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IB Exam Paper 2, Sample A


2 hours



  1. On the exam, you can only choose ONE question from the DRAMA section or the GENERAL LITERATURE section.  It is highly recommended that you choose a drama question because it will probably be more focused and easier to apply to the books you have to write about.  You may not choose a question from any other section.
  2. On this exam, you must write about 2 plays that we’ve read this semester.  Your choices are:
  • Oedipus the King
  • King Lear
  • Death of a Salesman
  • 'Master Harold' ...and the Boys
  1. Please remember author names, character names, what gender they are, and how to spell them!
  2. Take time to really understand what the question is asking you (ALL PARTS of the question).
  3. Outline or otherwise map out what you are going to write about BEFORE diving into writing your whole essay.  Do not underestimate the importance of this “planning” step.

Two hints:

Even when they don’t specifically ask you for it, IB questions expect you to include, to some extent, a discussion of “overall effect,” a.k.a. judgment of a theme.

If a questions asks you to discuss how “effectively” the work has done something, you might want to discuss that in your conclusion (depending on how much importance that request is given in the question).


Answer one essay question only.  You must base your answer on at least two of the part 3 works you have studied.  You may include in your answer a discussion of a part 2 work of the same genre if relevant.  Answers which are not based on a discussion of at least two part 3 works will not score high marks.



1.         Either

(a)       "Visual action can be as important on the stage as speech."  How far do you agree with this claim?  In your answer you should refer to two or three plays you have studied.


(b)      Compare the dramatic effectiveness of the relationship between setting and plot in two or three plays you have studied.


General Questions on Literature

5.         Either

(a)    In what ways does the concept "freedom of choice" inform your reading in any two or three works you have studied?


(b)   To what extent have you found it possible, in your consideration of literary works, to separate the individual from his or her public role?  In your answer you should refer to any two or three works you have studied.


(c)   "Fact versus fantasy; this is a clash that can have comic or tragic results."  Bearing this statement in mind explore the results of using realism and fantasy in any two or three works you have studied.


(d)   Compare how writers in your study have explored the themes of judgment and punishment, or disguise and deceit, or love and friendship, and with what effect.