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How to Deal with May 2021 Exam Changes

So your school was shut down, there is a virus taking over the world (with an eerie resemblance to a SciFi novel), you have lost all sense of time and space in quarantine and you feel like uncertainty is the new normal. Which curveball could possibly make things just a little more complicated? The answer is the changes in the IB syllabus for M21 :’) But don’t worry! We’ve got your back and are armed with tips and advice to deal with mental health, understanding what these changes mean and how you can maneuver your way around them. So ladies and gentlemen, please fasten your seatbelts, take a sip of water, and read through this article to know how you can get through this.

1. Dealing with uncertainty

Are you feeling overwhelmed, lost and intellectually paralyzed by the sheer volume of amendments and clauses that seem to have appeared out of nowhere? Then get out of that slump, organize your thoughts and kill the confusion. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Grab a notepad or a cute journal and pen down everything that is stressing you out.

Step 2: Then, take a new page and create a table where you put down your subjects in the higher level and standard level column.

Step 3: List out all of the assessments and components that you will have to fulfill in accordance with the new May 2021 exam syllabus.

Writing out all of your tasks, thoughts and apprehensions can help you visually plan out your syllabus and can prevent cognitive overload. Think of it as clearing the cache for your brain. Once things aren’t cluttered around, you can easily move forward.

2. The rationale behind this – how the pandemic has created a new normal which is unconventional – and how that translates to the IB system

The day I received the news, I was writing my script for my Global Politics HL presentation but within a matter of days the submission date was postponed. Furthermore, I was afraid that the engagement activity that I had spent my entire summer on was worthless now. On top of that, Paper 1 – the easiest paper which I was well versed with was no longer a part of the syllabus! All of this was enough to give me a mental breakdown. Why was everything changing when I had finally understood it?

The pandemic, however, has forced us to step outside our comfort zone and embrace changes – no matter how unconventional they seem. The IB curriculum is also affected by this. As remote learning is now the new normal, the syllabus has had to be redefined too. Understanding this rationale can help us gain a sense of control and move on.

3. Adaptability and the importance of grit

There might be situations where you feel like everything is a bit too much. Adapting to change takes time, but once you come to terms with the fact that things (including your learning) are different, you learn how to use a new perspective and to keep an open mindset. The most important way to survive the IB is still the same: hard work and perseverance

Yes, it is true that because of these May 2021 exam changes, the weightings and percentages of all other components will most likely be revised. But at the end of the day, you are here to learn and you will get better at both the familiar and the unfamiliar with nothing except practice, and the motivation to continue working hard, even in this very unideal situation. Believe in yourself and keep on going!

Written by Anoushka Hemnani and Divyanshi Raturi, who are both May 2021 IBDP candidates.

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