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IB Exam Paper 2, Sample C


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)       “Time and place are the basic elements of a play.”

In what ways does your study of two or three plays lead you to support (or modify) this generalization?


(b)      Using plays you have studied, write an essay on the presentation of the relationships between male and female characters (or between characters of the same sex), giving some idea of the dramatic effects achieved by these means.


General Questions on Literature

5.         Either

(a)    Communication between person and person, and between groups is a common problem addressed in literature.  How did works you studied deal with such matters, and how did they interest readers in them?


(b)   A playwright said of one of his characters:  “…she was a demonic character; the size of her feelings was too great to contain without the escape of madness.”

Discuss the presentation of “madness,” or mental disturbance, or very powerful feelings in works you have studied, saying what was the effect in each case.


(c)    Literature admits conflicts between good and good, as well as between good and evil.  Which two or three works would you choose to discuss to illustrate this generalization, and why might both types of conflict be important?


(d)   “Comedy injected into despair.”

How far and to what effect have you found these, or any other two apparently incompatible qualities, linked in works you have studied?  How effectively have they been presented?