The short answer is no. Extracurricular activities are an integral part of the IB, as the program challenges students to become more well-rounded and pursue their interests. The CAS (Creativity, Action and Service) component of the IB actually requires students to engage in extracurriculars. I have found that if I am dedicating time to clubs I’m part of, whether they be sports, music, writing, or service clubs, I actually perform better in my IB classes. Extracurriculars promote a sense of balance and community. Without it, the IB would be much more monotonous and draining. These activities may even become lifelong passions or something you pursue beyond high school!
One example I can give is my experience travelling for THIMUN Singapore. It was a week-long trip during my first IB year. I was quite stressed to miss an entire week of school. However, I was determined to have a fulfilling THIMUN experience without worrying too much about the IB! So I did additional work beforehand, met with teachers, and organised all my work in anticipation for that week. I worked hard before I left so I wouldn’t have to stay up late and work while I was in Singapore. When I returned to school, I had to make up for tests and attend tutorials frequently. However, since I had communicated with my teachers ahead of time, I was able to get extensions and still get good grades on my tests!
Another example of mine was balancing badminton season with the stress of IB. I have been a varsity athlete since Grade 9 and have been fortunate enough to compete in several regional tournaments. Training 3 times a week during the season and travelling for 5 days to compete was stressful. I remember staying up late the night before my IASAS tournament in Jakarta to cram my chemistry IA! These moments do happen, but if you make sure to manage your time and get work done, everything will go more smoothly. As I mentioned earlier, you should talk to your teachers beforehand to see if you can get any extensions. Write down all your work in your planner too, so that you don’t forget anything!
Just like I tried to do, you can balance extracurriculars and academics by managing your time well so that you can have ample time to devote to both! Use a planner, talk to your teachers, and prioritize activities you are passionate about.