IBDP Alumni, Scored 45/45, Teaches Global Politics HL/SL and Psychology HL/SL. Currently pursuing BSc. International Relations and Organisations at Leiden University.
IBDP Alumni, Scored 45/45, Teaches Global Politics HL/SL and Psychology HL/SL. Currently pursuing BSc. International Relations and Organisations at Leiden University.
Currently Pursuing BSc. International Relations and Organizations
International Baccalaureate Diploma (Scored 45/45)
My teaching philosophy is that nothing is impossible to comprehend. I will go over the same content as many times as a student needs, and simplify it; substantiating with everyday examples to make it as clear and simple as possible. This philosophy can apply to all concepts and ideas, irrespective of their difficulty.
I will typically take a few minutes for the student to introduce themself to me. The most important agenda of this session is to gauge the learning style of the student and tailor my tutoring to their needs. I also like to contact the student a few days prior to the session to ask if they have a specific topic to work on in mind already and prepare myself accordingly.
As a tutor, I think my primary goal is to provide my students with the tools and expertise to apply to their own examples and ideas. Every student has ideas and examples that are unique to them, and I intend to merely help them express those ideas. I will always encourage my students to share what they relate to the concepts and theories being taught, and help them identify the links to the course material in a clear way.
In a situation where the student is feeling unmotivated, I would encourage them to list their goals - short-term or long-term, to remind them of what they would achieve by continuing to work hard in the particular subject. Having successfully completed these subjects myself, I can also share my personal experience to help motivate my students.
I would first ask the student to try and explain the skill/concept to me to identify what exactly they are struggling with and explain those in much simpler terms. I will also look for alternative resources (eg: videos, graphics, podcasts, animations) that illustrate those skills or concepts, and make those a part of my lesson.
I would encourage my students to not get disheartened and identify the words that are confusing them. The key to acing a reading comprehension assignment is to know what is expected of you. The best strategy to solve those is to read the material once, then carefully read the questions, and then re-read the material with greater focus. Once the student reads and understands the questions, they can re-read the material with a clearer idea of what exactly they need to find in the reading. I will also spend a decent amount of time explaining the command terms to my students, to help them realize what is expected of them in the reading comprehension assignments.
The best strategy to start working with a student is to manage expectations and to really get to know what the student intends to achieve by the end of the tutoring session. Having a clear picture of these expectations will allow me to visualize a more realistic and accurate timeline so as to make the most of my sessions with the student.
I like to maintain a positive attitude and informal, casual tone with my students so as to make them feel more comfortable. If they are struggling with something, I will help them pinpoint the doubtful areas and then try to encourage the student to come to an answer in a more creative and organic way.
I believe that the official subject guides provided by the IB are like a Bible for the programme. Identifying the learning outcomes and going over the syllabus is the very first step to understanding the material. Additionally, I encourage the use of active recall techniques and answering questions from past papers.
I like to go over the course material in stages, building up to more difficult concepts once I've established a strong base. This strategy ensures that the course load never gets too overwhelming for them and they can easily move on to the more difficult parts of the subject.
I ask them direct questions about how they perceive what they are learning and what approaches they take to studying. Different students learn differently, some benefit from more visual stimuli while others from more auditory stimuli, for example. I try to gauge students' reactions to different types of stimulus and use that knowledge to evaluate their needs.
I try to provide adequate resources fitting the needs of the students (videos, articles, blogs, interactive websites, and so on). I also do not have any issues with giving detailed feedback on assignments, although I prefer if students send me their assignments prior to the session so I have enough time to give my comments.
I like to use Google Docs because it gives the advantage of editing with the changes being reflected in real-time. If the students have any specific requests for a specific website or application, I try my best to learn how to use it, if it benefits them.
My daughter loves the way Ms. Ranjika teaches her and we have decided to make another appointment for next lessons. Really helpful and give us clue how to make a good essay
I am so grateful have Miss Ranjika as my daughter’s tutor. Not just giving material, but also so many clues how to make a good essay. I don't know what to say if We didn't meet her. Thank you
Written By : Ranjika B.
