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3 Things you need to know before starting the IBDP (Pre-IB GVS)

On August 7, we had our second Pre-IB GVS which was full of hopes, questions, and concerns. That’s why I got inspired to write this article in which I will summarize the GVS, answer your questions, and give an insight about IB as an incoming year 2 student. I hope my experience helps you live yours fully!

1. Acceptance

First thing you need to do about the IB diploma programme is to understand it really is not that bad. Your teachers, graduates from your school, or parents might try to scare you by saying ‘‘The workload is a lot.’’ or ‘You’d have to give up everything and study 7/24.’’ These are common IB myths that are used to scare you off before starting the program. My teachers used to say this to me too and after experiencing it first hand, I disagree with that sentiment wholeheartedly. 

If you want to get a good grade—like in every other academic activity—you have to work hard for it. Nobody can deny that IB needs a lot of attention but so does every other goal you have. You don’t need to give up your social life to get a 7, just arrange your life according to the needs of your subjects. In the mornings, I worked on my EE and IAs then went out with my friends and didn’t receive any bad feedback about my work: it definitely is doable! Albert goes more in-depth about these myths in this article and after reading, it’s safe to say that these two years are going to be hard but not unbearable. 

2. Preparing for the Curriculum

A lot of you asked how one can prepare for IB subjects beforehand. If I have to be honest, most of us didn’t do anything to prepare—we just confronted the inevitable when we had to. You’ll be just fine if you don’t do anything before the start but if you want to:

  • Get familiar with the syllabus: You can find IB subject-specific guides on the internet or ask your teacher for them and learn what is expected of you for these two years. Going blindfolded has never helped anyone so at least have an idea about which topics you’ll be responsible for and what an IA, EE and CAS are. 
  • Find resources: You’ll probably need more resources than your school provides you. These can be textbooks, websites, Youtube channels… Accessing these alternatives might be a good thing to do beforehand because you’d have another way of understanding the material when the method your school provides is not enough. This might save you from a lot of stress.
  • Get information from the universities: If you know what you want to major in, check what the universities require from you IB-wise. Some universities expect you to take some subjects specifically and get a grade in the range they give you. Create a spreadsheet about what you need to get in order to get accepted and be aware of what you need to do in these two years. 

Choosing subjects is also an important part of this process, and Luisa’s experience can help give you more insight!

3. Study Tips

Other than typical methods such as flashcards and mindmaps, probably all the panelists from the Pre-IB GVS will say the same thing: work IB specific! There are a lot of practice questions for ‘‘Logarithms’’ on the internet, but you won’t see anything like those when you take a paper in Math AA. This is because IB likes to be original and makes up its own way of asking questions. Maybe those questions on the internet will be beneficial for understanding the material, but it won’t get you points unless you express that knowledge in the way IB textbooks told you to do. In a math quiz of mine, I solved the question right and got 0 points, as my math teacher told me this way of solving is not in the IB curriculum. So play safe and search for ‘‘IB questions’’ or past papers.
Overall these were the ‘‘Hot Topics’’ for the August Pre-IB GVS, but if you have any more questions, I invite you to join our Community Slack and ask it in the #pre-ib channel or email us. We would love to help you! But before everything: know that you are in good hands, no matter how hard it is you’ll get through it and will end up just fine!

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