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Cracking the IB



Worried about acing the IB?

International Baccalaureate or also known as IB Diploma is one of the most rigorous curriculum’s of the world. It poses lot of difficulties for students. From numerous assignments, tests to Extended Essays and Internal Assessments. There is never a time when IB students are not preparing for an exam or working on a project/assignment.

I shifted from CBSE to IB in 11th grade and this was extremely challenging. Balancing CAS along with academics, managing time between my HL and SL subjects while preparing for upcoming exams was extremely arduous in the beginning with so many deadlines to meet.

Here are few tips to make IB a little easier for current and future students:

  • Make sure to set realistic time management goals. Study for 3 hours but utilize that time genuinely and then take a break for few minutes. Ideally it is good to take a break every 2 hours so as to absorb what you have read before starting a new chapter or continuing with the same as before.
  • Choose your Higher Level subjects wisely. It is advisable not to choose three tough HL subjects. This is will affect your grade and consume most of your time for studying. Example you could take one/two out of three tough HL subjects.
  • The summer before 11th grade, take help from a senior and go through first few chapters/topics of your six chosen subjects. Start thinking about your Extended Essay subjects. Which subject are you most passionate about? Is it biology? Is it computer science? Do not worry if others say the subject is too tough because what matters is your passion. When I chose Mathematics as my EE subject, many teachers advised that I should change it as it would put too much pressure on me. On the contrary I enjoyed writing my EE and it was one of the best ones at my school.
  • Use your breaks in doing your CAS activities. They are the best times to volunteer at orphanages, launch your initiative, participate in charity events etc. Additionally, make use of your breaks to think about possible Internal Assessment topics. Discuss regarding IA’s with your seniors. To improve in English, read novels. Request your English teacher to give a list of novels which could improve your critical thinking and analyzing skills.
  • Do not wait for the IB board exams to practice from past papers. As soon as teachers finish a topic in a subject, practice questions related to the topic from past papers. They are excellent sources to prepare you for the final exam.
  • Work on your mistakes from the beginning. Exams, class tests and assignments are opportunities to learn from your mistakes. Take help from teachers or friends. Clarify your doubts if you have any. Set aside at least an hour a day to improve your weakness. Most importantly, Start Early!
  • Do not panic when asked to meet too many deadlines to meet. Speak with your parents or teachers to help you create a schedule following which you can complete all your assignments on time qualitatively.

Do not establish a perception that IB is tough, too difficult, unmanageable etc. Rather perceive it as an opportunity to grow holistically. Personally I would say that it is because of IB I discovered my critical thinking skills. I realized that I love research work and that I could write research paper. Moreover, I went on to start my initiative ‘Help a Child Now’. We all know that each of us have a special talent within us. It is IB that provides you the platform identity, nurture and bring out this talent within you. Remember to start early!

About the Author

Priyanka Mishra -from TISB, Bangalore,  is taking a gap year to explore her interests and herself. She has published 3 research papers and is excited to start college in the Fall. She already has many college offers to choose from. She is an Ivy Aspire student