The months time between the Mock Examinations and the M18 ITGS Examinations is an intensive time for preparing students for  upcoming exams. Some starting points that may be incredibly helpful for guiding ITGS students:

The M17 ITGS Subject Report is most comprehensive in giving helpful guidelines for writing responses on papers. Even though the M17 Subject Report is long, it is well worth the many cups of coffee that it will take to go through it in detail and glean out the important points for your students. It is best read with copies of HL Paper 1 and markscheme, SL Paper 1 and markscheme, HL/SL Article, Answer booklet and markscheme and HL Paper 3 and markscheme. These can be purchased from the Follett IB Store at

Please look at the markbands for Paper 1 part c questions on the Paper 1 markscheme. It is the last page. I suggest you print off this page and ask students to read the 1-2 markband and compare it to the 7-8 markband. The common key words stand out. Similar markbands exist for Paper 3 question 3 and question 4. Often step-by-step questions are asked on Paper 1. Even though these may be bullet point responses, they still require depth and the use of ITGS terminology.

All ITGS teachers are writing teachers. It is important to teach students how to approach the question and write a well-organised structured response. Some guidelines for students:

  • Carefully reading the question (M17 tips in the subject report). Too many students do not read the question carefully and therefore do not answer what is asked.
  • Brainstorming main point with notes for their response.
  • Organising their notes in a logical sequence so that the response addresses the the question.
  • Each paragraph starts with a main statement, goes on with specific examples, explains how the main statements support the main statement, and then the student should consider the question ‘so what?’ at the end of the paragraph. It is an easy way to get student to reflect on what is important from what has been said in the paragraph
  • Use transition words (some teachers call these ‘trigger’ words) to help flow of the writing and to clearly make comparisons and contrasts. For example, ‘on the other hand’ leads to which takes the argument in a different direction. While ‘likewise’ adds another point to an argument going in the same direction. Here is a resource for ‘common’ transition words. If you look up, transition words on the internet, you will get pages and pages. It is best for students to use a reduced set that they feel comfortable with. One sample set
  • At the end, the last paragraph must answer the question asked. It is not a repeat of what has been said. It is the big ‘SO WHAT?’ that students need to formulate that provides an answer to the question asked.

Teach exam technique. Students have to keep in mind that their scripts are going to be scanned and marked on a screen. The pen should be dark ink. It should be clear where paragraphs begin and end (some students leave a blank line between paragraphs which is a very good technique.) The blank line also provides space where an examiner can leave a comment to refer back to.

Teach handwriting. If the examiner cannot read it, no marks are awarded.

There are extensive pages of guidelines for approaching Paper 1, Paper 2 and Paper 3 on ITGSopedia.