Tips to Ace Your IB English Paper 1

Tips to Ace Your IB English Paper 1


Hello, IB English students! As you prepare for the Paper 1 exam, remember that practice makes perfect. This crucial exam tests a range of skills, from outlining to vocabulary building. To help you excel, I’ve compiled a list of tips and strategies based on my experience as an IB English tutor . Let's dive in!

Brainstorm and Checklist Creation

Start by looking at unseen texts and finding out what elements make a good textual analysis? Create a checklist and compare it with sample responses and the official marking notes. This will help you identify crucial elements and understand the examiner's expectations.

Imitate to Innovate

Read an exemplary guided textual analysis, then write your own on the same text. This exercise helps you internalize effective writing styles and approaches. Notice how your analysis compares in terms of ideas and language use.

Outline Crafting

Analyzing a high-quality sample, try to reverse-engineer an outline for it. What would the student’s outline have looked like? This practice sharpens your skills in organizing thoughts coherently.

Good vs. Bad Analysis Comparison

Compare a well-written textual analysis with a less effective one. Make a list of characteristics that define a successful analysis and common pitfalls to avoid. This will help you understand what elevates an analysis from good to great.

Color-Coded Highlighting Technique

Use different-colored highlighters to mark points, evidence, and analysis in a sample response. This visual method helps you see the balance and pattern in a well-structured analysis.

Tone Vocabulary Assessment

Gather all the adjectives used in a sample response to describe the texts' tone. Rank them from most to least effective and think about other words that could better capture the tone. This enhances your vocabulary and sensitivity to tonal subtleties.

Vocabulary Categorization

Read a quality response and create a table categorizing different types of words (like sequencing, expanding, contrasting, etc.). This helps you build a diverse and effective vocabulary for your own writing.

Evidence and Quotation Integration

Examine different strategies used in sample responses for embedding quotations and evidence. Understanding varied approaches improves your ability to incorporate textual evidence smoothly.


Use the official assessment criteria to evaluate a sample response. This familiarizes you with the grading rubric and helps you self-assess your work objectively.


These tips, cultivated from extensive tutoring experience, are designed to enhance your understanding and execution of textual analysis in Paper 1. Remember, consistent practice using these strategies will significantly improve your skills. Good luck, and happy writing! 📚✍️