Ask yourself these questions again and again until you reach a strong set of points for your Paper 2 response.The Paper 2 Brainstorming Framework We’ve talked a lot about the skills and questions necessary to tackle an IB English Paper 2 prompt, but all of that happens during the exam itself.First, to compare and contrast effectively, you need to know your texts well enough that you can find similarities and differences in the micro-details and in the macro themes, in the characters and in the techniques.
The end goal is to be able to tick off at least half of this list: As you probably know, IB English Paper 2 does not allow you to bring the texts into the exam. This makes it very important to choose and learn the best quotes. If you want to learn more about choosing great quotes, go over to our quick guide on how to choose quotes for Paper 2.
If you followed the guide on how to choose quotes for Paper 2, then you know the first step is to maximise the quality of your quotes and minimise the quantity.
Now that we agree on how many texts to compare and contrast, let’s see how we can make the texts work together. If you want a score of 5 or below, you can simply think of two points to answer the prompt for Text 1 and two other points to answer the prompt for Text 2.
Then, slap them together into different paragraphs, regurgitate some shallow comparison and contrast, and call it a comparative essay. On the other hand, if you want a score of 6 or 7, you’ll need to use a lot more brainpower and insight.
Paper 1 is all about on-the-spot thinking and adrenaline-pumping analysis. Well, IB English Paper 2 is all of those things, plus extensive preparation. I survived Paper 2, and so have many others before you. In these 1000 to 1500 words, your task is to write a comparative essay, which — you guessed it — means comparing similarities and contrasting differences between the texts you’ve studied in class for Paper 2 (i.e., poems, novels, plays or short stories) .
All you need is a couple sprinkles of guidance from a seasoned Paper 2 veteran (ahem). With a silent but solemn hand gesture, the chief exam invigilator signals your cohort to open the test paper. Now that you understand what a Paper 2 essay involves, let’s jump into how to properly answer one of these IB English Paper 2 prompts.What can we do before Paper 2 to put ourselves in the best position?IB English Paper 2 tests skills that require a deep understanding.Decrease the number of quotes to need to learn by making sure each of your quotes are versatile and cover multiple bases.“Gurus” suggest using flashcards to memorise things, like quotes, but I’ve never been organised enough to make them use them consistently. (phew) Instead, I memorised my quotes through repeated usage, i.e. Whenever I practised Paper 2 analysis, I used the quotes and either typed or wrote them down by hand in my essay.The points that you choose for your two texts are very important, in terms of how the points relate to each other and to the prompt.The points need to have enough overlaps that similarities can be analysed, but not too much similarity because you also want to contrast differences.What ends up happening is you enter an algorithm — a set of steps, sort of like a recipe — where you repeatedly attempt to find good points for the prompt, gradually morphing them while re-defining the prompt itself, until you reach a good plan for your Paper 2 essay. Brainstorming for IB English Paper 2 is unique because it’s difficult.There are so many variables to consider, and things get complicated very quickly.Learning quotes through application beats flashcard wizardry any day of the week: Grabbing that 7 in IB English Paper 2 requires that you are solid on all three fronts.You cannot just practice each of these aspects individually.