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 a little more challenging. This article gives you five tips that will make sure you have an amazing second year.
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 IB Diploma was a breeze. Mostly because I did not do a lot of IB work. All my time was spent in the library, goofing around on my laptop. As you would have guessed it, it did not turn out well. My second year was a pile of due assignments and a lot of course work 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 not in a place as bad as I was then. Even if you happen to be in the exact same place, I can assure you that you can still manage to have a successful second year. First things first, you need to make sure you have enough CAS points, and all your reflections are timely documents. If not then I strongly suggest you to either spend an hour every day doing CAS related activities. Ask your CAS coordinator about the activities that you can be a part of 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 can be literally about anything that the world should know. If you are reading this in April 2020, then you are in luck. Make a simple video about the precautionary steps that one should take to curb the pandemic. If you are reading this after the world has recovered from the pandemic (wonder how that worked out) then you can choose any global issue including waste management, sustainability, plastic pollution, etc and create a video centred 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 on CAS hours then doing either of the two (or both) is an excellent filler for your CAS reflection. What I did was to play football for at least an hour and try to learn the violin for half an hour every single day. This minuscule 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 NGOs. If you cannot find an NGO, then you can look for nursing homes, animal shelters, etc. and spend some time there. I do not promote helping others just for the sake of completing your CAS hours, but an IB student gotta do what an IB student gotta do. If you happen to live in an area where none of the above mentioned is possible that you can do something as simple as planting a tree and quickly get at least 3 hours of Service which will include 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 to do, then you need to prioritise the things you will work on. Start by being specific about the subject whose work you want to untangle. Aiming to conquer all the subjects at once is one spicy recipe of 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 in tackling all that I had to in regards to Physics.
To make my goals measurable, I was tracking the progress that I made in each aspect of the subject. This included dedicating at least 3 hours a week researching for my Internal Assessment while making sure I learn and revise all the concepts taught in the lecture. Bottom line: make sure each day has you moving towards a productive week. Which brings us to our next 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 not be of good quality. Making unattainable goals will only demotivate you. The relevance of your goal 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. You need to decide the month in which you will finalise a subject for your Extended Essay and decide upon a mentor. You also need to plan when exactly will you start your revision. Do not be hesitant in dedicating a solid day where you only plan your things. While it is not advised to plan everything to the minute, it will be nice if you can allot a certain time range to 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. You need to be smart about finalising your Extended Essay drafts, applying for your universities, finishing up your CAS reflection and preparing for your examinations. Most IB students struggle 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 comes to an end, you will be multitasking more than you will like. So it is essential to finish off the things immediately and not procrastinating anymore! Arrange your schedule in such a manner that you do not need to balance between deadlines and exams. Make it a point to submit your Extended Essay at least a month prior to your final exams. It is good practice to reverse plan all the work that will go into your submissions in accordance with the deadline associates 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 counsellor your best friend. Not only your counsellor help you in selecting the perfect college for you, but they will constantly check up on you. Book an appointment with your counsellor as soon as possible. Once you decide upon your prefered colleges, you will want to arrange for 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 emphasise the importance of revising. IB exams check you on a lot of theoretical concepts. No matter how organised 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 on learning whatever it is that you miss during a school week. It is equally important to keep on revising everything you learn especially the concepts that you went over in your first year of IB Diploma. This will prevent the massive brain fog that many IB students experience during exam times. The time of your exam should be the one where you are applying minimal brainpower in learning new things and spending more time in refreshing that what is already stored in your brain.
Get Yourself A Hustle Partner
If you have been surviving IB on your own up till this point, then 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 is slacking off. It also makes it a lot easier to have fun during your study breaks. It is ideal to find a hustle buddy who has a significant amount of subjects which are similar to yours. If you are not lucky enough to have your IB Doppelganger, then you should find someone whose course work status is like yours. This will help the two of you to plan your year together.
Having said that, if you are unable to find hustle partners, then also it is not a big deal. We at Nail IB are continually trying 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 customised revision plans and detailed subject notes, which will make sure that you find the right notes without having to waste your time on the internet. And believe me, you, wasting your time is the last thing that you would want to do in your second year of IB Diploma.