For most, the Internal Assessments and Extended Essay are their first exposure to the nuances of academic writing. The IAs and EE are feared by many students, leading them to procrastinate on them and complete them at the very last second.
Newsflash - that is NOT A GOOD IDEA!
You should start thinking about your IAs and EE as early as possible, typically when you have covered some material in your subjects already. Yes, the first step in the process is STARTING EARLY. Now, that doesn’t mean you need to have a whole draft ready in your first semester. You need to plan and strategize.
Identify requirements and learning outcomes
First, understand what the assignment requires from you. This varies from subject to subject, but most IAs and EE are intended to sharpen the following skills →
Understanding the requirements and expectations for the assessments is very important, as it helps you identify what is expected of you. Familiarize yourself with the marking criterion and learning outcomes early on.
Introspect to identify a topic
Next, ask yourself the following questions -
The answers to these questions will give you some sense of direction and form a starting step to the writing process.
Effective planning and scheduling
The process of writing an IA or an EE can seem extremely intimidating, but it can be made easier by planning effectively and creating a schedule. Break down the task to the sum of its parts - for example, drafting the research question, data collection, preliminary research, creating an outline, writing the introduction, exploration, analysis, discussion, conclusion etc. Give yourself fixed deadlines for the same, making sure to take into account the deadlines set by your schoolteachers as well. As stated by Parkinson’s Law, "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” By giving yourself fixed deadlines and short amounts of time to complete each small task, you will accomplish a lot more and get ahead on the writing process.
Start reading and researching
Start general reading and research, to get some idea on the subject. Remember to be flexible, the first topic you think of won’t be what you end up writing your paper on at the end. Start by reading some EE and IA exemplars along with their marking criterion. Typically your teachers will share these with you. This is an important step to familiarize yourself with the requirements of the IA and EE. Now, start reading articles, books, research papers, etc. that give you a general idea of the topic.
TIP - Keep track of the articles you read in a separate document. This will help you with your citations and bibliography later in the process.
Speak to your teachers and coordinators
Schedule meetings with your teachers and coordinators. Discuss your plan and give a general overview of your ideas to them. They should guide you and help you understand if you are going in the right direction with your work. Once again, remember to remain flexible with your topic and change things in your plan if that is what you are guided to do.
To sum up, starting early and effective planning is the key to acing those internal assessments and extended essays. Remember to communicate your progress to your supervisors regularly and keep track of all the sources you reference right from the beginning. Don’t worry, nothing is as overwhelming as it appears!
Written By : Ranjika B.
For most IB students, the IAs and Extended Essay are their first exposure to academic writing. Some of the things that many struggle with are the high word counts, citing and referencing, specific styles, formats and structure; and of course, the research process. In this blog post, I will go over the steps to writing a perfect paper.
Choose a focused and specific topic
“The hardest part of any important task is getting started on it in the first place.” – Brian Tracy
The first step to writing a paper is to know what you are writing about. Unfortunately, the perfect topic will not pop into your head in your dreams while you sleep at night. To get an idea of what to write about, do some background reading (news articles, blog posts, academic papers, research reports, etc.) on the subject. Find out what interests you and what doesn’t. For example, you might find out that you are more interested in organic chemistry than any of the other sub-fields of chemistry.
Once you have an idea of the general area of research that interests you, narrow down on a focused and specific piece of research within that topic. Remind yourself of the scope of the assignment, frequently referencing the mark scheme and subject guides to inform yourself of the same. Narrow down the scope of your topic and frame it in terms of research question where required. Remember to be flexible, the topic can always change as you learn more information. This can happen due to many reasons – you learn new information that changes your original opinion, lack of reliable sources to refer to in your chosen topic or changes and developments in the subject that outlaw your original topic.
Begin the research process
Once you have some idea of your topic, start researching specific information on that subject. Make sure you understand what research method you need to follow. Some assignments, like the Global Politics Engagement Activity or the Group 4 Lab Experiments require you to conduct primary research. You may want to start framing interview questions, securing the materials and lab equipment for your experiment or seek out subjects for your study. For secondary research based IAs and EES, start collecting all possible sources, keeping track of them in a separate document or as web bookmarks to reference later on in the writing process.
