Sl Essay

REVISED & RE-STRUCTURED

There is increasingly clear agreement as to the conventions expected for each text type specified in the Language B Subject Guide (SL list p.31; HL list p.40). So what exactly are these 'conventions' referred to in the Paper 2 Criterion C Format ? More precisely, what instructions do we give the students ... what plans do we provide them, so that they can construct something that will fly ?

This section of the website is intended for reference :

  • this page summarises the key conventions that will be expected in marking Criterion C
  • subordinate pages provide, in addition, further indicators of text type with a discussion of underlying approaches which will affect style and tone

In addition, refer to the page  Specific text type skills , which provides lists of key skills (or 'transfer goals') for each of the text types. In addition, this page shows the text types ranked in order from 'easy' to 'challenging', which should suggest a sequence in which to teach them.

UPDATE

A change in the design of the Paper 2 Marking Notes, as from May 2016 - FIVE conventions are now expected, as suggested in the lists below.

.

Links

1. click on the required text type in the list below to access the summary of conventions, on this page

2. click on the heading of each summary to access the page that covers that text type with a detailed discussion

Key conventions, listed 

Article

Blog/diary entry

Brochure, leaflet, flyer, pamphlet, advertisement

Essay (SL only)

Interview

Introduction to debate, speech, talk, presentation

News report

Official report

Proposal (HL only)

Review

Set of instructions, guidelines

Written correspondence

Discussion in the subordinate pages

The recognisable features of each text type have been organised according to two categories :-

Basic Format ... the most easily visible (and teachable) features of the text type - 'format' in the sense of layout, the physical organisation of the script

I list all of the common features that I can think of; not all of these would need to be present for the text type to be clearly recognisable.

Approach ... the less visible features of how the text type would normally be handled - register, author's voice and tone, address to audience, organisation of ideas, and so on.

I list major elements, in descending order of importance (most important, in my view, first). Again, not all of these need to be present - indeed in some cases, some of the approaches may be contradictory and would need to be selected according to the precise nature of the task.

The Basic Format elements can easily be taught and even the weakest students should be able to reproduce them. The Approach elements are intrinsically more difficult to teach, since they often involve quite sophisticated mental procedures - but surely students should be appropriately challenged with these.

Finally, note that I regularly refer to 'an exam script', in the context of defining what a 'good' version of the text type should display. This is simply being realistic - the point of this list is not primarily to teach students how to write, for example, good diaries in real life, but rather how to be able to produce a realistic version of a diary in an exam.

Relevant writing purposes

Links are provided to the most useful of the skills presented in the writing purposes section, for teaching approaches, examples and models.

* Materials & models ... blue boxes like this contain links to selected examples of each text type, elsewhere in the site

* Recent exam tasks ...pink boxes like this contain examples of how each text type has been set in Paper 2

****************

Article 

The following key features are likely to form the basis of marking for Paper 2, Criterion C:-

* will have a semi-formal to formal register

* will have a tone appropriate to task e.g. suitably serious

* will have a relevant headline/title

* will have an introduction intended to catch the readers’ attention

* will use techniques that engage and interest readers e.g. direct address

Blog, diary entry 

The following key features are likely to form the basis of marking for Paper 2, Criterion C:-

Blog

* will use a semi-formal to informal register

* will have an interesting, catchy title for the entry

* will include first person statement and/or narration

* will seek to engage the reader, eg through direct address, a lively and interesting style etc

* will have a closing statement, e.g. invitation to comment / response

Diary

* will use a generally informal register

* will include the date and/or day

* will use first person narration

* will have a closing statement to round off the entry

* will avoid self-evident explanatory phrases or sentences, e.g. will use “I saw Alicia”, not “I saw Alicia, my best friend”

Brochure, leaflet, etc 

The following key features are likely to form the basis of marking for Paper 2, Criterion C:-

* will use a semi-formal to formal register

* will have an engaging title, which attracts attention

* will have a short introduction and a conclusion

* will identify ideas with format techniques such as sub-headings, bullet points, numbering etc

* will include practical aspects of the brochure like “contact us”, or “a phone number and/or an email address”.

NOTE: Graphic design as such is not marked

Essay (SL only) 

The following key features are likely to form the basis of marking for Paper 2, Criterion C:-

* will adopt a semi-formal to formal register

* will have an appropriately serious tone

* will have a relevant title

* will use techniques that enable the reader to follow the arguments easily, e.g. methodical structure using cohesive devices

* will have a distinct introduction and conclusion

Interview 

The following key features are likely to form the basis of marking for Paper 2, Criterion C:-

Embedded

* will adopt a semi-formal to formal register

* will have a relevant headline/title

* will have an introduction and a conclusion

* will use a style aimed at involving and interesting the reader

* will refer to the interview, including direct quotations;

NOTE: interview tasks will not be a verbatim transcript

Intro to debate, speech, etc 

The following key features are likely to form the basis of marking for Paper 2, Criterion C:-

* will use a semi-formal to informal register

* will have an appropriately serious tone

* will address the audience and keep contact with them throughout (eg use of “we” and “you” etc)

* will set out to catch the audience’s attention at the beginning, and leave a clear impression at the end

* will include elements of speech rhetoric eg rhetorical questions, repetition etc.

