Paper 2: Comparative essay
Duration: 1 hour 45 minutes
Paper 2 contains four questions of a general nature, which require students to write a comparative essay referring to two works studied during the course. Students are required to answer one question only.
The format of paper 2 and the four questions are the same for both SL and HL students, and for both the language A: literature and language A: language and literature courses. The assessment criteria will also be shared by both levels and both courses.
The essay is written under examination conditions, without access to the studied works. Students will be expected to compare and contrast two of the works studied in relation to the question chosen. Attention should be paid to the relevance of the argument to the question chosen and to the appropriateness of the works selected by the student to address the question. Students are expected to make detailed reference to the works in their answer, but they are not expected to include quotations from them.
Given the open and flexible nature of the course, potentially any work studied can be used by students for paper 2. It is highly recommended, however, that students should preselect three of the works studied in preparation for this paper, either individually or in conjunction and in consultation with the teacher. This will make it more manageable for students, at the moment of the exam, to select the essay question and the two works to answer it with.
Under no circumstances can students use for paper 2 a work that has been already used for another assessment component, be it the internal assessment for both SL and HL, or the HL essay for HL.
The paper is assessed according to the assessment criteria published in this guide. The maximum mark for paper 2 is 30.