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Written Task 1

English Language and

Literature SL and HL

Written Task 1
The written task 1 is an 'imaginative piece' of 8001000 words, written at home in consultation with the
teacher. It can be based on a topic or text from any
part of the course and it counts toward 20% of the
final course grade. It is accompanied by a 200-300word rationale that explains what you aim to achieve
and how you achieved it.
The task tests your ability to write a type of text
other than essay, in which you respond to a topic or
text from the course.
All (HL and SL) English Language and Literature
students must submit Written Task 1

Written Task 1
Here is a 'word
cloud' that offers
a visual
of the
description of
the written task
in the IB
Language and
Literature guide.
Words that
appear more
frequently in the
guide are
depicted in a
larger font.
Words that
appear less

Written Task 1 (in summary)

Written task 1 is for both SL and HL students.
WT1 must be between 800-1000 words. Tasks that
exceed the word count will lose 2 marks on Criterion C.
The task is accompanied by a rationale of 200-300
words, explaining which text type was chosen and why
it was chosen to meet the goals were set.
WT1 is written outside class, with teachers guidance.
Teachers may only review one draft. Teachers may not
annotate or edit this draft.
Students keep a portfolio of tasks. There is a minimum
number of tasks that must be in this portfolio. At SL
there must be 3 tasks in the portfolio.

Written Task 1
Many students lose points on written
task 1, not because they perform
poorly, but because they do not
understand the nature of the
assessment. Be sure to submit a
proposal of your WT idea to your
teacher before you write your task.

Written Task 1

Written Task 1
Defining 'imaginative piece'
There is often confusion surrounding
written task 1, because it is called the
'imaginative piece' in the IB guide.
Unfortunately, many students fail this
assignment, because their imagination
runs away from them. For clarification
here is a brief overview of what
Written Task 1 is and what it is not.

Written Task 1
What it is

What it is not

A text type -For WT1, you have to

show that you have understood the
structural and stylistic conventions of a
particular text type. In other words, if
you write a speech, it must sound like a

Creative writing -This is not your

chance to write a fantastical short story,
a hypothetical play or poem. It's not the
product of your own imagination only. It
has to reflect your understanding of the
course work.

In context -Some of the best written

task 1s take on a role or a voice. If
you're writing a letter of complaint, who
are you? If you're writing a missing
chapter to a novel, is it in the spirit of
the author?

Out of context-Poor rationales often

state: "I'm writing an opinion column
because I have a strong opinion about
this topic. It has to be plausible.
Instead, write about a current affair in
the voice of a particular columnist.

An understanding of coursework
A persuasive essay -Essays are
-There should be evidence of research penalised on Criterion B. Essays are
and study of a topic and text. For Parts different than columns or articles.
1 and 2 you have studied topics that are
based on a study of non-literary texts.

Written Task 1
A marriage of form and content
In brief, the Written Task 1 is a
marriage of form and content. You are
asked to write in a style that shows
you have understood a text type and
reflect understanding of the
coursework at the same time.

Written Task 1
Here are examples of written tasks
that have scored well and those that
have scored poorly.
These examples illustrate the points
mentioned above. What conclusions
can be drawn, based on the examples

Written Task 1
WT1s that have scored well

WT1s that have scored poorly

a personal letter as could have

been written from one character
to another.

a hypothetical journal entry of

what it is like to be a homosexual
living in Turkey.

a letter to the editor in response

to a biased article in the

a long poem about the digital

revolution and the beauty of Apple

a speech as could have been

a historical account of the
given by a character from a novel. economic crisis in the world.
a journal entry as could have
a biography of a character from a
been written by a character from a novel or play.
novel or play.
an opinion column about recent
a tabloid news article about
changes in school uniform policy.
sensational events from a play or

Written Task 1
Recommended text types
What types of texts score well as Written Task
1s? The answer to this question depends on the
course content that you are writing about. For
example, diary entries based on literary works
tend to score well, but they perform poorly
when based on a topic from Parts 1 or 2. There
are certain pitfalls that you can avoid by
selecting a text type carefully. At the same
time, you can take advantage of certain recipes
for success.