The hardest part of the research process is knowing when to stop researching and when to start writing. Out of sheer curiosity or cluelessness, you may want to keep researching and delay the writing process. There won’t be a voice in your head telling you to start writing, but you do have strict deadlines to meet. It is useful to remind yourself that you can continue researching even while writing. It is time to stop researching when –
Write a rough draft
At this point, you will have a brief idea of the main argument that you want to make. You should start writing your paper. Each student has a different writing process, so do not be stressed if you discuss with your classmates and they already have a draft ready. You may want to start by creating a mind map or an outline to map the flow of the paper before you start writing. Get out a piece of paper, or open up your computer and start jotting down your ideas. Mind mapping is a good exercise to start with, as it shows you which parts of your though process flow well together and which ideas do not fit. However, some students prefer to start writing and edit the paper over multiple rounds. No matter which technique is suited to you, you should start writing a rough draft of your paper.
The introduction should have the main research question of the paper and give a rough overview of why this is a relevant topic to research, why it needs to be discussed and how you plan to answer the research question. Remember to re-write the introduction at the end of the writing process so as to better reflect what your paper is about. In the body paragraphs, provide different arguments and counterarguments. For Group 1,2 or 3 essays, you may want to use the PEEL Structure.
Point -> the claim that you are trying to make
Evidence -> the evidence to support the claim
Explanation -> explain how the evidence helps prove your claim
Link -> link back to the main research question to maintain the flow of writing
For Group 4 or 5 essays, you will typically be using charts, graphs, experimental proofs and so on that you will be analysing and discussing. Make sure to include tables of your raw data in your paper. Process the data into graphs or equations as required. While writing your paper, make sure to explain why you have collected this data, what trends or links the graphs depict and make inferences which link back to your main research question. For example, a student doing a Mathematics Investigation may want look at the correlation between height and running speed. This data can be used to generate a scatter plot. When writing the discussion, the student should refer to the value of the correlation coefficient as well as the scatter plot to explain what trend is being observed, and what that means.
Finally, the conclusion should re-state the main argument, briefly sum up all the arguments and inferences presented so far and an evaluation of the strengths, limitations and further scope of the investigation. You may use the conclusions of each body paragraph and rephrase them to form your conclusion. Remember that the first draft will never be perfect, and at this stage your goal isn’t perfection, but it is to have a draft of your ideas which you can structure, polish and format later.
Edit, Edit, EDIT
The hard part is now behind you. Read your draft, out loud if possible to check the flow. Make sure everything is concise and simply explained in very clear terms. Ensure that the arguments flow well together and are relevant to the main topic and research question. Complete multiple rounds of edits until you are happy with where everything has ended up. Do not be afraid to move around chunks of information to different paragraphs, where they fit better or eliminate unnecessary information. Finally, check for spelling and grammatical errors.
Citing and referencing
The final step to writing a perfect research paper is to include citations wherever you have quoted, paraphrased or borrowed an idea from someone else, Use the same citation style throughout the paper and create an alphabetised list of references or a bibliography at the end of your paper. If you have diagrams, charts or tables, ensure that they are adequately labelled, numbered and linked to the relevant appendices (if applicable).
And you’re done! So get yourself a warm cup of tea or coffee, sit at your workspace and get to work on your essay!
Written By : Ranjika B.
The dreaded question that plagues the minds of DPY1 students: “Which university do you plan to go to?” If you have absolutely no idea on how to start researching universities, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, I will outline the factors to consider when researching universities and various tools you can use to create a list of universities you wish to apply to.
Prioritize and make choices: Main factors to consider
The first step to researching universities is narrowing down on the choice of major. For some, this is a very easy step as they have a clear idea of what they want to study from an early stage. For others, this is extremely perplexing. Remember that you do not need to have a fixed plan for your college major right from the beginning. Try to identify the subjects that interest you and look up possible majors in that field. In the beginning, you may have many options that interest you. Narrow down the choice by considering the following factors →
Additional factors to consider
Create a list of schools
Taking into account all these factors, create a list separated into three columns:
Remember, this list can be long now, but narrow it down by the end of the academic year. It is also important to be realistic in setting your goals. Make sure to apply to at least one safety school so that you have something to fall back on in the event that you do not get into your desired university. It is always important to have a back up option. In order to identify your likely schools, check their admission requirements and see if you already have the required skills or if you can easily achieve them by putting in a little more effort
Tools to Find Universities
Now, you might be reading all these factors and worrying about where you can find this information. Luckily, there are many tools you can use to find the universities that you may apply to.
