The International Baccalaureate Diploma is a rigorous 2 year course in which students have to take 6 core subjects, 3 at higher level, and 3 at standard level, study Theory of Knowledge, and do a 4000 word extended essay. You may have heard people complaining that they have to sacrifice their social life and sleeping time in order to finish all of the IA, EE, IOP, and other acronyms in the IB alphabet soup, but the fact that I’m writing this article and still breathing in the past 1 ½ years is a good sign that you too can survive the IB diploma.
This can’t be emphasized enough. Often times the students sacrifice their sleeping time because they have procrastinated their work until the last minute. When they find out that they have to submit an internal assessment by tomorrow, they panic and drop whatever they’re doing and get to work. This results in a piece of substandard assignment and will affect their final grades at the end of the diploma. Always try to do your work early and it is fine if it is done a week before the due date. This allows you time to proofread and make adjustments to your work before submitting them.
Organize your time well
Another important survival tool for the IB student is to organize your time well. You open up your homework diary and you see a list of tasks to do today. Prioritize those that are important. By the 2nd year, these priorities are usually for the TOK presentation and Internal Oral Commentaries instead of the Internal Assessments from Math and Sciences. Minimize your playtime on the Internet or whatever unproductive activities you do. It is ok to take a 20-minute break in-between your assignments so that you don’t overwork yourself and become exhausted.
Do work that consumes less time first
This would include your regular filling-up-the-worksheets assignments and reading through your books. When all those distractions are done you would then be able to channel your focus to the more important assignments more like your extended essay without getting preoccupied with thoughts about other assignments to do.
Start planning your Extended Essay as soon as possible
While most schools usually wait until the second half of the first year to give you a heads-up for your extended essays, it is good to start early. Consult your teachers about what arguments the extended essay wants from each subject you take. Next, choose one that you are interested in doing and then you can start preparing for your title and body for your essay and get it out of the way. You will be enjoying the view of your classmates’ reactions to their unfinished EE’s when it is the last few days before the final EE deadline whereas yours is proofread, printed, and submitted days before.
Revise and practice
If you’ve gone this far into IB and you’re beginning to worry about getting good grades, it is advisable to start revising back the first few topics and do IB questions. Ask your teachers for any past papers for you to practice on, get your teachers to mark it, and see where your grades are standing. Look back at the questions again and see where your weaknesses lie, and read through that topic. Take up tuition from a credible tuition center if you are bad at a certain subject to get your grades up.
Lastly, keep calm. 2 years is not a long time, so cherish your moments in IB. It is in the journey where things are the most exciting, not the destination. Get to love all the subjects you are studying, learn about the IB objectives and criteria in each subject, and you will do just fine.