For the last two years, I have been enrolled in the IB programme. The IBO is a global organisation, providing education for children and teenagers around the world. Here is their mission statement:
”The International Baccalaureate® aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.
To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment.
These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.“
I personally have not been doing the Middle Year Programme but only the Diploma Programme.
The IB asks you to choose six subjects out of subject groups. Your choice here may be limited by the subjects your school offers, but most schools I know off do offer a wide range of subjects.
For each subject, you choose whether you take it as a higher level or standard level. Usually, people take three higher level subjects and three standard level subjects.
For this post, I am not going to go into detail about how the subject combinations and the IB works too much since there is so much information out there (I actually really recommend Wikipedia if you don’t know where to start). However, if you have any questions please write to me and I am happy to answer them to you as best as I can.
Here are my subjects:
Business and Management
As you can see I had four higher levels and I was totally fine so if you are interested in taking four highers then I would recommend trying it out and if the workload gets too much you can still drop one of your highers.
My thoughts about the IB programme are extremely positive and I am so grateful for everything I have learned. I know the IB community sometimes makes it look like the programme is absolute hell and sucks your life out of you with no social life and free time left, but that is really not the case. Of course in the end, especially the last weeks and months are intense and you have to study and revise a lot, if not constantly but to be honest that is what I expected. I think my honest review would be that you certainly have to do your stuff and it is not like you will have hours and hours of free time, but at the same time it is not like your life is lead by the IB. Actually, let me rephrase that it kind of is …
KNOW YOUR PRIORITIES
It of course totally depends on your aims and priorities. As a tip or recommendation, I would make sure I have them straight for me while you are in the programme. For me personally, I take school seriously and want to give it my best. On the other hand, did I come all the way from Germany to England and had a little adventure in front of me with living abroad in a boarding house and I wanted to explore the English culture and find new friends and try out new things. I settled in the middle and in my first year I was living the life and had the best time. I did my school work but it was not my only priority which I am so grateful to have made that decision because now looking back at it I can say I lived and have stories to tell and memories in my heart. The definitely confronts you with that decision because you do have to decide whether you want to invest all your time into your studies because sometimes it can really be a lot. After I had let myself have all these essential experiences in year 12 I decided to focus more on school in year 13. I still enjoyed the boarding life in year 13 but I did dedicate more work into school, which was really necessary because of all the coursework which are to be written in each subject, my extended essay of 4000 words as well as your theory of knowledge presentation and essay. Since I am really eager to do well I started focussing more on school and dedicated more time to it. I personally wanted to do Anthropology where I was quite relieved to find that the grades that I needed were not as crazy as with some other courses like law and medicine. Of course, having Anthropology in mind I still really enjoyed exploring England’s culture whenever I could. One really big boost for me was when right before Christmas and therefore the end of the first term of year 13 I got an email. The email asked me to log into UCAS (which is the official university application website in the UK) because there was an update to my status. Not really expecting much I logged into it and found one of the best surprises. I GOT A CONDITIONAL OFFER FROM UCL! I was so surprised and never thought I would actually get an offer but I did and so, of course, I had a good reason to start working hard. The last weeks I really really did a lot a lot of maths since this was the subject I struggled most in. And let me tell you, in the end, this let me improve by two grade compared to my mock exams in January.
HAVE A GENUINE INTEREST
I also studied a lot for history higher level. Now as a human being which has a normal logical brain I would have dropped this higher because in history taking the higher level really does make a difference to taking the standard level in terms of effort but I was so interested in history that I kept going and I don’t regret it. So another advice would be if you are really interested in your subject then keep it even if you could drop it because honestly, I learned so much more in history HL. Of course, this is if you are a bit flexible with your grade if you are at risk and you really need to get a certain grade for uni then maybe don’t risk it. Nevertheless if you can then I would recommend to only choose subjects you are genuinely interested in and you will see it will make your life so much easier!
ASK YOUR TEACHERS
Another tip would be to build a great relationship with your teachers! It really makes a huge difference! I honestly had the best teachers ever and when you get on with them so well it just makes your life so much easier. Show them that you are interested and I promise you they will help you as much as they can- at least my teachers really did. Don’t be afraid to go up to them and simply ask them. This was something which after a while in class I realised: If you don’t get something just ask again because from my experience most of the class didn’t get it as well but sometimes people are too afraid to ask again- including myself-.
COMPLETELY IGNORE THE ALIS TEST
The last tip I have is so important!! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don’t take the Alis Targets serious at all. The Alis targets are based on a test you do in the beginning. It is kind of like an IQ test but not really. Based on your answers the system will make a guess what your final grades will be and therefore what your targets are! Now let me tell you I don’t think they are accurate at all!! LIKE NOT AT ALL! Most of the time they will be so much lower and in the beginning this really made me doubt myself but in the end, it proved to be so wrong and my results were way above my alias predictions. So please know that very few people get great allies predictions and they rarely predict more than a 6 so basically, my message is just to ignore them. If you can don’t even look at them!
YOU DO YOU
Another tip would be to not compare yourself to anyone. This hs probably been the most difficult for me because I have so many incredibly smart friends who are just unbelievable. Please just don’t compare yourself and be proud of what you are achieving at the moment. I know this is easier said than done. Also, don’t believe everyone some people are really good at making it seem they are way more intelligent than you and in the end, you get the same result or even a better one. At least this is what happened to me.
I hope this helped a little bit! Honestly, there are so many thoughts I have about the IB and maybe there will be a part two…
I really love the IB and I am forever grateful for everything it has taught me! I would not be the person I am today without it. The people you meet during the IB are incredible and I am really thankful to have all of them in my life.