When I first started the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, I was scared out of my mind. It’s no secret that it has a reputation for being ‘difficult’ or ‘stressful’. However, it’s important to remember that everyone has different experiences that lead to differences in opinions. Personally, the IB was smooth for me, and although it always kept me on my toes, it was an enjoyable process that I still reminisce about. These are some of the steps I took to prepare for the IB:
To get a head start on the IB, the first thing to do is research. Find books, notes, testimonials, YouTube videos, or absolutely anything in relation to the subjects you want to do. Even if you don’t have any particular subjects in mind yet, doing some research will help you understand what you may be interested in. Something to keep in mind would be to look at subjects that are in line with the major you’d like to take in college. College programs often have prerequisites which you need to have completed in the IB. Some colleges may also grant you credits for IB subjects after you receive a certain score.
Once you’re done with your research, come up with a two-year plan. This plan should be a timeline consisting of the summer before you start the IB ‘till the day you have your last exam. Jot down pointers about when you’d like to start and end CAS, your study plan, and your goals. Keep this very brief and as you start the IB, keep adding to it! The only way to successfully get through the IB is by managing your time, keeping track of dates and deadlines, and avoiding procrastination at all costs.
3. Take care of your Health
Lastly, remember that all good things take time! Very few people start off the programme with perfect grades in all of their subjects. An advantage of doing the IB is that you get to do the same subjects over the span of two years, which gives you lots of time to work on your weaknesses and maximize your strengths to their fullest.
During the IB, when I was midway through my second year sending out university applications, I was willing to sacrifice my mental health to get grades that would allow me to get into my dream school. However, what I failed to realize was that my mental health directly affected my performance. When I was happier and less stressed, my grades were significantly higher. So before you start the IB, find something you love doing—it could be spending time with your friends, baking some cookies, or going for a run, and make sure you spend a portion of your day dedicated to doing this!