IB can be challenging at times. Luckily there are always certain strategies to make the experience easier. When starting the program the list of things to complete seems endless. However, managing your time efficiently and organization can go a long way. Certain things can be completed in year 1 and certain things can only be achieved in year 2. In this article, I will discuss how to manage your tasks and allocate them throughout two years effectively to go through IB with a well-balanced routine!
Starting year 1
One of the most important questions to ask yourself at this stage would be – “What do I want to study in the future?” – if you know the answer to this question you are in the best-case scenario. As it will help you explore possible fields of interest and narrow down your options. However, if you are unsure what you want to pursue in university, you can always choose the subjects that align with your interests and passions. It will make the learning process more enjoyable for you.
As for the second most important question which is – “Where do I want to study?” – this will help you look for universities and search for their required courses accordingly. Selecting HL and SL subjects based on your future plans will save you a lot of time and credits later in university.
Certain IAs require more attention than others. Studying and understanding concepts take more time especially for Group 4 and 5 subjects, the Sciences, and Mathematics courses. This means that teachers may not be keen on starting IAs in the first year. Usually these will be pushed to year 2. What you can do to make sure you don’t leave everything for year 2 is work on the other easier IAs which require a less in-depth understanding of the subjects. Such as your Group 1 and 2 individual orals. Writing scripts is not recommended; bullet points, brainstorming, and having a solid outline will guide you more effectively than memorization. What you can do is understand your texts and research all appropriate information regarding the works you have selected. Or in the case of Group 2, practice your language skills and work on areas where you are lacking.
The extended essay might seem terrifying, but if you choose a topic of interest, you’ll undoubtedly enjoy the research. 4000 words seem like a lot to handle, but 4000 words over the course of 2 years are achievable. Create rough notes, select an idea and look for sources in year 1. If you have everything compiled you can even begin writing the essay in year 2.
TOK is divided into 2 parts. These are the essay, and the exhibition. Completing the exhibition in the first year will allow you to solely focus on the essay part in year 2. The exhibition consists of a 950 words commentary. You start by selecting a prompt from the list IB has provided. As well as a theme: you then choose 3 objects which connect to the theme and prompt and write a commentary. This can easily be completed in your first year of IB. In regards to TOK Essay, it isn’t possible to work on it earlier than the second year since titles are released in September of DP2 for most candidates.
CAS (Creativity, Activity, and Service) is a core component of the Diploma Program. It is not scored however partaking in CAS activities is a significant part of your two-year academic journey. IB is looking to create well-rounded holistic individuals and CAS is a major part of this.
CAS is something you must do throughout the two years. However, completing major projects and long-term activities in year 1 may help you carve out more time for your academics in year 2. You may choose to only partake in short to medium-length activities in the second year.
Plan your summer
The summer between year 1 and year 2 is probably the best time to complete a lot of extracurricular activities, take part in competitions, take up internships and volunteer opportunities, and work on your profile. This is also the best time to get ahead with university applications. Taking external tests e.g. SAT, and IELTS as well as writing your personal statement will ease your stress in the upcoming academic year. Year 2 will also bring forth university essay and application deadlines, your predicted grades and how you can improve them, and much more.
Additionally, tests such as the LNAT which can only be given in the same year as you are applying for university must be given in September/October (meaning at the beginning of year 2) Naturally, there will always be things you have to leave till year 2 begins, and to make that process easier, it is best to complete whatever you can in the first year.
So even though IB seems like a lot, if you organize your activities, you’ll see you don’t have to dive into everything all of a sudden. Just take it one step at a time and you will be fine!
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- Christina’s advice on how to prepare for AP and IB exams at the same time
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