How to Prepare for IB

Dawn, Year 12, Century Park Campus

As the past summer came to an end, I got more and more excited for Year 12 and my time studying IB to start. A new form teacher, the IB lounge, and free periods! I am eager to have an excellent two years of IB ahead, and I have set some huge goals I am confident I can achieve. And so, I started preparing for IB, and here’s some advice for you about how to prepare for IB, too:

First, I strongly advise that you also keep up the habit of doing a bit of work every day during the summer before IB begins. This past summer, I registered for an SAT class to prepare for the exam in October. Since the class assigned homework every day, I developed the habit of doing my homework as soon as I got home.

Second, reading a lot of books is always a good idea, so you should buy some from your home country or if you’re travelling over holidays. Even reading just magazine articles will help you increase your background knowledge. In preparation for the SAT essay, we need a lot of background knowledge to back up our points, so in order to help with this I searched and bought many classic works of literature, including Hamlet by Shakespeare, The Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway, and The Scarlet Letter by Hawthorne.

Third, I knew from experience that going through the textbook and course outline in advance would help a lot in preparing for IB, and so I got my Biology book before the start of summer. It was exciting, knowing that I would finally be able to specialise in a subject I loved more than anything, and I probably finished the whole textbook in a few hours (bear in mind that it’s as thick as a dictionary)! I believe that reading a textbook and class materials before school starts, if possible, will help you understand and prepare for what’s about to come. Since I’m now already somewhat familiar in the topic, I am able to use my time in class to ask my teachers more in-depth questions.

Fourth, be sure to look for a skill to learn and organisations where you can do some charity work. Creativity, Service and Action (CAS) is very important in IB, and after school starts it can be a challenge to spare the time to search for CAS opportunities.

Fifth, and most importantly, prepare for your Extended Essay (EE) and your CAS project. Once IB starts it’s much easier if you already have a faint idea of what you’re going to do for your CAS project and your extended essay. Then you can finish them in the first year and focus your last year on studying for the exams. 

Lest I forget, buy some mugs, tea bags, instant coffee, and snacks to have on hand while you study (we have a fridge and a microwave in the IB lounge). These will help keep you motivated and productive during your free periods in IB.

And last, I wish everyone in IB (and studying at other levels) good luck!

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