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Reading Comprehension [Paper 2] at a glance

Five themes



Human ingenuity

Social organization

Sharing the planet

Text A

Students respond to questions related to text. Different type of questions. Text A represents the lowest level (the easiest) text.

Text B

Students respond to questions related to text. Different type of questions. Text B represents an intermediate level of difficulty.

Text C

Students respond to questions related to text. Different type of questions. Text C represents the highest level (the hardest) text. This text C will be exactly the same text for Spanish B SL but with different questions.

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  • Receptive skills - Reading

  • Duration: 1 hour

  • Weighting: 25% - 40 marks

  • Based on the five themes

  • Three reading passages

  • Responses are assessed according to paper specific and component specific markschemes

  • Paper 2 at a glance

  • Resources

  • Samples

All the instructions and questions are in the target language and all the questions must be answered in the target language. The use of dictionaries and reference material is not permitted in the examination.

In order to complete the exercises, students will need to use a range of reading techniques such as skimming, scanning or reading for detail. They will be expected to respond to a variety of text-handling exercises, for example:

  • short-answer questions

  • table-filling exercises

  • gap-filling exercises

  • true or false exercises, with justification

  • multiple-choice questions

  • matching:

    • words from the text with synonyms, antonyms or definitions

    • summary sentences with different paragraphs of the text

    • two halves of one sentence

    • ideas or sequences with pictures

    • a person with a statement.


Students are also expected to:

  • deduce the meaning of words from their context

  • understand grammatical structures and functions in context

  • be aware of the cohesive devices/linking words that give coherence to a text

Teachers must ensure that students are able to:

• understand straightforward information that is explicitly stated

• extract key points from straightforward texts

• distinguish between key points and supporting detail in straightforward texts

• understand some details of the text

• understand some ideas implicit in the argument

• develop ways of coping with unfamiliar language and situations

• identify basic elements of conceptual understanding (audience, context, purpose, meaning, variation)

• understand the vocabulary of the instructions in examination questions

• understand and use a variety of tenses, interrogative words and pronouns. 

It is recommended that students:

• practise answering a variety of question types (students should be aware, for example, that true or false questions requiring justification need a two-part answer to gain a point)

• learn to manage their time effectively in the examination

• read all the questions carefully and answer them concisely

Clarification: Students' factual knowledge of topics within the themes will not be tested; however, it can be used to support any ideas that the student wishes to communicate.​

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