How would you best approach an oral examination such as an IOC?

To be able to fully prepare yourself, you should tackle the oral step by step. Start by making sure you have all the passages that your examiner could possibly ask you about. This may be an array of poems, short stories or passages from a book for example. You should seperate your notes on each passage into linguistic techniques, stylistic techniques, context, meaning and imagery. All of these areas should be covered during each analysis. You should start with context. Start asking yourself key question about the author, the time period, the cultural surroundings and relate these to the meaning of the passage. Do not simply reel off key facts about the author or when the passage was written. Move on, line by line meticulously analysing each line for the above mentioned criterion. Whether colour coding helps you, or highlighting or even spider diagrams, try each and find the most effective way for your revision. It is important also to look at and refer to the marking criteria to make sure you are hitting all the required marks available to you and not missing out any key areas of marking. Most importantly, stay confident. Keep concise and do not panic. It is all well and good having the knowledge but if you cannot convey this in a confident way, this will show on your recording when marked. Keep calm and reserved and try to stay focused. Never spend too long focusing on one key line. Your examiner may ask you questions at the end referring to a key line or ask for your opinions on the text. Answer them thoroughly and as in much detail as possible to show that you can think on your feet and know the text really well. Now the obvious answers: get a good nights sleep, drink lots of water and make sure you eat before your exam. 

Matthew H. IB English Language tutor, IB English Literature tutor, IB...

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