Practice Paper 2s

What do Paper 2 exams look like? What kinds of questions appear on the Paper 2 exam? The links below shows several Paper 2-style questions. Feel free to 'make a copy' of these Google Docs and edit them for your own purposes. The documents will change continually, as the IB makes more information and past papers available. 

Practice Paper 2s
  1. Study the questions in the Practice Paper 2s. What kinds of trends and patterns do you notice? If you were to make a prediction about the kinds of questions that will appear on this year's exam, what would you predict?

  2. Compare the questions from the Practice Paper 2s to the Areas of Exploration. How are they similar or different? Check out the page on the 7 concepts from this course. How do these questions encourage you to explore these concepts?


The Practice Paper 2s consist of four questions. Actual IB Paper 2 may not be organised this way, but these practiced questions are designed to help you prepare for the following types of questions: 

  1. The first question is about a stylistic or structural feature. These types of questions lend themselves well to Criterion B: analysis and evaluation. If the feature is about 'narrative perspective', for example, you may want to write body paragraphs on related features, such as flashbacks, dialogue and characterisation. As always, connect form to meaning, while answering the question. 

  2. The second question is intentionally difficult. The IB has been known to include questions that require deeper understanding of literature and contexts. Questions about how the meaning of a work has evolved over or how the author's life has influenced the work are difficult if not impossible to answer. If you do not feel confident exploring answering these types of questions, avoid them! 

  3. The third question is often about some kind of conflict or struggle. These struggles may be between competing concepts, such as 'new' and 'old', or juxtaposed settings, like 'rural' and 'urban', or characters, such as 'men' and 'women'. As you prepare your works, consider conflict, paradox and juxtaposition. You may be able to do something with these ideas or your Paper 2 response. 

  4. The fourth question in the Practice Paper 2s relates to an abstract concept, such as justice, faith, home, wealth or identity. These may or may not be related to one of the 7 concepts from the course: identity, communication, creativity, representation, transformation, perspective or culture. Discussing literary works in relation to these concepts is good preparation for Paper 2. 


Even though you will not know the essay questions before the exam, you can still prepare for the exam. You can practice connecting works, by making diagrams like the diagram on this page. You can practice unpacking P2 questions, using activities like the one on this page. You'll notice on both pages that novels, plays and graphic novels tend to work well for Paper 2 responses, as question often ask about setting, events, characters, conflicts and other literary features of these literary forms. 

Last modified: Tuesday, 22 November 2022, 8:53 AM