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IB Exam Paper 2, Sample B


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)       "Drama at its best investigates the problems that beset ordinary individuals."  In light of this statement consider the ways in which two or three dramatists you have studied explore the problems that affect individuals.


(b)      Compare the presentation and functions of the openings in two or three plays you have studied.


General Questions on Literature

5.         Either

(a)    "Good's good and bad's bad."  In light of this statement, examine the ways in which writers explore moral issues, with close reference to two or three words you have studied.


(b)   "If love is judged by its visible effects, it often looks more like hatred."  In light of this statement, compare the treatment of love in any two or three works you have studied.


(c)    Compare the use of contrast as a literary device in any two or three works you have studied.


(d)   Compare how writers you have studied have incorporated landscape, or celebration, or travel, and with what effect.