Welcome to Grade 11 IB English – What to Expect and How Young Scholarz can help you

Grade 11 and 12 IB is an exciting time as you delve deeper into the subjects you are passionate about (despite the couple of SL’s you are not so keen on!) and move closer towards your journey to university. However, the transition from IGCSE is a daunting one, not only because of the sheer volume of course content but for english in particular, the in-year assessments amounting to 50-55% of the final grade can be very stressful. 

At Young Scholarz, our aim is to guide you through the IB english courses smoothly, as we have done for the last 12 years. Shared below are responses to frequently asked questions with some pointers on how to succeed and an idea of my approach to teaching IB English.

Will I benefit from IB English tuition and what will I be taught?

  • Yes – you will definitely benefit. May 2019 results were excellent with 99% of our students scoring grade 6 and above
  • We have consistently improved predicted grade by as many as 2 points
  • You will learn strategies and techniques for effective reading and writing 
  • You will learn how to approach the assessments and score well, assuring yourself of a higher end grade 
  • You will be taught exam strategy and given timed exam practice 
  • You will receive detailed feedback on essays
  • You will learn how to effectively make literature notes from the start of the course , which will save last minute panic for exams 


The final exams are in May 2022, do I need to start studying now?

  • Yes – In order to minimise last minute panic and regret, students need to strike a good balance between post- IGCSE cruising and committed hard work to achieve the desired grades. 
  • Students taking english at SL in particular tend to cruise through the first part of grade 11 and score poorly in the first set of exams and assessments 
  • APRIL 2020 exams are VERY IMPORTANT as they form part of your predicted grades for university
  • Many students underperform for these exams as they have taken the course too lightly 
  • Assessments for english form a minimum of 50% of your final grade – you need to ensure you score highly throughout the course. Aiming for high grades only at the end of grade 12 is stressful and also not always achievable as assessments already form a base level grade 


Do I need to come for class every week?

  • No – IB is a very intense course with many associated activities and commitments. Attending any class for weekly tuition is probably not required and unsustainable 
  • IB classes for english language and literature will be conducted as 4 week blocks, which will ensure that you have the appropriate skill set to tackle assessments
  • Workshops will be spread throughout grade 11 and 12, bearing in mind that grade 12 is particularly demanding with EE’s, TOK, final Internal Assessments (IA’s), SAT/ ACT/ LNAT. UKCAT, university applications and of course final exams 


Should I focus on my Higher Level subjects and come back to english before the exams?

  • No – Keep working at english (and other languages) steadily as these are difficult to revise close to exams 
  • Practicing languages through essay writing is time consuming and difficult to achieve near exams when you are under pressure 
  •  It’s important to receive on-going feedback to improve with each assessment


Will IB english classes help to improve my SAT/ ACT score?

  • Yes – Reading and analysing well will help to understand passages quickly
  • Brainstorming and essay planning skills will help you to write well if you choose that option 
  • However, to score well in SAT/ACT exams, effective strategy and techniques are essential 
  •  You will need to attend 4-6 specific strategy classes to see a marked improvement in english reading and writing scores 


I am doing english as a Standard Level subject- is the SL english grade important if I don’t plan to study english at university?

  • Yes-Being articulate in your writing will help you to write better university essays and personal statements that will support university applications
  • All IB grades contribute to your final score, which is important for entry to UK universities; you should aim to achieve well in all subjects to maximise your score 
  • Writing well will contribute to your Theory of Knowledge (TOK) and Extended Essay (EE) grades and hence your overall grade 


Are classes solo or Group?

  • Language and literature strategy and exam practice classes for IB are held in small groups 
  • Specific literature texts are studied solo or in small groups, depending on the range of texts being studied


When should I start attending classes ?

  • Blocks of 4 week classes for IB english will start mid October 2019
  • SAT/ACT classes have already started for the October and December sittings


Please do contact me for any further information.

[email protected]

+65 8228 1164


IB Exam timetable April /May 2018

With the mock exams almost over, we begin the 13 week countdown to the April/ May IB examinations. Click the link below for  the 2018 IB exam timetable  so that and plan your revision accordingly.


  • Regular IB classes are held on Sundays 11.30am-1.30pm
  • Consistent practice of exam papers with the detailed feedback that I provide for each essay, will improve your grade and also reduce the pressure for the final exams

IB Exam Timetable April/ May 2018


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IB English Literature Classes re-starting 1st Oct 2017

How I can help you achieve an excellent grade for IB English Literature

The skill of understanding literature adds to our appreciation of a precious craft where masters have shared their insights into life with us.

Having a personal passion for this subject, I teach it to ensure that you will learn to love it as much as I do.

