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How do I achieve a good mark in english? ):

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I just wanna get some tips and study habits/things that I could do to achieve good marks in HL English... Prior to this year, I really loved English, wanted to strive to get great marks, focused in class (partly due to being in a class with no friends). But this year, the books seem so much more boring and difficult to understand (we finished the Educated Imagination and the Oedipus King story). Like Oedipus and the Scarlet Letter (which we're reading) uses such flowery languages that makes it difficult for me to understand and keep track of what's going on in the actual story... And alot of the times I can't concentrate reading them because of so much other things that I have to do, so I end up not really reading the books, instead I just kinda get a general idea of what the book is about through others/Sparknotes and basically on our test and seminar I bsed.

I don't want to do this anymore. I want to enjoy and UNDERSTAND English better... I want to come into class knowing that I'm right up on top of things and confident in my literature ability in the class... Like in math and chem, if I study hard enough the prior day, I can do it all, very esay to understand. But with English it seems impossible.... Help in getting good marks in English HL? I mean, people always say, oh its impossible to get a 6 or 7.. Dont even try... I'm really scared. All the IOP, IOC, and World lit papers are STRESSING me out,, even tho its all next year.

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I'm in the same position... but i've always hated english. However i think it'll be wise for you to see this (it was sent to me when i asked for help)

Check out these threads if you want more information

http://www.ibsurviva...aper-2-and-wl1/ (IAs and Papers 1 and 2)

http://www.ibsurviva...ading-ib-books/ (Reading IB books)

http://www.ibsurviva...l-presentation/ (IOP)

http://www.ibsurviva...ral-commentary/ (IOC)

Concentrate on how you approach essays because that's really important, technique usually = win

Also know which part of the exam your book is for. For instance, it's not worth concentrating too hard on your IOP books unless it's the book you want to do your IOP on because you get to pick the book. On the other hand for your IOC you need to know them all inside out because you may get any of them! etc. Target the amount your learn and the sorts of details you learn so that it matches with the part of the exam you're doing.

Keep your head up, and believe you can do it. I always thought i'd be on like a five but now after reading a bit more and trying my best to enjoy it (participating in class blah blah blah) i reckon i can get a 7 by the end of the year. Practice makes perfect :)

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For Oedipus Rex, you may want to try a similar,easier to understand version, yet equally still challenging. It's generally easier to understand compared to other versions. It's by Bantam Classics, with Sophocles as its title.


English, is, I guess, subjective, especially to your teacher. It is possible that your essays will be equally appealing, but because your teacher likes the writing style of somebody else, judges it to be better.

English isn't like Math or Chem, wherein, whatever you process, method, you do, you'll always get just one objective answer. English is subjective, once more. It depends on the reader. So, how do you improve?

Learn the style your teacher likes. When you write in the way, he/she expects of you in his/her standards, you will probably get high.

Added to that, you may want to check the 7 Writing Basics, (I don't remember exactly), but it has convention, word choice, sentence fluency, ideas, voice, etc. It might guide you in writing.


The only way to learn more of these flowery words is to read, read and read. You may want to read the dictionary, but thats just for short term. After a while, you won't remember it. Alternately, if you read and read and read, it will com naturally to you, and you will get the sense or feel of things. :D

If you want a list, you may check the College Board Website. They give you a boook list you may want to read.

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well if you didn't even read the books then how could you understand it? please read them for God's sake, especially if you're using them for IOC. even if not, you have to still read them. of course you can't do your IAs if you haven't even read your books. it's different, reading the summary of a book and actually reading the book. the latter will give you something you'll remember, making it easier for you to do the IAs.

I sometimes get that too. when I read Madame Bovary, I totally hated the book and was SO lazy to read it. so I failed my comprehensive tests even though I've read the summary in sparknotes lol.

you DO need to read those books! if you don't understand a word, look it up in a dictionary! do you discuss or read the books in class? if yes, ask your teacher about things you don't understand in the book. even if not, try to approach your teacher outside class and ask them to explain to you what it means.

I myself find it very helpful to underline dictions, imageries, idioms, etc all the things and write on the side what it means/implies or what effect it gives. and after reading each chapter, I'd keep a summary of the chapter in bullet points of what important events happened in chronological order. this will help you a lot with IOC and paper 2. do read the sparknotes if you want to crosscheck your findings.

lastly, you have to LOVE this subject. you should appreciate literature. if you don't even like it, well I think you'll find it difficult to enjoy lit and you won't even read the books. doing something that you love will make it much easier than it seems to be. well, because you love it. so try to give literature some love and just enjoy it, maybe you'll be more interested to read etc.

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