Sophia - My IB Life

How was my IB journey?

I had just moved to Sweden from Canada in 2015, and directly joined the IB as a DP1 student in the city of Helsingborg, since it was the only school there with English as its language of instruction. Being the enthusiast I was in doing everything, I enrolled myself in 7 subjects with 4 HLs whilst complaining about how it seemed unreasonable that I couldn’t pick all of the science subjects. As expected, in the following 2 years I gained a lot of knowledge and experience not only in all the subjects I had, but also in time and stress management.

How did I manage to get good scores in my exam?

The easy answer is of course by studying. Before anything you need to understand the concepts, but then you need to keep it in your memory and be able to recall it at the right time. I didn’t like pure memorization, so for me studying was mainly trying to repeat the material in different ways, in different settings and with different people. However, I felt that the main thing in IB was definitely going through past exams. IB exams have specific mark schemes and ways of phrasing questions. Learning to recognize those patterns helped me a lot in maximizing time spent per mark and lowering the stress associated with that.

How did I stay on top of my studies?

My school closed at 6pm, so at one point I decided to at least stay there everyday until then to study. However, the point of this is definitely not to say that to stay on top of everything, you ought to begin stressing yourself and study 24/7. We all want to improve ourselves and at this point, we already know vaguely what we should do. Instead, the main point of interest for me was the environment it created. I was able to go over all the material again immediately after classes before thinking about anything else. I also had the opportunity to drag others along with me whenever I could to supervise each other and have someone to discuss with. But most importantly, I was able to confidently tell myself: “Ok, I’ve already been productive for the entire day/week, I can enjoy the evening/weekend however I want” whenever there wasn’t a deadline to be made. In any case, I believe that having the motivation to study was the most important factor in helping me stay on top of everything. For me, that meant being comfortable with it, having others’ support during it and being able to balance it with other aspects of life.

What was the most critical point of my studies?

The time period that matters the most is probably the brief period after the mock exams in February up until the real exams in May. At that point most classes finished lecturing and switched to review lessons. We also had around 2-3 weeks off to completely study on our own. It was the final chance to review everything learned from the past 2 years and keep it memorized at least until the exams. Even though I did fine on the mock exams, my stress still skyrocketed during this period as the exams the IB diploma depended on was gradually approaching and it was all up to me. Looking back, I believe that this was the period where it would have made the most difference with even the smallest improvement on myself.