Compared to other Level 3 qualifications, such as A level, the IB Diploma is quite broad and retains some similarities to GCSEs initially. Students are required to study a broad range of topics although they have some choice in the difficulty level. Therefore, it’s important that students think very carefully at the start of the course about their relative strengths and weaknesses.
Like many other post 16 courses, organisation and preparation are really important. By the time the examinations come along a student will have to refer back to work they started at least two years previously. Clear note-taking, folder organisation and revision timetabling may not be the most glamorous tasks, but make a huge difference. It’s also a great way for a student to feel in control of their learning and not overwhelmed.
Planning and organisation can also go a really long way with the Extended Essay (EE) which contains three ‘reflection’ periods over the course of researching and writing the essay. It’s really important that each of these are completed at the right time and not retrospectively. Assessors are pretty good at noticing when a reflection is ‘in the moment’ and when one is ‘after the event’.
Many students find that they benefit from one to one support, whether that is with a mentor, friend or a tutor. The benefits of this one to one support is that difficult areas can be focused on in greater detail. Questions can be answered and advice given. It’s important that when employing a tutor that it is done with integrity. The tutor should be familiar with the IB syllabus and in our opinion, a qualified teacher. A tutor who has taught the course and assessed it, will have a deeper understanding than a tutor that hasn’t. Equally, a tutor can also help with ‘stretch and challenge’. Many students can benefit from one to one support to go above and beyond their classroom learning.