal examinations, one involves a unseen literary text, while one involves literary texts studied in depth during class

More details about the higher level literature course

The HL literature course can be broken down in the following parts in terms of the hours of instruction

  • Translated works: in this part, students need to study 3 pieces of literary texts that are translated

  • Detailed studies: Students need to study 3 works of different genres that are written by English authors.

  • Literary genres: Students will study 4 works from the same genre

  • Options: Students can study 3 works in any genre and in any combinations

Here are a detailed break down of the assessments:

  • Paper 1: Written commentary on an unseen text , counts for 20% of the final grade

  • Paper 2: A written essay to answer a question comparing 2 texts studied, 25% of the final grade

  • Written assessment: A literary essay on 1 of the works studied, 25% of the final grade

  • Formal oral commentary: 20 minute presentation, counts for 15% of the final grade

  • Individual oral presentation: 15 minute presentation, counts for 15% of the final grade

More details about the standard level literature course

The SL course is similar to the HL Course, but with less difficulty and depth

In terms of hours of introduction

  • Translated works: Only 2 pieces of translated texts studied

  • Detailed studies: Only 2 pieces of English texts studied

  • Literary genres: Only 3 works studied from the same genre

  • Options: 3 works studied

Here are a detailed break down of the assessments:

  • Paper 1: Same as the HL paper, but texts are easier

  • Paper 2: Same as the HL paper

  • Formal oral commentary: Same as the HL course

  • Individual oral presentation: Same as the HL course

Language A: Language and literature (HL/SL)

The Language and literature course relates both to the study of language and the study of literature.

Contemporary texts are also studied in the Language and literature course. The course is designed to help students understand how the context of the text helps to shape its text. Through active analysis with language, the Cours can help students to gain a further understanding in the world that we live in. The course is designed to develop analysis skills for both literary and non-literary texts.

The course allows students critically study and interpret written and oral texts from a range of different genres. Different types of texts ,from newspaper articles and advertisements to prose and poems would be studied.

The entire course is broken down into 4 parts, focused on different types of text. These 4 parts are designed to give students a wide exposure to different text types. Students can gain the ability to analyse texts critically and to present their ideas effectively.

Important features of the course:

  • Both HL and SL are offered

  • HL course involves 240 hours in class and the SL course involves 150 hours in class

  • At the HL course, students study 6 works, and in the SL course, students study 4 works

  • Through the course, students will develop the ability to critically analyse communication, becoming more aware of the relationship between texts, audience, purpose and various stylistic features

  • Works of different text types, from different time periods and from different cultural backgrounds will be studied. Ultimately, students can get a greater understand of how the context of a text can affect its meaning

  • Assessments include formal examinations, written tasks and oral examinations

More details about the higher level language and literature course

The course can be broken into 4 main parts:

  • Language in a cultural context: In this part, student will learn about audience and purpose of texts. Teachers are suggested to 60 hours to teach this part of the course

  • Language and mass communication: Student will study different forms of communication within the media landscape. Moreover, students will learn about the ideological influence of the media and how the media uses various stylistic features to achieve its purpose. Teachers are suggested to 60 hours to teach this part of the course

  • Literature (texts and contexts): in this part of the course, literature texts will be studied. In particular, students will learn about the context and stylistic devices in various texts. Teachers should use 70 hours on this part of the course

  • Literature (critical study): detailed study of literary texts will be conducted in this part of the course. Students should take 50 hours to learn this part of the course

Regarding the assessments of the course:

  • Paper 1: Accounts for 25% o the to a score. Students are required to write a comparative essay of 2 unseen texts

  • Paper 2: Accounts for 25% of the total score. Students can pick 1 question out of 6 questions to answer. The answer will need to be based on 2 works studied in part 3 of the course

  • Written tasks: Accounts for 20% of the total score. HL students re required to do 4 written tasks, each 800-1000 words

  • Individual oral commentary: 15% of the Total score. Students must give an oral commentary to an extract from a text studied in part 4 of the course

