What are the differences between the IB Literature and Language and Literature courses?

Choosing your IB subjects can be nerve-wracking. Choosing which English course to take can be equally stressful and confusing. Here are a few things you need to know about the two courses: Language and Literature (Lang/Lit) and Literature (Lit).

Focus

In Lit, you will focus solely on literary texts, while both fiction and non-fiction are studied in Lang/Lit. If you take Lit, you will be studying canonical literature such as Macbeth. In short, you will be exploring the nature of literature and learning to do literary criticism. In Lang/Lit, you will be exploring the nature of language. As such, you will be studying a broad range of texts, including advertisements.

Works studied in SL and HL

Now that you understand the main difference between the two courses, let’s look at the table for the summarized distinctions between works studied in SL and HL.

Lang/Lit

WorksSLHL
Works in translation (from a prescribed list of translated texts [PLT])One textTwo texts
Works originally written in the language studied (from a prescribed list of authors [PLA])One textTwo texts
Texts chosen from a variety of genre, source, mediaTwo textsTwo texts
Total texts studied:Four TextsSix Texts

Literature

WorksSLHL
Works in translation (PLT)Three textFour texts
Works originally written in the language studied (PLA)Four textsFive texts
Texts chosen from a variety of genre, source, mediaTwo textsFour texts
Total texts studied:Nine TextsThirteen Texts

Assessment at a glance for both SL and HL

From the summarized table below, it is clear that both subjects follow very similar assessment formats.

Lang/Lit

ExternalFormatSL (%)HL (%)
Paper 1Written analysis of unseen non-literary texts3535
Paper 2Respond to one out of four questions, writing a comparative essay based on two literary works studied3525
HL Essay1200-1500 word essay on one literary/non-literary work studied-20

InternalFormatSL (%)HL (%)
Individual Oral (IO)Oral response on one literary work and one non-literary text. The work and text selected must have a clear connection with the global issue.3020

Literature

ExternalFormatSL (%)HL (%)
Paper 1Written analysis of two unseen literary texts. One is always a poem and the other is a prose extract from a novel or short story.3535
Paper 2Respond to one out of four questions, writing a comparative essay based on two literary works studied.3525
HL Essay1200-1500 word essay on one work studied.-20

InternalFormatSL (%)HL (%)
Individual Oral (IO)Oral response on one work originally written in the language studied and one work studied in translation. The work selected must have a clear connection with the global issue.3020

Similarities:

  • Expectations of language usage, of level of analysis and of critical reflection are the same across the two courses.
  • Both subjects focus on exploring language in cultural contexts.
  • Both courses use similar assessments.

So, how do you choose which English subjects to take? Well, it really depends on your preference. Remember, you will be enrolled in this course for two years, so you need to choose the course that you’ll enjoy. That being said, you need to also analyse your strengths and weaknesses. You may enjoy exploring language in general, but you could be better at analysing literary texts. You may not necessarily enjoy it, but it’s just something that you’re really good at. Ultimately, they are both IB subjects, and regardless of which subject you choose, you’ll have to put in the effort and work hard to do well.

Need help with IB Lang & Lit / Lit?

Fill in the following form to schedule a free IB Language & Literature / Literature trial class with us. Our IB course manager will get in touch with you in the next 48 hours.

For further inquiries, contact us at +65 6812 9999.

-
-

By submitting this form, I agree to Prep Zone Academy’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Michelle S.

Michelle S.

Michelle is an experienced English Language Trainer. Prior to joining Prep Zone, Michelle taught in Inti International College, Malaysia. She has been teaching English to foreign learners for over ten years. Her background includes teaching Technical English, Writing Skills, Public Speaking, IELTS, TOEFL, IGCSE, IB and GCSE O/A-Level.

Start Chat
1
💬 Send message on WhatsApp
Hello there, how can we help you today? 🔆