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Doing well at Literature in the IB Diploma Program is no mean feat. As the IBDP officially states, the aim is for students to understand the processes involved in the production and reception of literature: specifically, “the creativity of writers and readers, the nature of their interaction with their respective contexts and with literary tradition, the ways in which language can give rise to the meaning and/or effect, and the performative and transformative potential of literary creation and response.”

Students will be expected to be able to do close literary analysis – a skill that must be developed and practiced – of a range of literary texts in a number of literary forms and from different times and places.

To do well, your child must create personal interpretations of texts while considering the critical perspectives of others, exploring how these interpretations are shaped by cultural belief systems. To graduate well, your child should have honed his or her skills in interpretation, analysis, and evaluation. He or she must have developed a sensitivity to the aesthetic qualities of texts and an appreciation of how they contribute to diverse responses and open up multiple meanings.

More than that, your child will need to understand intertextuality and its implications – in other words, your child should understand the relationships between texts, cultural contexts, and local and global issues.

Studies in literature will allow students to become better listeners, speakers, readers, writers and communicators.

How we can help

The IB Literature curriculum is broad and flexible; school teachers have great control over the texts they expose your child to and the teaching methodologies they use, so every classroom may be a little different. At Prep Zone, depending on your aims, we can assist your child in one or more ways:

  1. Get ahead by regularly working on core skills (reading, understanding, analysis, and writing)
  2. Work in tandem with the IB syllabus in school so that your child is able to more fully understand and keep up with class time work and aims
  3. Coaching on school assignments – our trainers are experts at guiding your child on how to think critically and creatively. They can coach your child on potential approaches, advise on whether their ideas need tweaking, and provide expert consultations on essays.
  4. Understanding the IB scoring rubric – many students are fantastic in classwork or projects, but not the best test-takers.

What we don’t do is do the school assignment for your child. Our trainers act as guides who will course-correct and nudge students in the right direction, but the work that students produce must be fully theirs.

What you can expect

Students generally come in w a variety of aims and our course offering is flexible enough to accommodate most requests. Depending on the level your child starts at, classes with us start at level 1 and build to level 5 as follows:

  • Level 1 – Understanding the text (language interpretation and meaning)
  • Level 2 – Understanding structure and content (understanding the text as a whole)
  • Level 3 – Approaching analysis (literary techniques and devices and the way they create meaning)
  • Level 4 – Writing, language, and grammar skills (how to write a good essay)
  • Level 5 – Putting it all together (learning to successfully complete a school assignment or practice test well by displaying a thorough understanding of relationships between texts, cultural contexts, and local and global issues)

In summary, depending on your needs, literature classes with us can cover some or all of the following areas:

How we prepare

Good teachers are nearly always in a state of preparation and planning. Class time is not the only time we will dedicate to your child. Teaching a literary text is quite unlike teaching math or science which has fixed concepts that the teacher probably learnt in school. A literature text is dynamic and changing, and analytical emphasis varies alongside the ever-changing context of societal, cultural and historical understanding. The list of literary texts your child’s IB schoolteacher may choose from is vast, and it is impossible for every trainer to know all the novels used in IB studies intimately.

So, if your child is looking to begin a long-term journey of learning with us, the trainer assigned to your child will need time to do the following before we begin:

  1. Reading the text: it is not just a matter of simply reading the novel once for a surface understanding of the plot – to teach a literary novel, the trainer will need to do, at the very least, more than one close reading of the book
  2. Analysing the text: the trainer will require thinking and analysis time (she’ll need to think about meaning, literary techniques, character analysis, theme and the significance of pivotal plot moments and quotes.)
  3. Doing research and creating notes: trainers generally also do research on approaches to the text (by other teachers/schools/the IB), read essays or dissertations on literary studies of said text, and where needed, make plot, character, chapter, literary technique and quotation notes, especially with texts that can be complex or confusing.

Our trainers thus invest a significant amount of time preparing to teach an IB, MYP, A-Level or IGCSE Literature student.

What we need from you

In order to do the best we can for your child, we thus request that you plan ahead with us by giving us:

  • Advance notice of what text your child is working on (at minimum 2 weeks, or as much as you can give us)
  • Tell us in advance if there is anything specific the student needs help with or what he wants to do in class
  • Give us adequate time to look over an extended essay or other school assignments
  • Even if the book is on the list of books our trainers have read, the trainer assigned may not have worked on the text in a while and will need prep time to re-familiarise him/herself with it.

If the text your child is doing at school is not on the list of 50 or so books our trainers already have familiarity with, not to worry, we are still more than happy to prepare for individualized classes with your child. However, we may charge for some of that preparation time. In general, the total standard prep time required is 2 minutes per page multiplied by the number of pages in the book, plus an additional 2 hours of research time.

Suggested packages for IB Literature

While we do offer one-off classes for a quick consultation on an assignment or basic writing skills, we strongly encourage students to take at least a 10-hour package to get the most out of our services and expertise, especially if you want to work on all 5 skill levels as listed above.

Many of our students also take much larger packages, coming to us on a weekly basis throughout their IB journey. Students who do this see the most improvement, feel the most prepared, and tend to get the highest marks. Whatever your choice, we aim to provide you with the service offering that best suits your aims and needs.

Prep Zone really helped my daughter improve on her scores for IB Math and English Lang Lit. We started preparation early in Grade 11, and Prep Zone supported us all the way till the final IB exams. The tutors were really nice and helpful, and were also available to help my daughter after office hours if required. The feedback after every lesson was really helpful for me as a parent, since it allowed me to stay up to date as well on my daughter’s progress. She enjoyed the lessons very much, and their online lessons via Zoom were conducted very smoothly. I would really recommend Prep Zone to all students & parents!


I had no personal life in IB year 2 and spent 4 days of the week at Prep Zone for SAT, IB and university applications haha. But now I am off to Columbia and it’s been worth it. Thank you Prep Zone!! And special thanks to Michelle, my English tutor there :))


Need help with IB English Literature?

Fill in the following form to schedule an IB Literature trial class (1-hour) with Prep Zone’s IB Literature expert. Our IB course manager will get in touch with you shortly.

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

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