IB Experiences IB Overview Uncategorized What is IB?

Pre-IB Questions to an IB2 Student

By Chloe and Vakare

Before students enter the IB Diploma Programme they often have small glimpses into what their life for the next 2 years is going to be like. This may mainly be complaints heard in the hallways from older students or brief social media interactions with other students, and so doesn’t really give them a well-rounded view of the IB.

In a hope to provide students with more in-depth information from the viewpoint of an IB Year 2 student, we’ve conducted this interview: questions from a Pre-IB student to an IB Year 2.

We hope that this helps answer questions that Pre-IB students have, and hopefully alleviate any worries that they have about the IB – as well as debunking some common myths! 


Question: Where, for how long, and which subjects have you been studying?

I’m an Australian IB student – November ‘23 – so I did Pre-IB in 2021, and now I’m in DPY2 (and ¾ of the way through completing the DP)!

The subjects I take are:HL – English A Language and Literature, Biology and Global PoliticsSL – Environmental Systems and Society, French Ab Initio and Mathematics Applications and Interpretations.

I also completed my EE in Global Politics.


Question: Why did you choose to study in the IB –  what intrigued you about this program?

What intrigued me the most was actually the rigour of it! It’s so different from my state’s and country’s school system and curriculum, and that’s what interested me in the first place. I wanted to be more challenged with what I was learning, and also in an environment with like-minded peers.

Question: Did IB meet your expectations so far? Could you describe your overall experience with IB?

I actually didn’t have many expectations of the IB when I started, except that it would be more academically challenging than the old curriculum I was learning, and that the subjects would be interesting. So, both those expectations have been met, but – at least to me – that’s a good thing. My overall experience with the IB has had both positives and learning curves. 

Due to the IB being International, there’s so many resources online that help, and thanks to completing creativity, activity and service components in CAS, you become well-rounded.

The fact that at the end of the two years you still have to know that content that you learnt 2 years ago the same as the one 2 months ago is hard. So, this is a big learning curve that many students have to realise, but if you work on your study skills and finding what methods work for you, you’ll be recalling theories and knowledge like a pro!

Question: What is the biggest misconception of IB that you came across? Or, in contrast, were there any rumors that turned out to be true? 

I think the biggest misconceptions of the IB were around parts of the Inner Core – TOK, EE, and CAS. There were many rumours that TOK would be a confusing and difficult subject. I know that I definitely felt challenged by the subject at the start, but once you get into the learning mode of TOK it makes more sense. The subject is often branded as learning ‘how we know what we know’ and that is true, it really relies on learning about the intricacies of knowledge; in conjunction with bias, different cultural and societal influences, and ways of acquiring knowledge.

Also, there were a lot of rumours that EE would basically be the bane of my existence. Now, I can relate to how it might seem like that for students, how it’s a big long essay hanging over our heads. However, I think it’s how students manage their EE that makes everyone’s journey different. If you split it into manageable pieces and have mini-due dates along the way, as well as utilising the help that your supervisor can provide, I feel that EE is actually achievable. Plus, it provides you with a taste of what some university assignments may be, and it allows you to be the author of your own journey – you can pick whatever topic you’re interested in!

Question:  Are you happy with your subject choices? Which subject is the hardest, and which one is the most interesting?

I really love my subject choices, and I think for me it’s the perfect mix! I think that there are both pros and cons of every subject depending on one’s strengths. Biology and Global Politics both require a lot of memorisation which can make them difficult in one sense. Global Politics however is the most interesting subject to me because of the relevance to global issues today and the IA, which allows students to personally engage with politics. 

Question: IB requires students to study smarter and not harder. Could you name one learning method that effectively works for you?

Definitely active recall (coupled with spaced repetition). For ESS, I’ve created banks of flashcards that I go through every week or so, recalling information I’ve learned in class, and studying them over a long period, allowing content to change into one’s long-term memory. This also works well with every subject, like theory definitions in Global Politics, and using spaced repetition in Biology helps so much!

Question:  Is CAS efficient? Does it burden the student with even more workload and stress or does it compensate for one’s social and creative life?

I think CAS is amazing! It’s kind of like a cheat code for doing hobbies while doing the IB – for instance, I love to bake and so I bake a new recipe every week and reflect on it – so I definitely think that you can use CAS to your advantage. Due to CAS being mandatory, it allows IB students to do things they enjoy while still counting towards IB, but not having to work 24/7. Also, if you get into the habit of completing a CAS experience and reflecting on it right away, then it doesn’t become a stress and it’s really fun!

Question: If given a chance, what would you change in the IB program? Course selection model, learning values, or other?

Honestly, I think that I wouldn’t change much about the IB Programme. I like it for what it is, but I also think that one’s perception of the IB is definitely impacted by their school. I’ve been very fortunate that I was interested in and wanted to take subjects that are all taught at my school. However, I know students at other IB schools that do feel limited by the choices their school has to offer. Although, there are online platforms that can help to fill the subject gaps in schools, such as Pamoja, which teaches IB subjects online.

Question: I’m starting IB this September. How would you recommend me to prepare for future studies?

My advice would be to do some small tasks to figure out what you’re interested in, what study techniques work for you and begin your Language B studies.

Figure out what subjects you’re interested in; whether that be looking through your school’s subject selection or researching online because there are many IB resources out there. If you don’t already know what the study method that works best for you is, research some. Find a couple and try them out in the first semester of IB and see which ones work, so that you can study smarter, not harder. Start to learn a little bit of the language you’re doing for Language B. I recommend Duolingo, to get you into the mode of learning a little every day and continuing this habit throughout your language-learning journey.

Question: And finally, looking from the present perspective –  what would you tell to your past self, before starting your IB journey?

I would say, as cliche as it sounds, to not stress as much and don’t compare yourself to others. I think there was so much pressure to feel as if you should know exactly what you’re doing right from the start, to study every day and not fall behind. But, it’s ok to just find your feet. The IB is a big learning curve, throughout the whole programme, not just the first couple of months. And take breaks – especially in your first year, and take the opportunity to connect and have fun with your peers. Lastly, always remember that this isn’t a journey you have to face alone, like another myth, because you have a whole community of people to help and support you, from your friends and family to your peers and school, and even the whole IB community around the world.

You may also like…

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: