What is the IB MYP?
Before taking the IB Diploma Programme (IB DP), I took part in the IB Middle Years Programme (IB MYP). The MYP is a five-year long program, typically from grade 6-10. It focuses on a curriculum incorporating 8 subject groups: Language Acquisition, Language & Literature, Individuals & Societies, Sciences, Mathematics, Arts, Design and Physical Health & Education. There is an additional subject of Interdisciplinary Unit (IDU) that incorporates a crossover between two subject groups. It also incorporates Service and Action, which encourages community involvement and personal contributions – like IBDP’s CAS requirement.
At the end of the MYP (typically in 10th grade), students conduct a year-long Personal Project. It is accompanied with a report making process, allowing students the opportunity to delve into a topic of their interest. In terms of assessments, most schools (mine included) administer and create their own tests, and thus determine their own course material. However, schools may also opt for eAssessments, which allow students to receive a certificate upon meeting the success criteria. More information on the MYP Curriculum can be found here.
Did it prepare me for IBDP?
Although this may not be the case with other MYP graduates, I personally felt that the MYP did not prepare as solid of an academic foundation for the IB DP, in comparison with other pre-IB programs such as the Cambridge IGCSE. Some of my teachers have remarked that IGCSE is perceived as more “difficult”, thus more suitable towards preparing for the IB DP’s academic rigor. Many of us in my school struggled to adapt in the first term, with the general trend being that students were experiencing a sharp drop in scores.
However, it is important to note that many students struggle in the first term of IB DP, regardless of their previous curriculum. Experiencing a drop in grades is something that many new IB DP students all over the world experience. Adjusting can be a hard and lengthy process, but as we progress through IB DP, we are often able to get back on track. Another important factor to consider is that the provision of MYP largely varies depending on your school’s MYP coordinator, thus my experience with the MYP may not necessarily reflect the actual calibre of this program in your current or intended school.
Despite my initial thoughts, the MYP does provide a great foundation for building a good work ethic, as well as solid essay writing and report making skills. The MYP Personal Project is also an excellent opportunity to delve into your interests and contribute to your community. I took on a photography journal project that not only improved my photography skills, but also allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of my community.
The report-making and documentation process that many MYP assessments require was tedious at times, but I found the overall learning experience to be very enjoyable. Overall, the IB MYP is a good and versatile curriculum that prepares the suitable learning mindset and skills for the IB DP, especially in terms of honing analytical/essay-writing skills.