Mastering the individual oral (IB)


The most daunting assessment on the IB Language B calendar and certainly the most stressful conversation in your student’s school year can be tamed… How? With this easy to prepare role play. Get your pictures ready and start your stopwatch!


  • Screen and projector
  • One paper and pencil per student
  • Two images (with a legend in the target language) related to one core units of the IB Language B
  • Online stopwatch (get a funny one here)


  1. Pair your students and ask them to sit one in front of another.
  2. Give them one piece of paper and a pencil.
  3. Ask your student to decide who will be the teacher and who will be the student.
  4. Using the projector, show one picture on the screen. Make sure your student can see both the image and the attached legend.
  5. Start the stopwatch. This is the beginning of the 10 minutes preparation time. In that time…
    • The student acting as teacher will prepare as many questions as possible related to the image/legend
    • The student will prepare his comment on the picture
  6. After the preparation time, ask the class to start the conversations. Start the stopwatch again, setting it on 10 minutes.
    • For the first minute or two, only the student acting as student should be talking, describing the image.
  7. At the end of the conversation, ask the student acting as teacher to feedback his or her student.
  8. Change roles and do it again !

Things to consider when describing an image

The first minute or two of the conversation should be used by the student to describe as much as possible of the image and comment the legend attached to it. Here are a few things to consider when describing a picture.

  • Start with a general comment: “On this picture, we see…
  • Use expressions like “foreground” and “background”, “left” and “right” and “top” and “bottom” to locate objects on the picture frame
  • Use adjective, colours, shapes, textures when doing a description
  • If describing human beings, say what they are doing, what they look like and what is their facial expression.
  • Make hypothesis using the conditional
  • Refer to the legend and comment on it. You can agree or disagree with it or wonder something about it.
  • Make a link to a topic learned in class and mention the core unit this topic was in.
  • At the end of the description, try to open up the debate and lead the conversation towards another topic.

There are tons of advices online on how to succeed the individual oral. Go have a look!

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