Paper 2

Paper 2 is a comparative essay. In the exam, you will be asked four questions. You choose (only) one of these questions and write an academic essay. In responding to your chosen question, you compare and contrast two literary works that you have studied during your course, but without having access to those works in the exam room. You should illustrate your essay with detailed references to your studied works. This website helps you write excellent academic essays in challenging exam conditions, taking you from the planning process to the final product.

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:

On which literary works must the Paper 2 essay be based?


Does the Paper 2 essay need to be comparative, and how should it be structured?


Does the Paper 2 essay need quotations?


How do we analyse and evaluate literary works?


What literary features are required to be successful?


What does a good essay look like?

This section will:

  • Give you many more details about this assessment and what is expected of you;
  • Give you clear guidance on what it is to analyse and evaluate, and how you can show this in writing;
  • Give you advice on structuring an essay;
  • Show you samples of student work, examiners' marks, and give you the opportunity to assess work for yourself to help your understanding of what is required in the future.

  • Paper 2 - The Basics

    This page provides you with a clear and basic introduction to Paper 2, a comparative academic essay that focuses on two literary works that you have studied during your course.. Later pages provide you with tips, models, and activities to help...

  • Paper 2 - Analysis and Evaluation

    What is analysis and evaluation?

  • Paper 2 - Great Examples

    Paper 2 offers opportunities to succeed: students can study the works of literature, and prepare their skills in applying understanding to generic non-work specific questions.

  • Paper 2 - Examination Strategy

    This page considers the question of how best to use my time during the examination for Paper 2.