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Your first year of IB just ended, and you must be wondering what lies ahead. Are things going to get easier from now on, or is the worst yet to come? Your second year of International Baccalaureate (IB) is way more important. This also means that it is going to be more challenging.
Oh! Also, here's an open letter for all the incoming second-year IB students
The first year of the IB Program is more like a rehearsal where you are getting ready for the big show. Second-year of IB will have you submit your Extended Essays, Theory of Knowledge Presentations, College Applications and finally your IB exams so you better get your shit together!
Get Your Shit Together
My first year of the IB Diploma was a breeze. Mostly because I only did a little IB work. All my time was spent in the library, goofing around on my laptop. As you would have guessed, it turned out poorly. My second year was a pile of due assignments and a lot of coursework to catch up on. Not only that but my Individual Orals were also prepared a night before the due date. All in all, it was terrible, and I had to get my shit together. All the chilling around in the first year of IB was compensated by sleeping for less than four hours every night for an entire year, abandoning my fitness routine, and drinking red bull as a substitute for water.
Hopefully, you are in a better place than I was then. Even if you are in the same place, I assure you that you can still manage to have a successful second year. First, you need to ensure you have enough CAS points and that all your reflections are timely documents. If not, I strongly suggest you spend an hour every day doing CAS-related activities. Ask your CAS coordinator about the actions you can participate in to complete your CAS hours. Here are a few CAS suggestions from the top of my head:
- Create a Public Service Announcement video:
This video is about anything that the world should know. If you were reading this in April 2020, then you are lucky. Make a simple video about the precautionary steps one should take to curb the pandemic. Suppose you are reading this after the world has recovered from the pandemic (wonder how that worked out). In that case, you can choose any global issue, including waste management, sustainability, plastic pollution, etc., and create a video centered around that theme.
- Playing a Sport/Picking up an instrument:
Now you may not be a sportsperson, and it is entirely okay to not want to learn an instrument, but if you lack CAS hours, doing either of the two (or both) is an excellent filler for your CAS reflection. I played football for at least an hour and tried to learn the violin for half an hour every day. This minor adjustment in my schedule paid off at the end of the second year.
Volunteer on the weekends:
CAS does not need to be limited to weekdays. Try to volunteer once every month at any local NGO. If you cannot find an NGO, you can look for nursing homes, animal shelters, etc., and spend some time there. I do not promote helping others complete their CAS hours, but an IB student must do what an IB student must do. Suppose you live in an area where none of those mentioned above is possible. In that case, you can do something as simple as planting a tree and quickly get at least 3 hours of Service, including planning the entire activity, buying the seedling, and finally planting it.
Being SMART is a quality taken for granted. SMART is an abbreviation for
Make the above-mentioned your mantra in planning your week. If you have a pile of assignments, you must prioritize what you will work on. Start by being specific about the subject whose work you want to untangle. Aiming to conquer all the topics at once is one spicy recipe for being miserable and having done nothing at all. For me, it was Physics HL: the unsung demon of all the physical laws around us. I made it a point to dedicate the first month of year 2 of my IB Diploma to tackling all that I had to do in physics.
To make my goals measurable, I tracked my progress in each aspect of the subject. This included dedicating at least 3 hours a week to researching for my Internal Assessment while ensuring I learn and revise all the concepts taught in the lecture. Bottom line: make sure each day has you moving towards a productive week. This brings us to the following points. Your goals should be attainable. Do not try to finish off your IA within a week. Even if you manage to do so, it will be of poor quality. Making unattainable goals will only demotivate you. The relevance of your dream is another important aspect. You not only want to dedicate your time finishing up an IA when you have your Extended Essay due next week. Lastly, whatever you do, make all your goals within a particular time frame. I am talking about creating a timeline for the upcoming year. It would help if you decided the month you will finalize a subject for your Extended Essay and decide upon a mentor. It would help if you also planned when exactly you will start your revision. Be bold in dedicating a solid day where you only plan your things. While it is not advised to plan everything to the minute, it would be nice if you allot a specific time range for each upcoming IB-related activity for the year. Having said that, it is also advised to be agile in your planning and shift your focus to other important aspects of IB whenever needed.
Balance Deadlines And Exams
The second year is the year of submissions. It would help if you were smart about finalizing your Extended Essay drafts, applying for your universities, finishing your CAS reflection, and preparing for your examinations. Most IB students need help with this, which leads to either lousy performance in the exams or submitting an Extended Essay which is not of premium level. Be constantly aware that as the second year ends, you will multitask more than you would like. So it is essential to finish off things immediately and not procrastinate anymore! Arrange your schedule, so you do not need to balance deadlines and exams. Make it a point to submit your Extended Essay at least a month before your final exams. It is good practice to reverse plan all the work that will go into your submissions following the deadline associated with them.
Befriend Your College Counsellor
So IB is halfway done. The next big thing in your life is the reason you chose IB: College. Do not be ashamed of making your college counselor your best friend. Not only will your counselor help you select the perfect college for you, but they will also constantly check up on you. Book an appointment with your counselor as soon as possible. Once you decide upon your preferred colleges, you should arrange all the necessary documents required to apply for those colleges as quickly as possible. Believe me. It is not fun to write your Internal Assessments, your Extended Essays, and your College’s Statement of Purpose simultaneously.
Learn A Lot But Revise More
I cannot emphasize the importance of revising. IB exams check you on a lot of theoretical concepts. No matter how organized you are, you are bound to lag behind your syllabus because of the many assignments you will be working on. Thus it becomes imperative to keep learning whatever you miss during a school week. It is equally important to keep revising everything you know, especially the concepts you went over in your first year of the IB Diploma. This will prevent the massive brain fog that many IB students experience during exam times. Your exam time should be when you are applying minimal brainpower in learning new things and spending more time refreshing what is already stored in your brain.
Get Yourself A Hustle Partner
If you have been surviving IB on your own up until now, I strongly urge you to find someone with whom you can work your way through the second year. Having someone to hustle with keeps you motivated and on track. You can call each other out when any one of you slacks off. It also makes it a lot easier to have fun during your study breaks. It is ideal to find a hustle buddy with a significant amount of subjects similar to yours. If you are not lucky enough to have your IB Doppelganger, you should find someone with a coursework status like yours. This will help the two of you to plan your year together.
Having said that, it is also not a big deal if you are still looking for hustle partners. We at Nail IB continually try to become your virtual companions in hustling your way through IB. Nail IB has everything that a first-year IB Diploma student will need. Nail IB offers students automated tests for challenging subjects like IB Physics, IB Biology, IB Chemistry, IB Mathematics, etc., which help them strengthen their fundamental concepts. Our resources include 'How-to-Guides,' which gives never heard before tips to write premium quality Extended Essays and Internal Assessments. We also provide customized revision plans and detailed subject notes, ensuring that you find the right notes without wasting your time on the internet. And believe me, wasting your time is the last thing you want to do in your second year of an IB Diploma.