Disclaimer: This article is an opinion piece from an IB graduate and does not necessarily reflect the views of IBlieve as a whole.
During my two years in the IBDP, I was also doing Spain’s national baccalaureate program (called LOMCE). The workload from both programs overwhelmed me — there came a point where I asked myself what wasn’t in exam study guides! However, my classmates and I got through it somehow. It was probably with a mix of sheer willpower, some motivation, a go-go-go mentality, and time off when remembered that self-care was a thing that exists.
Now that I’ve graduated (M20) and joined the IBlieve Community, I’ve learned about the workload others have done when they have only done the IB. Spoiler alert: it’s a lot less than what I did! They still had a stressful time and many deadlines, but they could put all their energy into one baccalaureate program. Their projects were much more broken up into manageable tasks. Their exams were purely IB-style; not a hybrid of IB and LOMCE like mine were. And that’s what it should be.
Ideally, the workload of the IB is evenly distributed throughout the two years. If you keep up with deadlines, you are unlikely to be overwhelmed by overdue work (like me or my classmates). Each school plans their syllabus differently, but usually the content is spread over a year and a half, with the remaining time given to exam prep. Since the IAs are a direct application of the content, teachers set deadlines that match their syllabus sequence.
But if you miss a deadline, it’s not the end of the world! The IBlieve Blog and Community are two great resources that can help you through your time. You can (and should) consult your teachers, families, and friends to build the support network that will help you succeed. IBDP work alone is manageable — I know I would have loved to only worry about one baccalaureate program.
And so to answer the prompt… no, the IB is not REALLY that bad. It can be a bad experience and people can have a tough time doing it; but it IS manageable in the long run!