The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma program is one of the most challenging examinations you’ll take after high school. Preparing for IB can be overwhelming since there's so much information out there that can easily confuse you.
However, you don’t need to feel confused anymore. Once you make up your mind and approach it with the seriousness it deserves, IB won’t be as difficult as it seems.
If you're just starting as an IB Diploma student, this article will give you valuable tips on how to prepare for IB exams to achieve great success.
What’s the IB Diploma?
The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma program is an internationally recognized school curriculum that builds all-rounded and open-minded students. It offers standardized courses, which students take in their second to last years of high school before joining university.
Students who successfully finish the program and pass the exams are awarded the world-renowned IB Diploma. With this certification under your belt, you can find your way to some of the world’s best universities.
How Can I Prepare for the IB Exam?
Now that you’ve made up your mind to register for the IB diploma, how do you prepare to ensure you don’t fail the IB exams?
Read the tips below on how to prepare for IB exams in the best way possible to increase your chances of success.
1. Register early
The first step you’ll need to take is to register for the IB Diploma exams. However, don’t underestimate the importance of registering early.
Registering for IB early will give you enough time to review the course materials, pick dates for exams, and eliminate conflicts with other commitments like your normal high school classes.
As mentioned, the program has an extensive curriculum and is full of projects and assignments such as Extended Essay, Theory of Knowledge (ToK), and Internal Assessments, among others. All these require a lot of time to complete. Therefore, you should start as soon as possible to avoid last-minute rushes.
2. Do your research
Once you are registered, take time to do some research and learn more about the IB diploma subjects covered in the curriculum. If there are subjects you haven’t understood well, spend more time in the library reading about them and grasping the concepts you haven’t understood.
Researching could involve reading books and articles on the subject, listening to podcasts, or watching videos online about the topics. You can also do some consultation about unfamiliar subjects from former IB students to help you familiarize yourself.
3. Understand the syllabus
As you do your research, take time to understand the syllabus. Each subject area within the curriculum has its objectives and a syllabus that outlines how students can achieve these objectives.
Understanding the syllabus will help you know all the relevant classes or training sessions you’ll need to attend, books and journals you’ll need to read, and research projects you’ll undertake. This way, you’ll be well prepared to undertake and pass the IB exams.
4. Go through the school calendar
Familiarize yourself with the school’s calendar, which will include school events, field trips, and other activities you may need to participate in.
This will help you with your planning and make you not miss important school events as you strive to attend IB classes and keep up with the highly demanding course.
5. Prepare a timetable
Once you understand the school calendar and the IB syllabus, the next best thing to do is to prepare a timetable for yourself. A personal timetable is a good way to organize your first few weeks of classes, especially if you’re new to the IB diploma program.
It will help you not to miss any classes, assessment tests, or exam dates. Additionally, a timetable will help you allocate time for personal studies, discussion sessions, and other extracurricular activities.
6. Attend orientation sessions
Since you’re a beginner, be sure to attend orientation sessions for new IB students. This is where you’ll learn about the IB Diploma Program and how to prepare for your first semester’s exams.
Orientation sessions will also familiarize you with your course instructors so you know who to approach when you need help in the course of the program. Furthermore, these sessions will help you understand what is required of you by the school before sitting for the IB exams.
7. Engage your teachers
Another thing that will help you prepare and pass your IB exams is to engage with your teachers.
During the orientation sessions, you’ll get introduced to your teachers before starting the classes. However, this will be a group introduction, and it would be more helpful if you made time to have one-on-one meetings with your subject teachers later.
Engaging your teachers will make it easy for you to consult with them about complex topics as you study for the exams. They might also give you more secrets on how to study effectively and pass the oncoming exams.
8. Read and take notes
IB Diploma is an extensive curriculum that involves several subjects including math, languages, sciences, and humanities. To prepare well for the exams, you’ll need to read broadly to acquire up-to-date knowledge. Since IB is globally-focused, it's critical to stay updated with world affairs by reading global materials also.
Also, start taking notes early and keep them updated as you continue with the curriculum. When you have your notes ready, you can always review them in readiness for the exams to avoid cramming things at the last minute when the exams are approaching.
9. Revise regularly
Don’t wait till mid-semester to start revising when you have a pile of notes on every subject. The most effective way to prepare for your exams is to revise regularly and make summary notes for every class to make the revision work easier.
Be sure to familiarize yourself with what examiners want by going through the course rubrics. This will help you take note of important aspects as you revise. Revising regularly will save you lots of time and stress when it comes time to sit for your IB Diploma exams.
10. Collaborate with your peers
Finally, strive to collaborate with your peers in the same IB Diploma program when preparing for exams. Collaborating with your peers will make learning easy since you can create time for group discussions and crack difficult topics together.
Aside from group learning sessions, you can also have social time together to relieve the stress of rigorous learning. Needless to say, a group of peers will make your time in the IB program fun and less stressful.
How Long Does It Take to Prepare for IB Exams?
Preparing for IB exams will take you four to five months. However, to know exactly how long it would take you to prepare, consider your level of confidence in each of the subjects.
The subjects for which you have high confidence will require less time to prepare for the exams. If you feel less confident in other subjects, you’ll need to spend more time studying and grasping the concepts.
When Should I Start Studying For IB?
IB exams are challenging and need a lot of study time before sitting for them. As a beginner, you should start studying for the exams as soon as possible and prepare short notes for every subject.
Starting to study at least ten weeks ahead of the exams will produce the best results. However, there’s no defined preparation period since it depends on a student’s level and speed of understanding. Consequently, some students may need to start studying sooner than others.
Here’s an interesting video by IB Like Cole on how to use the last month before IB exams.
5 Best Tips for Surviving IB Stress
Preparing for IB exams can be stressful, considering the many subjects and the extensive curriculum for each. As a student, you need to put in measures to prevent the stress from taking a toll on you.
Here are some tips for surviving the IB stress without losing your mind:
1. Extra-curricular activities: Engage in extracurricular activities like sports, community work, hobbies, and other social activities to help you unwind.
2. Learn to manage stress: Regularly involve yourself with stress relief activities like exercise, meditation, yoga, and indoor and outdoor games.
3. Learn time management: Make a schedule to enable you to complete all your assignments on time. Also, avoid wasting too much time chatting with friends, on social media, or on activities that don’t add value to your studies.
4. Take breaks: When studies get overwhelming, take regular breaks to refresh your brain—you can take a walk, go swimming, attend a friend’s party, or visit a recreational center.
5. Make good friends: Friends can help you a lot with your studies if you’re taking the same course. Make good friends with people you can share ideas with and consult.
While preparing to sit for IB exams can be daunting and stressful, it takes commitment and proper planning to get everything in order. Be sure to register early for the exams so you have enough time to research and study the extensive curriculum.
If you’re an IB Diploma beginner, apply these tips on how to prepare for IB to help you get ready for your exams and pass them without much hassle.
And if you ever get stuck with your ToK, Internal Assessment, or Extended Essay assignments, turn to Writers Per Hour. With professional IB writers, we are a reliable writing service that can help you boost your IB grades.
Last edit at Jul 27 2023