  • Further oral activity: 15% of the total score. 2 FOAS must be completed, 1 on part 1 of the course and 1 on part 2:

More details about the standard level language and literature course

Here are a detailed break down of the assessments:

  • Paper 1: Counts for 25% of the total score and involves an analysis of 2 unseen texts

  • Paper 2: Counts for 25% of the total score and involves writing essays based on works studied in part 3 of the course

  • Written task: counts for 20%. There are 3 written tasks in total. In the written task, students are required to write 800-1000 words and a rationale with 200-300 words

  • Individual oral commentary: this counts for 15% of the marks and students need to comment on an extra from a text studied in part 4 of the course

  • Further oral activity: This counts for 15% of the total score and students need to do 2 FOAs- one on each part of the course.

English B (HL/SL)

IB English language B is designed for students with some experience (around 4-6 years) with English, but who are not native. Unlike Language A, the focus of the Language B course is to help students develop fundamental English writing and oral skills to communicate in a modern context. Moreover, students will also be exposed cultures connected to the English language.

Learning objectives for English B:

  • Clear and effective communication in various situations

  • Good and accurate understanding of oral and written english in various contexts and situations

  • Understand a good range of vocabulary that are commonly used

  • Able to select and apply a register that is appropriate to the situation

  • Ability to communicate with good clarity and fluency

  • Ability the construct arguments in a convincing and coherent manner in English

  • Converse in English appropriately

  • Understand and become aware of the cultures related to English

Topics studied and course routine:

  1. Communication and media: The focus of this part of the course is on how information is transmitted in the media for various purposes, such as entertainment. Students can learn about things such as bias in media, the internet, advertisement, and sensationalism in newspapers

  2. Global issues: Current matters on the local and international level would be discussed in this part of the course. Topics such as climate change, health policies, drugs, globalisation, poverty, animal rights, free trade, income inequality, migration etc can be discussed

  3. Social relationships: In this part of the course, social issues related to how members of a communicate interact will be discussed. Examples of topics discussed are: nationalism, patriotism, minorities, marriage, relationships and religions.

  4. Health: This is an optional topic and healthy lifestyles are discussed, for example, living disorders, medicine etc are discussed

  5. Customs and traditions: Various cultural rituals will be discussed in this part of the course, including celebrations, costumes and religious events

  6. Literature: This part of the course is only required for HL students. Literary criticism is not required in the English B. However, students need to show understanding of the word in some depth. Students can choose one of the following texts:

  • Lord of the flies by William Golding

  • Animal farm by George Orwell

  • The absolutely true diary of a part time Indian by Sherman Alexie

  • Never Let me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Assessments for SL/HL students;

  • Paper 1: accounts for 25% of the total score. This exam is designed to test students’ reading comprehension skills and the extent to which they can understand a text

  • Paper 2: Account for 25 of the total score. This exam is to test students’ writing skills. Students are designed to write an essay based on one of the topics

  • Written assignment: Accounts for 20% of the score. Students are required to write a 300 word commentary on 3 texts given

  • Internal assessments: This counts for 15% of the score and there are 2 internal assessments. The first is an individual oral presentation based on an option topic. The second is a interactive oral activity based on the core syllabus.

How can our IB English tutor help boost your grade in English literature and English language and literature?

As discussed above, IB English literature involves extensive and in-depth analysis of literary texts. In order to achieve top marks for this, students need to have fundamental literary awareness and analytical skills. Moreover, they need to have effective writing skills to write a good commentary. Our IB English tutor will be focused on building up students’ analytical skills and writing skills

For IB english language and literature, it is similar to IB literature, but the texts studied are more contemporary. Thus, for our IB English language and literature course, we would use more contemporary texts as well.




How can our IB English tutor help boost your grade in English B?

IB English B requires students to have a good command of english in both speaking and writing. Our IB english tutor will focus on improving these aspects for our students


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