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First, see that philosophical quote at the start of the prompt?It’s there to spark ideas, to get the juices flowing in your brain.
Before we continue with this guide, we need to address the age-old question of how many texts should we compare and contrast in an IB English Paper 2 comparative essay?
I strongly recommend that you use only two texts for your Paper 2 exam because it is extremely difficult to deal with three texts at the same time.
Without a deep understanding, you’re dead in the water.
Here is a checklist to gauge whether you know your text well enough.
The points that you choose for your two texts are very important, in terms of how the points relate to each other and to the prompt.
The points need to have enough overlaps that similarities can be analysed, but not too much similarity because you also want to contrast differences.What ends up happening is you enter an algorithm — a set of steps, sort of like a recipe — where you repeatedly attempt to find good points for the prompt, gradually morphing them while re-defining the prompt itself, until you reach a good plan for your Paper 2 essay. Brainstorming for IB English Paper 2 is unique because it’s difficult.There are so many variables to consider, and things get complicated very quickly.Decrease the number of quotes to need to learn by making sure each of your quotes are versatile and cover multiple bases.“Gurus” suggest using flashcards to memorise things, like quotes, but I’ve never been organised enough to make them use them consistently. (phew) Instead, I memorised my quotes through repeated usage, i.e. Whenever I practised Paper 2 analysis, I used the quotes and either typed or wrote them down by hand in my essay.Practising to plan and write Paper 2 responses ensures that you practise this core trifecta of skills together, all at once.Practising past Paper 2s was the core of my IB English Paper 2 preparation schedule.There are two ways that this can be achieved: In reality, you have to morph both your texts and the prompt in order to reach a snug fit between the two.Getting to this point, which all happens during the planning stage, is the most difficult part of the Paper 2 process because it requires you to know your texts so well that you can apply the ideas in your texts to different situations.The end goal is to be able to tick off at least half of this list: As you probably know, IB English Paper 2 does not allow you to bring the texts into the exam. This makes it very important to choose and learn the best quotes. If you want to learn more about choosing great quotes, go over to our quick guide on how to choose quotes for Paper 2.If you followed the guide on how to choose quotes for Paper 2, then you know the first step is to maximise the quality of your quotes and minimise the quantity.