Tips for Surviving the IB


My IB graduation is just around the corner (*insert big smiley emoji here*), which I am very excited about and I could not be any prouder to say that I am an IB graduate. The IB diploma is not a program for those who used to “get by” in High School. The IB requires you to work non-stop and if you fail to do so, you will have to face bigger consequences in future. Not only does an IB student have at least 3 home works daily, they always have an essay/project or CAS going on throughout the year. Although CAS is limited to one and a half years, you will have the 4000 words extended essay, TOK presentation, and the mock exams during the rest of the year. Plus, you will have to think about what you are going to write, how you are going to research, etc. beforehand, which means all assignments have long and extensive procedures.

More about the IB from the IBO website.

Hence, I am giving you top tips that I wish someone had given me before I joined the IB/while I was doing the IB. I consider most of these crucial for everybody, so listen up:

1. Do not give the SATs in your second year because you will have to give up time for either your extended essay (EE) or IAs for SAT prep, which is not a good idea. Plus, it is important that you study for at least two months for the SATs. You might just waste money if you give the exam in your second year. For me, I thought that the SATs was much easier the second time round, but only because I had taken the test before. But I hardly got sufficient time to study; everything was an added pressure. Might as well give yourself credit by focussing on your IB tasks more rather than give yourself more work by registering for the SAT.

2. Use the time given to you between the 1st and 2nd year to the fullest. A great way to help yourself score more points on the IB is making sure that you revise and work during the summer break between the two years. You will be given a year break/summer break from May/June till August/September. I recommend starting your EE, completing CAS projects, tutoring, revising your class notes, taking the SAT, completing IAs, doing pre-study, etc. to prep for next year! Do not forget to take breaks if you need them, though. Personally, I started researching topics for my EE, and because my country was hit by a massive earthquake in 2015, our summer vacation started from April. During the break, it was very risky to leave places that were safe and travel wherever. So I had to limit my travels and stay within my community (which, thankfully was safe). I decided to research and take notes about the casualties from the community and help them through donation. This was a great time for my CAS resumé.

3. Make a to-do list or buy a planner so that you know about deadlines, extensions, assignments, and so on. If you can’t buy one atm, you can find online to-do lists. There are tons like DayViewer, Google Calendar, an app called Wunderlist, etc. Making lists can help you stay organized and SANE.

4. Finish your homework during free blocks.

5. Pack your bag the night before

6. Revise whenever possible

7. Watch movies and tv shows for English assignments: get all the info you need for English classes

8. Do not stay up all night if you can’t. You will just feel lethargic the next day.

9. Look for online courses if you have not understood topics. CrashCourse, ACDC Econ, and Khan Academy are great reference sources among others.

10. Watch Animal Planet or Discovery Channel for ESS or biology, seriously.

11. Watch TLC or Fox Life for Language classes. A huge part of learning a language is knowing and understanding cultures.

12. Keep good relations with your teachers, especially your academic counselor. It helps if he/she knows you well because that means he/she can give you better guidance and advice.

13. Keep in mind the IB learner profile and read it if you need some motivation once a while.

14. Drink 8 glasses of water every day and eat healthily.

15. Ask your teacher as many questions you like.

16. Talk to IB alumni for advice/exam tips/subject selection/extra support!

17. And lastly, embrace your journey. IB is only two years of your life, so just enjoy whatever it is that you are doing!


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