Academic CAS

How to get ahead with CAS reflections during the summer

The academic year is ending and DP2 is approaching for the first-year students in the IB Diploma Program. I am in the same boat—just finished my final exams and projects and am starting to feel the summer vibes. Summer is the best time to catch up with the work that you have to do or start some new CAS activities. There may also be some CAS activities or projects that you haven’t finished writing the reflections for. In this article, I would like to give you some advice on how to effectively get ahead with your CAS reflections during summer. 

What are CAS Reflections?

Although CAS is one of the core components of the IB Diploma Program, it is often that students easily overlook its requirements. CAS activities consist of pre-planning, creating a CAS plan, carrying out the CAS plan, gathering evidence, and finally, completing the reflections. An effective CAS reflection involves looking back at your experiences and what you learned from them. It is essential to demonstrate personal observation and awareness of your feelings and interactions, identify your achievements, evaluate your actions, and acknowledge the challenges that you had to face during the process. 

When should I write my CAS Reflections?

I would recommend you to write down a CAS reflection right away after completing an activity or the project as it will be fresh in your memory. It is very easy, especially in summer, to complete a certain activity and say “I will write the reflection later”. Do yourself a favour, write down the reflection right away and enjoy the rest of your summer. Otherwise, it is also possible to allocate about 15-20 minutes to writing a reflection per day if you find it difficult to complete the whole reflection in one sitting. This method also works for catching up with Reflections for the activities that you completed during the school time.  

In the process of activity

One of the most effective steps in documenting the CAS reflection is writing down your feelings, challenges, hardships and other important notes digitally or on paper. It will help you to structure your reflection and give you an idea of what to write. Looking at a blank page is one of the worst things, so having a prepared plan is very helpful. 

Structure your reflection

Structuring your reflection will guide your CAS supervisor throughout the text and notice important points that you made in a more organized manner. I personally divide the text into smaller chunks assigning their own sub-heading. For example, I would write: 

  1. The reason for starting a certain activity/project
  2. Hardships I had to face during the process
  3. What I learned throughout the process
  4. How can it help me to develop as a person

Questions to ask when writing the reflection

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to guide your reflection:

  1. Why did I make a certain choice?
  2. How did I feel during the process?
  3. Did I face any challenges and how did I deal with them?
  4. How did this experience reflect my personal values and passions?
  5. What did I learn about other people?
  6. What abilities, values and skills did I develop?
  7. Was I successful in completing the experience the way I envisioned it

This summer is a very good opportunity to catch up on your CAS reflections and finally finish them. I also recommend taking up new activities and trying to learn new skills. The tips demonstrated above will help you to write efficient reflections and ease the completion of CAS. 

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