Before you sit the final Paper 2 exam, you will want to have practiced writing and assessing essays in class, using the IB assessment criteria. Self assessment, peer assessment and teacher assessment are good ways to prepare for the final exam, which will be assessed by an external examiner. If you know what examiners are looking for, you can write more effectively.
The overview of the assessment criteria have been slightly reworded from the original descriptors, which we recommend you read in the official Language A: Language and Literature guide. As you read the official descriptors, you will notice a difference between the Standard Level and Higher Level criteria. For example, whereas HL students must have an 'excellent' understanding of the texts to earn full marks for criterion A, a SL student can have a 'very good' understanding of the texts to ear full marks for criterion A. This difference in descriptors applies to all forms of external assessment. For internal assessment, descriptors all read the same.
Remember: Paper 2 is based on the Part 3 works. In this exam you must respond to one of six essay questions with regards to at least two literary works. For SL students, this means that all Part 3 works must be examined. For HL students, the third work may also be used.
Paper 2 - Essay
Criterion A - Knowledge and understanding - 5 marks
The essay demonstrates an understanding of the works and knowledge of the contexts in which they were written. The student shows how context affects interpretations of the texts.
Criterion B - Response to the question - 5 marks
A Paper 2 essay should focus on the question chosen. The implications of the exam question need to be explored in depth, and the student's response must be relevant to it.
Criterion C - Understanding of the use and effects of stylistic features - 5 marks
In the Paper 2 exam, a connection needs to be made between the author's use of stylistic features and the effect of them on his or her audience. As Paper 2 questions invite students to explore how meaning is shaped by context, answers will have to explain why authors choose for a certain genre, narrative technique or structure.
Criterion D - Organization and development- 5 marks
The essay must develop an answer to the question coherently and effectively. Topic sentences should guide the ideas of paragraphs. Illustrations should be integrated well and explanations should shed light on the subject matter.
Criterion E - Language - 5 marks
The language of the Paper 2 exam should be effective and accurate. The choice of vocabulary and use of grammar should be consistent and appropriate.
Your questions, Denise ...
1. The short answer is 'very strict' - there is no margin, and since the WA is submitted digitally, it is very easy for examiners to check (they will not read beyond the limit, which is likely to damage significantly the effect of the text). Sorry, but your student is going to HAVE to shorten.
2. I would be doubtful about this, Denise - it's an interesting idea, but I feel that the point of the WA is that it should be a dedicated, original piece of writing, not a 'copy & paste' from some other piece of text. I can't say definitively without seeing what the student proposes ... but I think it would be a very risky project (and anyway, would need justifying very well in the Rationale). Surely there will be a 'creative' way that the student can use the diary material ...?