Parent/Student Links


User login

Self-taught Literature

The IB Diploma Programme self-taught Literature course is designed for motivated, independent students to be able to access what is usually their native language and fulfil their Group 1 subject selection to achieve the IB Diploma. It also offers students who are able to access another language at a Literature or Language and Literature level to pursue an IB Bilingual Diploma.


Some of the restrictions and requirements are:

  • Students can only study self-taught Literature at Standard Level, which needs to be considered as their three Higher Level subjects will need to be chosen from the other 5 subject groups.
  • The structure of the course is the same as the other DP Literature subjects:
    • Part 1: students study two works in translation from a list of titles provided by the IB. The assessment for this is the Written Asssignment - a literary essay of 1200-1500 words based on one of the works, plus a reflective statement of 300-400 words.
    • Part 2: students conduct a detailed study on two works from different genres, chosen from a prescribed list of authors provided by the IB. The assessment is an oral commentary based on one of the two works and a list of questions provided by the IB.
    • Part 3: students study three works from the same genre, chosen from the prescribed list of authors, and assessed in paper 2 during the final examinations.
    • Part 4: students study three works from the prescribed list of authors, focussing on one of three options (the study of prose other than fiction leading to various forms of student writing, new textualities, or literature and film). An oral presentation based on two of these works is the assessment.
  • The assessment for the course is a combination of external assessment – two examinations taken during the IB examinations, one based on two passages of prose and poetry, the other based on questions around each literary genre, along with a written assignment completed by February of the final year – and oral assessments that are recorded by the school in April of the final year, based around works studied in part 2 and part 4, and sent to the IB for assessment.
  • Our Literature teachers are able to assist students in their understanding of the requirements of each section of the course, how to choose appropriate works from the prescribed lists, and how to prepare for the assessment tasks. This is best started during Grade 10 as families sometimes need to purchase books in their home country (depending on the language).
  • Although the subject is designated as “self-taught”, it is highly recommended and usual for students and their families to hire a tutor to assist throughout the two years of the course. Often these are locally based and able to meet regularly with the student during school when the class would normally be held (self-taught students have an additional study block) or after school, but it is not uncommon for students to have Skype lessons with a tutor in their home country or another location.


At SCIS we have had students study self-taught Literature in Dutch, Swedish, Italian, Russian, Japanese, German, Danish, French, and Spanish. We often have contacts with local tutors who are experienced with the IB procedures and have successfully led our students through the 2 years of the course.


Our self-taught Literature students are supported by our Literature teachers (English, Chinese, and Korean) and follow a similar set of deadlines as our Literature courses.

  • Semester 1 examinations in December of Grade 11
  • Semester 2 examinations in June of Grade 11
  • Submission of two genres studied in Part 2 in November of Grade 12
  • Semester 3 examinations in December of Grade 12
  • Submission of Written Assignment in February of Grade 12
  • Mock Examinations in March of Grade 12
  • Oral assessment (sent from the IB and conducted by the IBDP Coordinator) in April of Grade 12
  • External IBDP Examinations in May of Grade 12


Below are some documents that provide further information on the IB self-taught Literature courses.



Copyrights © 1996-2021 Shanghai Community International School