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Paper 1

Paper 1 is a task in guided textual analysis. In the Paper 1 examination, you need to read and write critically and analytically about a non-literary text (at Standard Level) or non-literary texts (at Higher Level) that you have not previously seen. The texts that you comment on in your exam are accompanied by a guiding question, and it is in this sense that the analysis is 'guided'. It is a particularly challenging task. This website has been written with the challenge in mind, to help develop your understanding of how language works, and to give you the skills and confidence necessary to structure and write a winning Paper 1 response.  

Essential Questions

The IB Diploma is the global benchmark for pre-university, post-16, High School education. Being an inquiry-driven programme, the articulation of essential questions at the forefront of any study is a prerequisite. Below you find kinds of questions that will be answered within this section of the site:
 

What critical reading skills are required to be successful in Paper 1?

To what extent must I know the features of different text types in Paper 1?

How do I structure a Paper 1 response?

How important is the guiding question in Paper 1 responses?

What does an excellent Paper 1 look like?

This section will:

  • Give you many more ideas about what is expected from you in this assessment;
  • Give you structural ideas and ideas for how to use your time wisely in the examination;
  • Show you examples of student responses, give you the opportunity to grade them and then to compare your marks with those of examiners.


  • Paper 1 - The Basics

    This page provides you with a clear and basic introduction to Paper 1, a task in guided textual analysis. Later pages provide you with tips and activities to help you develop the understandings and skills required to write winning responses...

  • Paper 1 - Writing a Guided Textual Analysis

    So much of your success in written assessment is knowing what good looks like, what is expected, and therefore how to be successful. This page helps you to gain the credit that your understanding of a previously unseen text merits.

  • Paper 1 - Sample texts and student work

    This page gives insight into the types of texts you might receive in Paper 1, and shares examples of student work to this end.

  • Paper 1 - M21 Responses

    After all of the speculation, what have the Paper 1 examinations looked like and how are they assessed? The first examinations were in May 2021, and Paper 1 contained an article from the New York Times magazine, alongside an infographic. While...

  • Paper 1 - Examination Strategy

    This page considers the question of how best to use my time during the examination for Paper 1.