Paper 1 Skills lo: to develop a strategy for preparing a response

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Paper 1 Skills

LO: to develop a strategy for preparing a response

What information are you given?

  • Look at the information at the end of the text. How much does it tell you about what it is and where it is from? Was it written at the same time it was published? (e.g. a love letter might have originally been written for a private audience but later collected and published in a book of famous love letters – who was the intended audience?) Is it a complete text or an extract?
  • Do you recognise the form? What do you know of its typical features? B open minded and don’t jump to conclusions here as it might be typical or do something different with it. Does it have features similar to what you have seen before (e.g. a cartoon essay would be different from a cartoon but what might you be able to hypothesise that it will do?)
  • Look at the guiding question. What clues does this give you to the form and/or its key features? What do you need to be looking for?

Note that all IB exams have 5 minutes reading time. In this time, you will be able to do all of this and possibly read your text too!

Ted Rall

  • What is the text? What is its purpose, audience and form?
  • Read the text and summarise in a sentence what the message is.
  • What features of layout and presentation does it have?
  • Use this to form an introduction and thesis.

Guiding Question: How are features of layout and presentation used to communicate a powerful message?


  • The text is a screenshot of a webpage belonging to Ted Rall who, we are told, is a political cartoonist. It contains information about the author and links to other pages related to his work, but its main focus is a three frame cartoon with caption. This particular page, written in 2009, deals with the contemporary topic of the environment. It uses satire to present a powerful and pessimistic message that humans are not seriously engaging with the climate crisis and will not do so until it is too late, since we are essentially a selfish species. Its target audience, therefore, would be people who are socially and politically engaged; they might also be of a liberal and progressive way of thinking, seeking out Rall’s work - as their beliefs align with those he presents - and using the interactive comment box to engage with other readers.


  • Aim for around 4 main points/ paragraphs. Here you might choose to focus on a different feature of presentation and layout as that focuses on the question
  • Develop each paragraph:
    • What the writer does, e.g. Uses X to do Y
    • How the writer does it: ACE
      • Author
      • Choice
      • Effect
    • Why the writer does it. Mini-conclusion to round off the point by linking back to the question and the effect achieved


  • Title of page and page links
  • Social media links
  • Cartoon heading
  • 3 frame cartoon, including text and images
  • Caption below cartoon
  • Reader’s comment box – interactive dialogue
  • Author information box
  • Subscription link
  • Graphology

Do all of these help you to answer the question? Which order would you tackle them in?



  • Bring it all together (think about all your mini-conclusions). Make a judgement about what the text has made the reader think, feel, understand.
  • You might also consider any limitations, e.g. to whom it appeals or problems with the methods used to achieve its purpose.

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