Start Gathering Relevant Experience
Now that you have some idea of which universities you would want to apply to, identify what these universities look for in their students by visiting their websites, speaking to current students and speaking to your school college counsellor. One useful tip for IB students is to use your CAS experiences in meeting those requirements. Some universities have a strong focus on extracurriculars and volunteering, and the CAS reflections you write for similar experiences will be very useful for you to write your application essays in the future.
Make sure that your IBDP subjects are in line with the admission requirements, for example, some university programmes require Mathematics HL or English HL, and also require a minimum grade in these subjects. If you feel that you require extra help in those subjects, consider getting a tutor to help you meet those admission requirements.
Finally, make friends with your teachers! It is difficult to understate the weight carried by the letters of recommendation in your university acceptance decision. If you are on your teacher’s good books, you are more likely to receive a positive letter of recommendation that will aid you in your application.
Good luck on your university search!
Written By: Ranjika B.
If you’re reading this blog post, you probably have your IAs due very soon. If you’ve made it so far and have a complete draft, CONGRATULATIONS! The hard part is behind you. With just a few flourishes and edits, you can finalize your IA for submission. In this blog post, I will guide you through proofreading, editing and structuring your IAs. I will provide you with an editing and proofreading checklist, so that you can rest assured that your IA is completely error free and can score a 7.
As Stephen King once said, “To write is human, to edit is divine.” The goal when you are writing your IA first drafts is to put down as many words as possible. Give yourself a pat on the back, because you have come so far in the process! With one complete draft in your hands, you can now move on to proofreading, editing and structuring your IAs. The exercise of simply polishing your IAs can take it from a low score to a 7.
Proofreading refers to critically reading your paper and identifying all sorts of errors and rectifying them. Do not try to proofread immediately after finishing your paper because your eyes will gloss over the mistakes and not be able to recognize them. Come back to your essay after a good night’s sleep, a cup of tea or coffee and a fresh pair of eyes. Read your paper, out loud or to another person if possible. The act of presenting your work to someone else will make you more critical of your writing. Try to view your work from multiple perspectives, and at every point and transition in your writing ask yourself “Does this argument provide a satisfactory answer to my research question?”
Asking yourself these questions are imperative to the proofreading process. Strive to answer a “yes” to all these questions. If by any chance you answered “no” to one of these questions, edit your paper until you have a yes.
Editing your IA
The proofreading steps should have allowed you to identify all errors and correct them accordingly. If you were missing the relevance or personal engagement, add sentences to cover those bases. If you identified any major content related errors, these are some examples of what you could do to fix them.
Structuring and Formatting Checklist
Once the major errors in argumentation are rectified, you can move on to make structural and formatting changes. Take the following steps to help you format and structure your IAs.
With these tips and checklists, you should be able to take a rough first draft and turn into a final submission IA! I wish you all the very best with finalizing your IAs.
Written By: Rashi S
Congratulations, this is the last mile! You will be done with the IB as soon as you pass your final exams. I would like to give you some ideas, advice, and tips for your final DP exams which I am sure will help you to pass them with flying colors.
