5 Paper 1: textual analysis (SL) / comparative commentary (HL)
25% of the final mark for the Language A: Language and Literature course is based on the Paper 1 (comparative) commentary. At SL you have 1.5 hours to write a commentary on one unseen text. At HL you have 2 hours to compare and contrast two unseen texts that are thematically connected. You are expected to show your knowledge and understanding of these texts, commenting on how context, audience and purpose help construct the text’s meaning. In brief, it tests the skills that you acquire in Parts 1 and 2 of the course, where you engage in the close reading of many non-literary texts. As with other forms of assessment, you will have to organise and articulate your ideas clearly and coherently. This chapter offers tips on how to approach the commentary and build the necessary skills for this exam.