For many of you, exams ended last month and you’ve unleashed yourself from academia for now. Going on a long holiday with family or friends is most needed at this stage, and if you’ve enrolled for a summer programme then you’ve already set yourself up for a productive vacation. Although there are many students who opt for AS and A levels post IGCSE, a huge cohort drifts towards IB in order to get into international universities/Ivies. Transitioning to IB is a process that requires some preparation and awareness.

But first, what is this blogpost about? It’s perhaps a little reality check to ruin the holidays before they begin completely. No, we wouldn’t want to do that! We’re just trying to help ease things out so that when college begins you’re ready with the ammo and prepared to go…

Coming back to the topic, here are some student-approved ways in which you can prep for IB in advance:

  1. Choose your subjects well

Which subjects are you looking at? What are your career goals? Are you set with them, or would you like to test the waters? Choose your subjects wisely, making sure that they align with your long-term career goals. If you haven’t yet decided on what career you want to pursue, don’t worry! You’re still young and have a long journey ahead. But, you should choose subjects based on your interests and then weigh out your options before college admission begins. Meanwhile, don’t do your IB simply for college credit! Focus on the subjects where you know you’d fare well, and not the ones where you’re only thinking about the credit it comes with. Passion trumps fashion.

  1.  Pay special attention to research-based projects like the EE

Other than the six IB DP subjects, you also have to prepare for the DP Core which includes EE, ToK, and CAS. Research-based components like the EE and ToK are crucial to adding extra points to your overall IB score, and the Extended Essay has a minimum word count of 4000 words. But, you must not be intimated by the huge number! The monstrosity can be overwhelming and you might want to take a break from it. But once you begin it, you must not leave it halfway. Having to rework it after a break of a few weeks or months wastes a lot of latent time, also distracting you from working on other subjects.

Look at the bright side – working on 4000 + words would make anything and everything feel like a piece of cake.

  1. Make it interesting for yourself

If you’ve set your mind on a Math major, it would be really hard to focus on other subjects like the analysis of an advertisement, or an IA in History, simply because you know they wouldn’t help you with a career in mathematics. But each and every subject is important for an overall impressive IB score. Instead of focusing on the subject that you’re most interested in, incorporate your personal interests in all subjects. For example, if you’re interested in revenue management you can focus on a topic like the mathematical equations used by airlines in overbooking for your IA. This could be an IA in Economics too. If you’re interested in History but you’re not keen on the Sciences, focus on an IA that explores the History of the Sciences. That way, you can manoeuvre around your interests, at the same time sticking to your skills. Don’t make it harder for yourself and tap your potential to the fullest.

Check out this blogpost on ways to make the most out of the IB.

  1. Don’t believe in rumours

Different students have different interests, varying bandwidths, and different experiences – no two experiences are the same. This is a simple fact and needs to be understood in the simplest manner. Hence, when you hear past IB students expressing their unpleasant experiences with the IB, they all but sound like horror stories for the fresh and relatively innocent batch of IB grade 11s. But don’t listen and believe everything you hear. A student found IB Physics impossible because they weren’t good at math, but another student kept their mind open and realised there wasn’t much math to begin with. In short, trust your intuition and act upon your own instincts. Don’t rely on other people’s opinions and approaches and create your own unique path.

  1. Focus on your college applications more than your IB work

Your IB grades are integral to your college admissions, true. However, if you only focus on scoring well, you might lose track of the tasks you’ve planned out that are necessary for the same procedure. You need to prioritize your college applications before you begin your IB work. Once school begins it’s super easy to get dragged down by your IAs, your English homework with your private instructor, and every other task set by your school on a day-to-day basis. Time flies really fast before you realise you’re due to submit the personal statement and essay. A few years down the line, what matters is which college you went to and not what you scored in your IB GPA. So, understand what the end goal is and set your own deadlines.

  1. Run the IB and don’t let it run you!

This sounds cooler than it is, and I’m not asking you to take over the board. What I mean to convey is that you must control the two years that you give to the IB, and don’t let it trump the other tasks needed to get into college. Being an IB student already means that you’re an excellent student and you can get into a reputable college. At the same time, don’t let IB essays and projects overrun any other opportunities. What schools really want to assess is your ability to deal with a rigorous curriculum and lead a life. If you have a summer internship or a job, don’t quit it simply because you think you’d find it overwhelming. What you’re really doing here is hampering the opportunity of exploring your skills at the job, as well as losing the opportunity to look good on paper during the admission, which is a double whammy for you.

Don’t lose out on opportunities and always evaluate how significant it’ll be for you in the long run.

  1. Embrace your enemies

This sounds a bit harsh but some people honestly detest the IB! So although you may find the IBDP to be your enemy, it’s an important step to further your education, and this is the only choice you have – to love it! Find a reason, whatever it may be, to love the IB – tap into your interests and really get into the rhythm of the curriculum. All of this is a learning experience that will be valuable in one way or another. When you know that you have to put in a lot of hard work into scoring 6s and 7s, hating it is not going to make it easier. On the contrary, it would hinder your performance. This applies to everything outside the IB as well – you can’t always like everything you do and do everything you like! Everybody loves a doctor’s fee but nobody loves to dissect a dead human body! Well, at least most of us don’t.

Think of this programme as an IB pinata and just go ham at it!

And the most important thing: you must be proud of the work you’re doing and how hard you’re working. It’s not easy to feel that pride because you’re always go-go-go the next thing now, the next deadline! There’s always something to complete and something to study for. But you need to take a break every now and then: treat yourself, go out with your friends, reward yourself after every achievement, and build great memories.

If you need guidance and aid in acing the IB, you can always explore the myriad of courses on our page. A dynamic group of well-experienced teachers is what would help you score better.

Remember, a lot of teens your age aren’t able to devote the same amount of time towards education because of different challenging circumstances, but YOU are. You’re lucky to be a part of this and that itself is pretty cool.

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