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Interested in learning about how to prepare for an ace the IB Diploma? Read on to discover the top tips from two recent IB students who have now gained admission to Oxford and Cornell!
As cliché as it may sound, we really can’t emphasize this point enough. The IB is full of extended projects – EE, IAs, CAS projects – that require more than just a night or week’s worth of work, no matter how good you are at cramming. Get started on these as soon as you can, because a seemingly terrible first draft or plan is infinitely better than not having one at all.
Don’t just rely on the material provided to you in class. With over 1.5 million graduates globally, online learning resources are plentiful and, usually, free. Use these resources to provide yourself with a fresh take on content. Personal recommendations include Revision Village for Maths and LitLearn for English.
Make time for one-on-one meetings with your teachers to discuss areas of difficulty or scope for academic extension. Not only will this demonstrate your passion for the subject and drive to take your learning into your own hands – which may be handy when it’s time to have references written – but it also ensures that you address any concerns as soon as they arise.
With the IB being a globally-focused curriculum, having up-to-date knowledge of world affairs is critical to your success in nearly all subjects: languages, humanities, sciences – the whole lot. Setting aside some time each day to read the news isn’t a bad place to start, even if it’s just 10 minutes in the car on the way to school.
The IB is incredibly transparent about how individual pieces of assessment contribute to your final mark, and you should bear this in mind when spending time on these tasks. For example, studying for an oral worth 10% should not come at the expense of falling behind on content for an exam worth 80% of your final mark.
Don’t wait for mocks or mid-semesters to start revising – spend 10 minutes each day, per subject, summarising what you learned in class that day. It only has to be a sentence or two, and will take less than an hour all up, but will save you heaps of time (and stress) later on.
In order to ace your exams, you need to know what the examiners want. It’s as simple as familiarising yourself with mark schemes and rubrics – do they want to see synthesis or analysis? – and looking out for key terms or lines of working required to receive the marks.
Studying gets boring. There, we said it. As passionate as you might be about a subject, things get repetitive, and boredom is a surefire way for you to lose your focus, particularly if you’re no longer learning new content. Devise new and innovative ways for you to study (such as using the Feynman Technique), and alternate between these to keep yourself engaged. Center these around different methods of expression – speaking, writing, drawing, listening, recalling – for best effect.
We’re not going to advocate for writing all your notes by hand, or to swear off the keyboard until after graduation, but try to remember that many of your exams will require you to produce content by hand, and quickly. Ensure you’re able to do so by saving the computer for your notes and choosing to complete timed work by hand.
If there’s one piece of advice you remember from this post, let it be this one: collaborate with your peers to maximise your learning and avoid the burnout by combining study and (productive) social time. Create a group study strategy that works for you, and hold each other accountable for your learning.
Need help preparing for the IB Diploma? Crimson provides online teaching and tutoring services with six years of online teaching experience, Crimson has perfected the art of engaging students through a computer screen with exceptional results. We provide support in all IB subjects including English, mathematics, the sciences, economics, history and more. More Crimson IB students score 44+ than any other tutoring company.