IB English (HL and SL)

IB English Literature (HL and SL)

Course description

English A1 is a broad, literature-based course with a core of foundational English literature texts and, significantly, it encourages a real diversity of authors, including gender parity. Choices include Shakespeare, modern drama, poetry, fiction, graphic novels, song lyrics and non-fiction writing. There is also a significant element of World Literature – texts written in languages other than English and studied in translation.

IB English is challenging and thought provoking; as well as written tasks there is a fundamental emphasis on group discussion and pupil-led presentations. The courses mesh well with other IB language courses and many pupils choose to write their Extended Essay based on a literary topic. English in the 6th Form is highly stimulating and suits intellectually curious individuals who have a passion for the words that have shaped both themselves and the worlds around them.

Each IB class will read a different combination of works: 9 for SL and 13 for HL. While exploring these works, students cultivate skills and strategies needed for each examination: unseen analysis for Paper 1; a comparative essay on two texts of the pupils’ choice for Paper 2; an oral examination on a global issue in two extracts from texts of the pupils’ choice; and, for HL, a coursework essay. None of the texts are ‘set’ for a specific examination as such – students work with teachers in deciding options that would suit their particular strengths and interests across the two years.

IB English Language and Literature (Standard Level only)

We can now offer this course to a small number of pupils as IB facilitating subject (by teacher recommendation). Its main difference vs the Literature course is more emphasis on writing and oral skills than on wider reading. Writing includes a variety of forms of expression which engage with contemporary media issues, visual text and non-fiction, alongside 6 rather than 9 works of Literature. The Oral examination and Paper 2 are similar to the Literature course. Paper 1 however can feature unseen extracts from non-fiction and media, instead of the purely literary and literary non-fiction extracts in the Literature Paper 1.


To follow English A1 Literature at Higher level, you should have at least two 8s at GCSE/IGCSE (English Language and English Literature, or the equivalent offered by your current school). You should like reading and writing and be interested in finding out what both you – and great writers – have to say about the ‘big issues’ of life: love, death, the individual and society, culture (including beyond national boundaries), the struggle for personal significance and the power of the imagination. You should be motivated, enthusiastic and willing to participate.

Potential careers

The study of literature is great for developing the critical faculties, encouraging people to think for themselves, and be analytical in their responses to texts. It requires close reading, summary and evaluative skills. It also requires an empathetic approach to human relationships and dilemmas. As such, it is invaluable in any career requiring analytical thought and an ability to communicate clearly and succinctly, both in writing and in person.

Contact for further information

Ms Estella Gutulan: eg@wellingtoncollege.org.uk