Individual oral FAQs

Here are some of the common questions that people ask about the individual oral. Answers to these questions have been derived from various teacher workshops, workshop-leader training sessions and the IB's own FAQ sheet.

The non-literary extract should come from a non-literary 'body of work'. A body of work is defined as a longer text or series of shorter texts by the same author. In the case of literary 'works' a passage from a play or novel suffices. A poem from a collection of poems by the same author suffices. A print advertisement from an advertising campaign, by the same advertsing agency or brand suffices as a 'body of work'. 

In the individual oral students must comment on how the global issue is presented by the author in the extracts and the work and body of work from which they were taken. In practice, there is not much time to do this during the oral. But there should be a balance between extract 1, the work from which it was taken, and extract 2 and the body of work from which it was taken.

Yes, provided that they have been 'professionally translated'.

Always non-literary Grey-area, use your professional judgment Always literary
music videos
feature films
comic strips
social media postings
non-fiction articles
magazine covers
song lyrics
graphic novels
feature-film scripts 

If the student stops speaking before the 10th minute, then the teacher can start asking questions to initiate further delivery of the IO. Failure to speak for 10 minutes can have a negative effect on the student's assessment on various criteria. The 5-minute discussion may be initiated by the teacher or student in the 10th minute. Moderators and teachers may not consider any ideas that are presented after the 15th minute of the IO. For these reasons it is good to have a clock visible for both the student and the teacher.

Any combination of texts and global issues that is delivered as a 'mock' oral or as a classroom presentation is off-limits for the final individual oral. It is recommended that students listen to other (student) performances and perform at least one mock before the final IO. Students from the same class should not prepare the same extracts and issues, to ensure originality and to avoid plagiarism. The IO is an exam, and must be treated as such. Teachers should not submit the best recording of several, but rather the final recording from the exam.   

Extracts may be shorter than the 40-line limit. Extracts that exceed 40 lines by one or two lines in order to include a text in its entirety, such as a poem, are permissible. Keep in mind that students only have 5 minutes per text. Depending on the richness of the extract, 40 lines may be longer than necessary for the purposes of this oral.

If students are exploring multi-modal texts, such as commercials or documentaries, then the student should include stills (or screen shots) and corresponding script from the scenes that they want to explore on the documents that they submit for their oral. Although there is no specified number of pages for these stills or number of lines for the transcript, students should keep the extract within reason for a 5-minute talk on it.

Yes. Students are not allowed to use ellipsis or combine multiple extracts from a body of work. Instead, they can use one continuous extract to refer to other parts from the body of work.

There is no one prescribed method for tackling the individual oral. Although both texts should be connected to the global issue, it is not a comparative task. A text-by-text approach, which spends 5 minutes on each text, is appropriate. If students compare the texts in relation to the global issue, they will not be penalised.

Then it's off limits for the individual oral (IO). Mocks are excellent ways to practice for your IO. But all extracts from a literary work or non-literay body of work become off limits for the actual IO, if you have spoken about that work or BOW in a mock before.

Last modified: Wednesday, 27 May 2020, 1:50 PM