Starting the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) may seem a little daunting but, as famed Spanish novelist Miguel de Cervantes once quipped: “forewarned is forearmed – to be prepared is half the victory!” Now, that’s not to say that the IB Programme is akin to a military conflict with the Ottoman Empire, of course, although for some, it may well be just as intimidating.
Ready to tackle your next IB challenge like a fearless warrior?
Whether you’re on your way to take on the IBDP at a Mumbai, Singapore, Tokyo, or Shanghai International School, here are a few expert tips to prepare for the IB Diploma Programme:
- Build a sustainable consistency in your study habits
Think you can just waltz through the year and cram for exams? Nice try, junior! This tried-and-true habit may work in other programs but certainly not with the 2-year-long IB Diploma Programme. The curriculum is too big and too intense to cram, so you’ll need to put in the hard work, week after week, consistently. The key here is to develop a manageable routine: as much as you might not want to cram, you also can’t go at full-speed for two years. Most successful students find that studying in half-hour time-slots, followed by a 10-minute break, works exceptionally well.
- Make a study calendar – and stick to it
Whether it’s electronic or old-fashioned pen-and-paper, a calendar helps you get an overview of your study schedule, spread out over a week and even a month. Not only will it help you solve the age-old riddle ‘what shall I study next?’ but it’ll help you quickly identify subject imbalances.
Speaking of which…
- Have a weaker subject? Invest an extra hour a week on that
It’s impossible to excel (or even like) all subjects equally, so it’s important to recognize your weakest subject-link and dedicate a little more time to it.
- Find that sweet spot, every night, between studying too much and not enough
Reiterating #1? You bet!
High-achievers preparing for their IB Diploma Programme will set out to study three subjects per night, although, truth be told, fitting in two will be challenging enough. The compromise? Spend just half-an-hour on the third and make sure to rotate subjects during the week. The real challenge is to plan your late-afternoons and early-evenings so that you do have some time to relax for at least an hour before lights-out.
- Never miss out on solid sleep. Ever.
Can’t manage to get a solid seven or eight hours of sleep every single night? You’re doing something wrong. Revise the above and try again! Sleep is crucial during your IB Diploma Programme. In fact, it’s essential to succeeding at everything, so make that a priority. Conquering your sleep schedule means you can handle your stress, so work on it religiously. This practice will also help perfect your time-management skills, which will help you long after completing the IB Diploma Programme.
- Embrace the challenges
One of the best ways to prepare for the IB Diploma Programme is to do whatever makes you break out in hives purposely. For some, it’ll be writing long essays about subjects in which they have little interest. For others, it might be giving dreaded oral presentations, so they practice on their family members or, better still, just the dog. One of the stellar benefits of completing the IB Diploma Programme is that it will teach you to burst out of your comfort zone and push your boundaries, so get ahead of that lesson before you even start the programme.
- Take all preparation tips for the IB Diploma Programme with a grain of salt. Yes, even ours…
No matter which subjects you have chosen, how you have organized your study calendar, or what your plan of action is, you’ll undoubtedly find someone who’ll criticize it. Don’t listen too closely. Yes, it is important (and smart) to take advice from those who’ve come before you, but here’s the thing: they are not YOU. Part of life’s journey is figuring out who you are and what works best for you. Going against the accepted grain is something to be embraced as long as you have the self-awareness to recognize if a change is needed.
What is the IB Diploma Programme?
The 2-year IB Diploma Programme is the final step of the comprehensive International Baccalaureate Programme. Aimed at high-achieving students between the ages of 16 and 19, the IB Diploma is offered by the best international schools in more than 140 countries and is recognized for entry into many of the world’s most prestigious universities.