Start Planning Early
Starting to plan early for your IB Exams is vital because it will largely determine how much time you have for studying and your study strategies. You must have mastered the skill of being organized due to your internal assessments and essays deadlines by now. You should apply this skill to make an exam schedule (highly recommended) as well; it will help you manage your time better and will put different elements into perspective. Make a schedule that will give each subject the right amount of time. Not every subject will require the same preparation (e.g. HL vs SL subjects and subjects you find easy vs. challenging), so know which ones you need to focus on the most. Some students prefer to start preparing for the exams they have first, whereas others prefer to start preparing for the exams they have at the end and finish off with the ones they have at the beginning. In short, formulating and following an exam schedule is recommended, and consider the elements discussed above when making one. Additionally, manage your time effectively in and out of exams. Make sure to have small breaks in between your study blocks in your exams schedule. Your mind cannot focus the whole time and you need to de-stress and clear it every couple of hours, to regain focus and recall information. Set a time limit for your break, a ten-minute break every 90 minutes or 1 hour 30 mins is effective and sufficient. Use the break to do something that will re-energize you without leading you to procrastinate, such as a short walk. You should go back to studying directly after your break without any excuses to putting studying off or thinking of how much is left. I like to use Google Calendar to make my schedule. Overall, be organized and manage your time well to have an effective review period before your exams.
Use the study techniques that you have found helped you in your previous exams and try the ones that I discuss here to help you retain the information that you are reviewing. First, now is not the time to study every topic as if you are studying it the first time. Trust yourself and that you have learned the topics several times enough, for you to do a quick review covering all topics of the subjects. Focus only on the topics which you find challenging. If you already finished your MOCK exams, use that feedback on them to see which areas you still need to improve and focus on them. Try the SQ3R Method, which is useful in helping you understand and absorb information faster. Moreover, ensure that you are doing spaced repetition. Several studies have consistently illustrated that spacing out learning is more effective than cramming. You can use tools such as flashcards to help you do this and most importantly, starting early is crucial, like the first section emphasizes. Next, dedicate time to solving exam papers. Utilize the question bank and ensure that you solve every paper (tip: focus mostly on the past papers of the last seven years from the current year; the IB syllabus changes every few years and thus, if you try and solve very old past papers, you may come across command terms and content that the IB no longer uses/teaches). Furthermore, solve past papers like your external exam with time constraints and resources you are allowed to take in for it, such as the formula booklet and calculator. Doing past papers makes you more familiar with the format of the questions, consequently making you speedier in solving them as well. This ensures that you have a clear understanding of the demands and implications of the question, along with effective time management skills needed to finish a paper within a limited duration. To summarize, use the study techniques that you have observed have worked successfully for you in the past, do spaced-out learning, and dedicate time to solve exam papers under conditions similar to those of the actual DP exams.
General Top Tips
It is necessary to take care of your mental and physical health especially before and during the exams. I recommend keeping the option of getting a tutor always open. When I was doing the DP, particularly in Y2, I often felt anxious due to the university application deadlines, the increase in the difficulty of the content, and so on. Therefore, I got many tutors at distinct periods of my DP journey to help myself with different subjects and for mentorship as well. Looking back at it today, they taught and gave me useful strategies and tips that contributed to the score I achieved. Getting a tutor before or during the exam period can be particularly helpful as he or she can teach and give you game-changing techniques and tips. This will aid you in clearing all your doubts, boost your confidence, and will help you maximize the points you score in your exams. Next, try and relax the night before your exam (e.g. with deep breathing exercises and positive self-talk). Although you may do a quick review or solve some questions, do not overdo the past papers the night before or last-minute. This can affect your self-confidence, leaving you feeling overwhelmed and panicked, which can negatively affect your performance on your exam. Ensure that you get enough sleep (6 – 8 hours) the night before your exam and that you have a good breakfast before you leave for it the next morning. This will help you perform better on your exam as sleeping well daily aids in strengthening memories that you have formed. Moreover, take it one exam at a time. Give every exam paper its share of focus, and do not dwell too much on an exam that you think you have not done well on (although, admittedly, this is easier said than done). Even though it is normal to feel upset when you do not do that well on one paper or subject, this should not consume your time and effort. You will still have other exams that will need your full attention. Stay motivated and give it your best. Remember that the grades will not be fully allocated based on the external examinations only, you will have your internal assessments as well. In brief, take care of yourself especially before and during the exam period by exercising, eating well, getting good sleep, do not overdo the past papers last minute as this can negatively impact your performance on the exam, and take it one exam at a time.
I would like to wish all candidates the best of luck in their upcoming IB examinations! Know that you have a bright future ahead of you if you believe in yourself and genuinely work for it. Keep calm and carry on!