The structure of IB IO should be well-balanced and cohesive. Students should show that their chosen content succinctly relates the techniques in their sources to the themes and global issue.

Excellent commentaries are focused, ordered and well-developed. They should provide a close analysis of how language produces both meaning and effect in relation to the global issue presented in both the work (literary extract) and the text (non-literary text / extract).

We recommend students to :
Divide the commentary into 3 main parts (just like you would do in a written essay): An Introduction, the body and a conclusion.
Introduction (1 paragraph- 1 minute)
Body (Passage and Literary Body Of Work – 1 paragraph- 4 minutes): 3 features (I para per feature)
Body (Non literary passage and Body Of Work 1 paragraph- 4 minutes): 3 features (I para per feature)
Conclusion (1 paragraph- 1 minute )

What to include in the IO presentation

Both SL and HL emphasize relevance. Students should explain the content with reference to text materials and incorporate a description and personal interpretation. Doing so encourages a more methodical narrative and leads on to imaginative interpretation as a clear essay.

What to include in the IO discussion

Students should explain their ideas as actively as possible. Teachers will guide students to demonstrate understanding of their texts. Good analysis should be supportive, interesting and challenging. While it is not required to have a compare and contrast part in the IO, it is highly encouraged to include this with the conclusion. For example, if the genre differs from the text, students should be able to talk about the differences in tone and mood of the language. Make sure to integrate critical analysis into your commentary to develop your argument.

What are some examples of good IB English IO Titles

Example of a strong IB English IO title: ‘The impact of trauma on identity”
Global Issue: ‘Identity and Culture’
Sources: ‘The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald and ‘Life While You Wait’ by Wislawa Szymborska
Example of a weak IB English IO tile: ‘What is the significance of George Elliot’s use of metaphors and Scott Fitzgerald use of tone in relation to global issues?’
A strong title clearly defines the thematic scope of the exploration and relate it to the global issue. On the other hand, a weak title does not specify a theme, idea, or global issue. Although stylistic techniques will be discussed in the presentation, highlighting 2 specific techniques in the title unnecessarily restricts the analysis of the IB English IO.

Practice makes perfect

Presentations are never easy but practice makes perfect! We recommend students to select a revision buddy and peer assess your classmate’s IO and vice versa. Additionally, it is an effective way to record yourself and self assess, ask yourself how you would grade your performance and how you can improve. Before you submit, ask your teacher or tutor for feedback on your recording so you can continue to practise and improve.

If you need help preparing for your oral, QE is able to provide a consulting session to improve your oral. Do approach QE if you have further enquiries at