Read further for detailed teaching strategy, course content and how regular learning can ease final exam pressure, particularly as 55% of the grade can be achieved in year.

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Teaching English is about more than IGCSE’s and IB exams

One of my key objectives when teaching, is to inspire students to explore ideologies, culture and history through literature.

Reading is often seen as an academic chore, but I want my students to see it more as a pair of binoculars which allows them to closely observe aspects of life that they may not have experienced or even be aware of.

In this week’s grade 8/9 English Literature class, we started to read/study/analyse ‘MASTER HAROLD AND THE BOYS’, a play by Athol Fugard.

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101 Great Books To Read for College Bound Readers

Students who take tuition and classes to boost their SAT score often find improving in the English section to be the most challenging.

Prevention is better than cure and it is more beneficial to work on building comprehension and analytical skills in advance through regular, quality reading .

The College Board sets the SAT papers and recommends 101 “Great Books” to read.

I suggest that the best time to start reading  is grade 8/9, before the pressure of external examinations intensifies.

Read deeply paying attention to the following ideas rather than just plot:

  • themes
  • character development
  • authorial purpose
  • how effects have been created
  • setting
  • context

Click on the link below for a downloadable list of books. I’m sure you will find one of the great masters of literature appealing.

101 Great Books To Read for College Bound Readers

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IGCSE English Language: Narrative Writing

excite caps hat final 50 matching colourThe narrative writing task, a 1 hour component of the English Language Paper 3, is particularly  challenging as it requires multiple layers of depth.

Alongside careful planning, and timed practice of compositions, reading short stories is an invaluable way of improving writing style. For high-schoolers with limited time and attention span for reading long texts, follow the links below and read short stories.

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IB ENGLISH: Maus, By Art Spiegelman

Maus 50

The story follows the birth of his elder brother Richieu, who was poisoned by an aunt rather than face capture; how his parents were hidden by generous

poles and then betrayed to the SS as they paid to be smuggled to a safer Hungary.

listen to Art talks about the powerful sub-plot which shows the difficult relationship between father and son , and what it could be like for the child of Holocaust survivors.


Link to Radio 4 Bookclub Podcast: Maus , Art Spiegelman

A Streetcar Named Desire- Tennessee Williams

A Streetcar Named Desire- Tennessee Williams

For students, watching a theatrical version of a play may often be more valuable than watching a film.
Plays can be a closer representation of the text and allow a student to clearly see how stage directions have been actioned.
Do watch this version of A Streetcar Named Desire. How does the adaptation compare to the film linked in an earlier post?

IB ENGLISH: MAYA ANGELOU- BBC World Club Book 2002 (Podcast)

Listening to this very personal interview today, I was inspired in many ways and at first wondered whether we have to have had a significant past in order to write well.

What struck and pained me the most, was Maya Angelou reading her very powerful and hard hitting poem “BORN THAT WAY”. Raped at the age of 7 by her mother’s boyfriend, she recounted a story of observing a father’s inappropriate behaviour towards his 8 year old daughter; the mother wearing blinkers and ignoring what she could see…


Maya Angelou explained that she simply writes about what she can see and it is her courage to speak up that makes her the great writer that she is.

I think that we all do have stories that we need to tell.. speaking out is maybe the only way we can really influence change.

Do listen to this podcast …


Graphic Novels- Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

for those who have not ventured into the world of comics since childhood, a very interesting article on Persepolis- An autobiographical, graphic novel, by Marjane Satrapi, set against the backdrop of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. An interesting genre of writing as well as an alternative cultural and political perspective…a recommended read

PERSEPOLIS- by Marjane Satrapi

A Streetcar Named Desire- Tennessee Williams


For students, watching a theatrical version of a play may often be more valuable than watching a film.
Plays can be a closer representation of the text and allow a student to clearly see how stage directions have been actioned.
Do watch this version of A Streetcar Named Desire. How does the adaptation compare to the film linked in an earlier post?

Graphic Novels- The Watchmen

Graphic texts are often underrated and labelled as bumper sized comics.
Grade 12′ ers may be overwhelmed current pressure, but there is consolation in the fact that IB English language and literature courses cover an inspiring range of literature which opens valuable avenues of thought and appreciation.

Through the use of effective visual, stylistic features, Graphic novels are able to subtly convey serious messages relating to personal trauma and global struggle without the use of narrative.

Maus by Art Spiegelman addresses the long term effect of the Holocaust and Watchmen deals with similar tragedy in considering the fear and effects of the atomic bomb.If you are studying this text, do take the time to read this very informative paper.


Life of Pi and Fear

“I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unnerving ease. It begins in your mind, always … so you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.”
― Yann Martel, Life of Pi