How to succeed in the International Baccalaureate (IB)? aka successful surviving

International Baccalaureate Diploma is deemed as one of the most demanding high school programs in the world (I mean, how else are we gonna pretend to be cool and veterans of a modern war? *coughs*). Confused students may ask all they want on the internet on what subjects to choose and how to succeed at it, but in the end it all comes down to one question.

How good the teachers are at teaching the IB (I believe every subject can be easy if the teacher makes it enjoyable and has a good teaching style).

And if they are not good, well, do not worry little warrior! Prepare for a lot of frustration and a lot of dangerous adventures!

First thing you gotta make sure to come out alive at the end of IB is to be good at teaching yourself (self-taught) and have more or less decent organization skills. You will either way get alive out of this but the whole issue is if you want to get a worthy high school paper or a useless paper (obviously).  

Yea, I give advice now

Yep! Now we go to the most important question.

How can you succeed in the IB as a self-taught student?

First advice is not to overestimate what you can achieve.

If you think you will have higher chances of getting into the university of your dreams because you will choose Math HL when actually studying this subject takes you time and you are not passionate or a genius at it, then step down. It is okay to take Math at Standard Level and this way you can get a better grade with less effort, less stress and use the time that you would have used to cry over your Calculus book to volunteer or do any extracurricular activity that you like. Believe me that extracurricular activities are what you should most use at your advantage! If you want to enter Math HL class because they say the geniuses and the 1600 SAT brains are here, no, no no! Stupid pretentious rumours! Just be good at what you do and prioritize health.

Complete most of your CASes during your first year!

As part of the IB program you have to complete 150 hours of extracurricular activities that include Creativity, Action and Service. Start from your first year and take part in as many activities as you can. This way you can be freer in this regard during your second year when you have to complete your Internal Assessments and Extended Essays. Make sure to choose one activity that shows that you have leadership skills. One such activity can be Model United Nations but if you are really not passionate about debating and international relations, you can always organize a march for the Protection of the Environment or organize a charity event for a cause that is dear to you (or anything really).

Third advice is to look at Past Papers!

Start looking at past papers since your first year. Every time you have to study for an exam, open a past paper and work on it. This way you will get used to the structure of the exam and you will not have to do every past paper before your actual final exam to practice.

Fourth advice is to balance your subjects from the beginning.

If you choose Biology HL for example, try to balance it out with a subject you find easier to study, for example English B or Economics (it was easy for me). Biology HL is totally doable and do not get freaked out due to it. There is a lot of information and that is the whole problem but if you have good memorization skills and you understand the text and the whole processes (use diagrams and videos to get the idea of what is going on), then you are awesome!

Fifth advice is to take notes!

I know notes are time consuming and sometimes one is left feeling like it was totally pointless for you when either way you need to go over every detail of the book. But when you have to sit for an exam, it is much easier going over your 40 pages notes that are understandable, labeled and colorful (use different colors and make diagrams), then going over a 300-500 pages book with small letters and where you do not even know what you are looking for.

Sixth advice is to not get too behind!

It is totally normal to leave two, three or four (or five :3) lessons (units) without studying in a row. You have a life after all and if you want to go out or watch a movie (or do nothing), you will definitely have to skip sitting at your desk every day and making notes and breathing your soul out. But do not let these lessons become too much to the point that it is difficult to get back on track. Four is the maximum and do try to always just give the past day’s lesson a fast read to get an idea of what is going on while at class (if being at class is more or less beneficial).

The seventh and last advice is to please, please start thinking of your IA topics and Extended Essay topics during the summer before your second year!

And do have a first draft of your EE at the end of the summer!

I know people who did fine with their EE and they started it a week before the deadline (yep, totally true, do not recommend), but the stress is not worth it. Plus, it is totally out of your control if you start it at such a critical time for you have to consider the fact that it will not go as you plan it to. Moreover, you really have no time to stress over your IAs and EEs if you do not want to be left behind on your subjects.

I feel like it is useless to preach consistency for we all know procrastination is inevitable (I bow to anyone who can fight over this wicked disease. You are a superior specie u.u)! Thus, just try to really follow the first six advices I gave although they are more or less universally known but one needs a bit of direction sometimes. There will be times when you will feel you totally messed it up especially when those deadlines and exams are coming, but just try that when you study to practice using past papers and do not get too behind your work (you will definitely have to sit and study before exams starting from your first year or else why you here? So even if you are the king and queen of procrastination you will eventually have to sit down and when you sit, study smart).

Congrats for being wiser now

IB is totally doable and it is not as scary as they make it. Trust me! Just be true to yourself and what you want and what you know you can do and you are good to go!

Oh and my subjects were:

Math HL
Economics HL
Biology HL
English B HL
Chemistry SL
(My native country’s) Literature SL

If you want any advice (even personal) regarding IB (although I am not all knowing), you can always ask me! *SMILES*

Yep, true

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