Individual Oral Commentary

Internal assessment details—SL and HL

Individual oral commentary

Weighting: 15%

  • Students are required to engage in a critical examination of a particular extract drawn from a work that has been studied in part 4 of the language A: language and literature course. The individual oral commentary allows students to analyse the relationship between formal elements and meaning in a particular literary text.
  • The nature and emphasis of the commentary requires students to undertake a literary analysis of the extract chosen. In all cases, the student should aim to explore significant aspects of the extract, showing knowledge and understanding of the extract and its use and effects of literary features. A recording of the individual oral commentary is sent to the IB for external moderation. The maximum mark for the commentary is 30.

Choice of extract

  • The teacher is entirely responsible for the choice of extract. Students must not be allowed to choose the extract itself nor the work from which it is taken.
  • For a group of students, SL or HL, texts must be taken from all the works studied in part 4. Students must not know in advance on which text they will be asked to comment.
  • The text for commentary should not exceed 40 lines. It must be rich in detail to allow for a thorough examination that can be assessed using the criteria.In the case of poetry, teachers should choose a single complete poem or a substantial extract from a long poem. The poem chosen should be of comparable difficulty to those selected from works of other genres.


  • The individual oral commentary should last 15 minutes.
  • The preparation time is a maximum of 20 minutes.
  • The individual oral commentary should not be done until all works in part 4 have been studied. Students should be given adequate notice of when the commentary is to take place and should be informed of the practical arrangements.
  • Recordings of the individual oral commentary are required for the purposes of external moderation.
  • Procedures for the despatch of the recordings are provided each year in the Handbook of procedures for the Diploma Programme.