News report 

The following key features are likely to form the basis of marking for Paper 2, Criterion C:-

* will have a semi-formal to formal register

* will use a neutral/objective style (eg presents ideas without personal opinion of the writer)

* will have a title/headline

* will have an introduction and conclusion

* will have a clearly structured layout (eg sub-headings, short brief paragraphs/sections, etc)

Official report 

The following key features are likely to form the basis of marking for Paper 2, Criterion C:-

* will adopt a semi-formal to formal register

* will use a neutral/objective style (eg presents ideas and facts plainly)

* will have a title

* will have a clearly structured layout (eg a clear introduction, sub-headings, short brief paragraphs/sections, etc)

* will have a conclusion or recommendation.

Proposal (HL only) 

The following key features are likely to form the basis of marking for Paper 2, Criterion C:-

* will be expressed in a formal register

* will use a style aimed to persuade a specified audience

* will have a title which summarises the overall subject

* will have an introduction and a conclusion

* will set out the text clearly using features such as headings, short clear paragraphs, sections identified by letters/numbers/bullets, insetting etc.

N.B.:  the proposal may be presented within the framework of a letter / email - provided the features above are present.

Review 

The following key features are likely to form the basis of marking for Paper 2, Criterion C:-

* will adopt a semi-formal register

* will use a tone and style intended to engage the reader

* will include the name of the reviewer

* will have an attractive, catchy title

* will have a short introduction and a clear conclusion

Set of instructions, guidelines 

The following key features are likely to form the basis of marking for Paper 2, Criterion C:-

* will adopt a semi-formal register

* will directly address the intended audience

* will have a clear and focused heading / title

* will include a short introduction and conclusion

* will set out the guidelines clearly, using techniques such as bullets, sub-headings, numbering, etc

Written correspondence 

The following key features are likely to form the basis of marking for Paper 2, Criterion C:-

Formal Letter

* will adopt a consistently formal register

* will adopt a suitably serious and respectful tone

* will clearly identify the recipient (by name, and/or address, and/or role/title etc.)

* will have a date (and sender’s address)

* will have opening and closing salutations

Letter to the Editor

* will adopt a semi-formal to formal register

* will adopt an appropriately serious tone

* will refer to the original article/issue raised

* will give opinions in an interesting and engaging style

* will include a greeting and a closing salutation

Email

* will adopt a consistently informal register

* will adopt a lively, engaging style, perhaps with some “youth-speak” eg “I’m good”, “Can’t wait” etc

* will maintain clear sense of address to a specific person

* will have an appropriate opening salutation

* will have an appropriate closing salutation.

*************

Graphic Organizer to Write Essays
File Size: 47 kb
File Type: doc
Download File


Step 1: Weight of essay questions on Paper 1, 2 and 3

Essays or essay-like extended-responses are usually indicated by a command term such as "discuss", "to what extent", "analyze", "evaluate", "justify", "compare and contrast". Essays or essay-like "extended responses" are expected on the following components:
  • Paper 1: section B requires an essay-like "extended response" which accounts for 15 marks out of 60. Use approximately 20-25 minutes on section B, and include annotated maps/diagrams where appropriate.
  • Paper 2: each one of the Document-Based Questionnaire (DBQ) on Paper 2 accounts for 20 marks. The last question on each DBQ is always longer and requires an essay-like "extended-response" which accounts for half the marks. Use approximately 20 minutes for each essay-like question and include annotated maps/diagrams where appropriate.
  • Paper 3 (HL only): you have one hour to answer a 2-part essay question. Use approximately 25 minutes for part A (=10 marks) and 35 minutes for part B (=15 marks), and include annotated maps/diagrams where appropriate for both part A and part B.
Essays therefore represent a significant portion of the external assessment:
  • SL: essays = 41% of the written exam (15 marks for p1 + 2x10 marks for p2)
  • HL: essays = 54% of the written exam (15 marks for p1 + 3x10 marks for p2 + 25 marks for p3)

Step 2: Expectations for top marks

According to the IB markbands, essays or extended-responses MUST display the following six elements to achieve the top marks:
  1. Well-developed answer to all or most aspects of the question (see step 3-4 below)
  2. Detailed references to a variety of specific case-studies and named examples to support the answer
  3. Appropriate and frequent use of the terminology (e.g. "carrying capacity", "time-space convergence", "distance-decay principle")
  4. Clear and well-articulated structure (see step 6 below)
  5. Well-balanced attempt at evaluation or synthesis (e.g. pros and cons, limitations, exceptions)
  6. Clear and relevant annotated maps and diagrams as often as is appropriate (see step 7)

Step 3: Understanding the keywords in the essay question

Step 6: Common essay structures in Geography

You essay must follow the structure found on the left. You can also download and use the graphic organizer found at the top of this page to help guide you in this process.

