Time Management Tips

Time Management Differences Between Pre-IB and IB

The stories from Pre-IB and IB are usually filled with stress and horror. However, they can be debunked by becoming aware of time management strategies.

Time Management is something that all IB students, no matter where you are in your journey, can use to your advantage. Although the intensity with which one needs to manage their schedule and time does change over the years. It all starts with building a strong foundation.


This year, before the IB, is all about getting a taste of what IB life is going to be. It however comes with less pressure. It’s all about experimenting with subjects, extracurriculars, and especially time management techniques – testing out a couple of different strategies, or settling into a routine with one, it’s going to help greatly over the next few years. 

For schools that offer Pre-IB, it’s a chance for students to assimilate into the curriculum change. It is also a chance to get an idea about what IB is about. The work taught in Pre-IB differs, however, most schools focus on giving students an overall taste of what subjects will be like and pared back IB assessments. For example, I did a mini Individual Oral for English Lang + Lit – it was 8 minutes with no questions. Here all students had to use the same literary text, and had free choice of non-literary text. This matched to the actual IB IO, which is 10 minutes, with questions, and choice of any texts studied so far. This gives students an understanding of what they’ll be partaking in, in the next couple of years.

At this time in your journey, you should be starting to keep a track of assessments and dates in advance and keeping lists of homework to do.You could start to study block your time (e.g spend 1 hour on Monday working on Math, then 1 hour on Science, repeat the week after, etc).

From my personal experience, Pre-IB was more about working on homework when you got it, and assignments over the long term, rather than scheduling everything to a t.

Also, at this point, you’re still figuring out what subjects you need to spend more time on, and what classes to prioritize, so figuring that out will help a lot!


By the start of IB Y1, you should be ready to divide your time with a method of your choice;

Whether that be study-blocking your time, or studying the subjects that you had that day.

An enormously valuable way to manage your time is to plan ahead – a semester or more ahead.

Have all the dates and requirements for assignments written down, and soft deadlines to meet them. A key tip is to do content before class and use the time after to fully understand the concept. This is because chances are you won’t be coming back to that topic in class for a while. You won’t usually come back to topics in class until revision and before mock exams because of the heavy curriculum load that the subjects have. Such as, for Biology HL students, they don’t finish learning new content until just before mock exams. So the best way to manage these subjects effectively is to come back to them in your own time.

Study techniques, such as spaced repetition, should become some of your closest friends. Along with this using flashcards and completing past papers should become second nature. I know that that’s probably what every IB student says – but it does help immensely.

Overall, the main difference between Pre-IB and IB Time Management is flexibility. Pre-IB is exploring what works for you. This includes: what your favorite study methods are, and subjects and focusing on building a strong base to jump off from. IB is more about planning ahead and putting your learned skills into practice.

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