Paper 1 Exam

Practice Paper

In preparation for the paper 1, you might like to have a look at last year’s HL Paper 1

Commenting on a text

Consider these ways of commenting on a text. Note that these are not ways to structure your ideas but can help you “get into” the text:

You might choose to approach the commentary by looking at one of these aspects that immediately stand out in the extract.

  • Main Idea or Themes ->supported from the text (obviously!)
  • Literary Devices -> Simile, Metaphor, symbols, motifs, personification,
  • Structure -> couplets, sonnets, stanza, prose, pentameter, rhyme scheme or rhythm
  • Character ->traits, relationships, unusual actions or dialogue
  • Setting -> aspects of the setting that are significant, mood and atmosphere.
  • Euphony and Cacophony -> assonance, dissonance, alliteration
  • Imagery ->diction and syntax

This approach tends to be treated in a linear fashion:

  1. Context: What is the text about?Where is it set?When is it set?Who is the speaker?
  2. Why has it been written? What thematic ideas underlie the text?
  3. Literary features? Simile, Metaphor, symbols, motifs, alliteration, assonance, dissonance, etc.
  4. Structure: stanzas? poetic? prose? formal or informal? sentences long or short?
  5. Vocabulary and diction: simple or complex? are some words or phrases unexpected or odd?
  6. Imagery: vivid, matter-of-fact etc.
  7. Tone and mood?
  8. Style

Adapted from English A1 Course Companion


Organising your writing

Have a look at these two essays on Donne’s “The Bait”

“The Bait” as comparison

Donne and ambivalence

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