It is CRITICAL to skip lines to clearly indicate to the reader that you have an organized structure and that you are separating each part of your argument:
  • After the introduction: skip 3-4 lines
  • Between each topic: skip 1 full line
  • Before the conclusion: skip 3-4 lines
You can usually adapt one of the following structures to most essay questions. The best plan -and also the most elaborate- is often the "typological plan" since it leads to a spatial differentiation and is usually supplemented by a map which illustrates the 3rd section of the essay (geography is all about maps!). It is also a good idea to change scales (local/regional/global) and use as many diverse and specific examples as possible.


Step 7: Annotated Maps & Diagrams

Students are expected to include well‑drawn, large, relevant maps, sketches, and diagrams as often as applicable (metric scales only for maps).
  • Click here to see the list of command terms
  • Referring to: using, mentioning explicitely
  • Outcome: consequence, result
  • Benefits/costs: positive/negative outcomes
  • Pressures/conflicts: undesirable competition
  • Challenges: difficulties which may be overcome
  • Social: relates to human welfare (e.g. housing, health)
  • Cultural: relates to languages, customs, religions, moral codes
  • Political: relates to government actions
  • Demographic: relates to populations (e.g. fertility)
  • Environmental: relates to the physical environment
  • Issues: important and controversial results
  • Trend: change over time (usually on a graph)
  • Pattern: distribution in space (ie: can be mapped)
  • Process: actions or changes which occur between two parts/stages
  • Relationship: two-way interactions
  • Global scale: the entire world
  • Regional scale: large regions (e.g. Europe, Asia Pacific)
  • National scale: within one country
  • Local scale: immediate district or state

Note: "DESCRIBE" (=what?) is different from "EXPLAIN" (=why or how?)

Step 4: Interpreting the essay title

Look carefully at the essay title and carry out the following:
  1. Underline the key words in the title
  2. Use the L.I.S.T. checklist below to ensure that you give the essay title its broadest interpretation:
  • L – LOCATION (spatial context): poor/rich countries; rural/urban areas;
  • tropical/temperate; land/air/sea; marine/terrestrial/atmospheric
  • I – ISSUES (factors): positive/negative, advantages/disadvantages, costs/benefits,
  • human/physical, environmental, social, cultural, demographic, political,
  • economic, geographic
  • S – SCALE: global, regional, international, national, sub-national, local
  • T – TIME: long-term/medium-term/short-term; past/present/future; contemporary/recent/current
(note that some of the items in the L.I.S.T. may not be relevant to the essay)

Step 5: Brief introduction (3-5 lines)

A good introduction must be brief and include the following 3 elements:
  1. Define the key words of the title (e.g. "globalization", "information technology", "megacity")
  2. Formulate the question: use or rephrase the essay title, suggest possible sub-questions which may be relevant to the essay
  3. Announce the structure/plan that will be used to answer the question: however do NOT "conclude" by giving away your key arguments in the introduction. Rather, indicate the path you'll follow (e.g. "we will first examine this aspect, then evaluate this this aspect, and finally look into this aspect")
Skip 3-4 lines after the introduction so that there is no doubt for the reader that you are know beginning the body of the essay.
Assessment Plan
  1. Thesis (pros)
  2. Antithesis (cons)
  3. Synthesis (conclusion)
Thematic Plan
  1. Aspect / Theme #1
  2. Aspect / Theme #2
  3. Aspect / Theme #3
Comparative Plan
  1. Similarities
  2. Differences
  3. Correlation / Interaction
Analytical Plan
  1. Causes
  2. Consequences / Impact
  3. Limits
Typological Plan
  1. Description
  2. Factors of change
  3. Spatial typology (different types of regions, with a map if possible)
Annotated maps and diagrams are expected for any essay-like or extended response and in the Fieldwork (wherever appropriate):
  • Paper 1 - Section B
  • Paper 2 - Last question of each of the exercises
  • Paper 3 - Part A and part B
  • Fieldwork - Section 3 (analysis and treatment of data)
Annnotated maps and diagramsMUST feature the following elements:
  • Title
  • Key
  • Annotations explaining, elaborating or emphasizing particular features
  • Scale and orientation (for maps, particularly in the Fieldwork)
  • Clarity + legibility

0 comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *