Seniors tackle first IB exam of the year

IB English Literature 2 students take on the IOC


The time has come, IB English Literature 2 seniors have started their IOC’s (Individual Oral Commentary). It’s the first IB assessment of the year for seniors and many are looking to start things off on the right foot.

The IOC is a 20 minute long voice recorded assessment, students choose blocks of time through a school day beginning on Jan. 13 and ending on Jan. 21.

When the student arrives, they are given one of 10 poems at random from an assortment of works from Nikki Giovanni.
Students are allowed 20 minutes of preparation, where they can annotate the poem and plan what literary elements they will focus on and write out their thesis.

Next, students are escorted to a separate room where they meet their teacher. When the student settles in, the exam begins.

“I was actually very nervous about the IOC even though I had done pretty well with the practice,” senior Guinevieve Tran said.

“It’s a different setting when you’re actually facing your teaching.”

The student is supposed to discuss their assigned poem for eight minutes, talking about the main literary elements used and the authors message behind the poem.

After the time is finished, the teacher asks the student two minutes worth of questions about their assigned poem.

“Even though I was really nervous when I first got my poem, all the nerves went away once I started talking so my analysis was pretty strong,” senior Allauna Harrison said. “While studying the poem I was worried about not making the time but it was actually easy because the teachers make sure you’re over prepared and the time goes by really fast.”

After the poetry section of the IOC is over, students select a random note card which contains one of the two books read this year, Beloved by Toni Morrison or The Color of Water by James McBride.

Once selected, the teacher asks 10 minutes worth of questions about the novel, ranging from favorite characters or scenes to what literary devices the author uses.

In a relatively short amount of time, students complete one of the most major grades in their English classes and their first IB assessment.

This didn’t come without practice though, teachers and students have been prepping since the beginning of the year.

“I think prepping for the IOC was helpful because it helped me remember which elements were most dominant in each poem,” senior Zach Russell said.

Even though the IOC has gone well for many students, it is nonetheless a weight that students are glad to have lifted.

“It’s definitely not as scary as it sounds but I’m glad it’s over,” Harrison said.

The IB assessment scores for the English department are among the highest in the school consistently and students and teachers are looking to continue that trend.

From what it seems, many students have been well prepared and have impressed English teachers McClain Herman and Sasha Duran.

By doing well on the IOCs, students have taken a crucial step in wrapping up their senior year at AHS.