Written Task 1

PARTS 1 and 2

PARTS 3 and 4

Diary / journals

The problem:
understanding of
a topic is difficult
to demonstrate
through your
understanding of
an individual.
Yes, these can
work well.
However keep in
mind that
content matters.
Simply getting
the rhetorical
devices right is

Diary entries allow you to show

the development of a character
from a play or novel. This text
type has potential.


These also have potential,

depending on the literary work.
Is there a reason why a
character would give a speech?

Written Task 1
Opinion column

Parts 1 and 2
Warning: Columns are
not persuasive essays.
These are popular, but
results are not

Parts 3 and 4
Columns on a literary
text are not common.

News article

Challenging. The
problem is plagiarism.
Its difficult to write the
news when the news is
often used as a
stimulus source for
Parts 1 and 2.

Yes. This is often a

recipe for success.
Some events in a novel
are newsworthy.
Remember to show
your understanding
and knowledge of the
literary work.

Written Task 1

Parts 1 and 2
These can work very
well in response to an
article. Example: Mr.
Murdoch, The Sun
writes X, Y and Z
about you. What is
your response?

Parts 3 and 4
Find a reason why a
character might be
interviewed and this
text type might work.
But it is not a common

Letter to
the editor

Excellent idea. Find a

controversial article
and write one or more
responses to it from
multiple perspectives,
referring to the
language of the
original article

This is rarely an
appropriate text type
for demonstrating
ones understanding of
a literary work

Written Task 1
Personal letter

Parts 1 and 2
Not recommended.
The problem is the
hypothetical nature of
this letter. Who are
you? To whom would
you write?

Parts 3 and 4
Yes. This is a popular
recipe for success.
What would one
character say to


Challenging. Reports
on non-literary
phenomena are
written all the time,
but for different
purposes. Whos your
target audience?

Police reports on
criminal events in
literary texts have
been written by
students before
varying levels of

Written Task 1

Parts 1 and 2
Not recommended.
The problem with
brochures is their
superficial nature.
They consist of bulletpoints, short
sentences and

Parts 3 and 4
Not recommended for
the previously
mentioned reasons.

Short fiction

Not recommended. In
Parts 1 and 2 your
knowledge of a topic is
not best represented
through fictional

If you are thinking of

writing a missing
chapter from a novel,
be sure to be in the
spirit of the author, as
you are assessed on
your understanding of
the text. These are not
the most successful

Written Task 1
From the above mentioned text types, which ones
would you find easiest to write? What makes you say
As a group, select one of the text types above. What do
you know about this text type? List 4-5 defining
structural features. (A Letter Personal vs Business)
Think of Pygmalion a literary text - Which text type
would allow you to show your understanding of this
topic if you were to write a written task on it? Share
your ideas as a class.

Written Task 1 Guidelines and

The rationale
Written task 1 is accompanied by a 200300-word rationale. The rationale can
receive up to two marks for clearly
explaining and understanding the tasks
connection to the course material.
Although these marks are relatively easy
to receive, many students fail to explain
the nature of their written task clearly.

Written Task 1 Guidelines and


The Written Task

rationale answers
the examiner's

Written Task 1 Guidelines and

The writing process and the rationale
When do you write your rationale? Do you write it
before or after you have completed your task?
Should it be written in the past, present or future
tense? In order to answer these questions, you
need to understand the entire writing process,
from conceiving an idea to submitting your final
version. The figure on the next slide depicts a
typical workflow for the written task. Notice that
the rationale is a 'rewrite' of a proposal. Although
it precedes the task, it is written in the past tense.

Written Task 1 Guidelines and

Notice that
teachers can
give you a
according to
the criteria.
Teachers may
not annotate
or edit your
work. The
should be
written in
the past
tense. It
precedes the