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IBDP Alumna (graduated in May 2021), Scored 40/45, Teaches SL/HL Psychology (scored 7) and French Ab Initio (scored 6 In French B SL), Currently pursuing BSc in Political Science (Specialization: International Relations and Organizations) at Leiden University-The Hague, Netherlands.
I am able to help students with the IAs of both SL/HL Psychology and French Ab Initio as well! All IB subjects that I took: (HL) Psychology, History, English Language & Literature. (SL) French B, Math AI and Biology. I am passionate about helping students navigate through their IB journey and in helping them achieve their fullest potential. Committed to aiding them in building their own study-strategies, giving them tips and advice, and providing them with useful resources. I strongly believe that students can ace Psychology, French Ab Initio, and the DP overall with the right mindset, environment, and understanding of the what the subject requires. I look forward to tutoring and helping you excel in your IB journey!
Leiden University, The Hague, Netherlands
BSc Political Science (Specialization: International Relations and Organizations)
International School of Turin (IST), Italy- May 2021
Staying organized is a skill that you will need and continue to develop for and during the IB DP as it is needed in university and throughout life. It is crucial to stay organized to do well academically, use your time effectively, and for your mental health. Some benefits of staying organized are that you can ensure that you meet deadlines, increase your productivity, and reduce stress, out of many others. In this blog, we go over the three keys which will enable you to manage your workload more effectively in the IB DP: taking good notes, time management, and stress management.
It is necessary to take good notes as that is what will help you keep track of what topics you have covered, absorb and retain information, and score well on your assessments. Managing the IB DP’s workload can get challenging at times because of the several, and often, back-to-back deadlines. If you do not take notes, it is possible that you can forget what topic or concept has been covered in a particular subject and that you can start to confuse it with topics or concepts that have been covered in other subjects, as they sometimes overlap within diverse topics in the same subject and between different subjects. Hence, take notes so that you are aware of the content that has been covered in each subject and to avoid confusion. Additionally, taking good notes will enable you to absorb information faster as multiple scientific studies have demonstrated that active recall (writing notes, repeating it out loud, etc.) is more effective than passive recall (highlighting your textbook). Thus, taking good notes is essential as it will help you retain information, which will consequently enable you to score well on your assessments and review efficiently for your exams.
Next, time management will help you stay organized in the IB DP because it will help you focus better, increase the quality of your work, and give you more free time. Organize your workplace in a way that motivates you to study. For example, keep your phone out of sight during your study session so that you are not tempted to use it and so that its sound notifications do not disrupt your concentration. Planning effectively will also aid you manage your time well. For instance, plan your day the night before so that you already have a structure to your day when you wake up the next morning. This is a strategy that will enable you to get things done, leaving you with a feeling of accomplishment. Moreover, it ensures that you are investing your time and effort into activities that will contribute to your long-term goal.
Finally, stress management is vital to stay organized, healthy, and accomplish your goals. In general, adolescence years along with academic pressure can often be stressful. Nevertheless, if you constantly and consistently find yourself feeling drained, sad, anxious or any other negative feeling, try to identify the problem that is causing that negative feeling and act to combat it accordingly. For example, you can do various breathing exercises and even seek psychological help if necessary. As for academic stress, I highly recommend that you keep the option of getting a tutor open. When I was doing the DP, particularly in Y2, I often felt anxious due to the university application deadlines, the increase in difficulty of the content, and so on. Therefore, I got many tutors at different time periods of my IB DP journey to help myself with different subjects and for mentorship as well. Looking back at it today, they definitely taught me useful strategies and gave me valuable tips that contributed to the score I achieved in the IB.
To conclude, staying organized is a vital skill for the DP, university, and life. You can try to stay organized effectively by developing your skills in the three main pillars discussed in this blog and by following the suggestions that were given. Overall, staying organized will not only reduce your stress levels and help you achieve higher grades, but will enable you to become goal-oriented, aid you grow intellectually, and cultivate fulfilling relationships.
Goal setting is an essential skill that students should master, not only for the IB DP but because it is beneficial in the long run as well (e.g., for university, the work world, and so on). Goal setting will guide your focus and give you a better sense of time management. For instance, it will make you reflect on whether you are spending your time, effort, and in some cases, money, on the right things. It will push you to ask yourself: “Will this action of mine contribute to the goal I want to achieve/Will it help me become the person I would like to be in the future?). Furthermore, it will help you measure your progress and boost your confidence, consequently, aiding you sustain the momentum of your life.
Redefining “Goal Setting”
Everyone wants to write a best-selling book, be a billionaire, or win an Olympic gold medal. Thus, having goals is, in fact, the easy part. The real challenge is your willingness to accept the sacrifices required to achieve your goal. Therefore, instead of asking yourself, “What do I want to achieve/What does success look like to me?” ask yourself “What kind of pain do I want?” Everyone wants to achieve an Olympic gold medal; a few of us want to train like an Olympian.
Know about SMART Goals
Specific: real numbers and deadlines
Measurable: trackable goal so you can measure progress
Attainable: must be within your scope
Relevant: aligns with your long-term objective
Time-Bound: goal must have a deadline
For more information about how to set SMART Goals, click here.
Goal Setting Steps
Eliminate some of your other goals (focus on one goal at a time).
Write down the date of when you are goal setting.
Think about the result you want to see.
Write down your goal accordingly.
Ensure that it meets the SMART Goal Criteria; if not, edit them so that they do.
Create an action plan (write down each individual step that you need to take to achieve that goal and set deadlines for it).
Act on the action plan (make a checklist to break down the individual steps and start completing the tasks, if that helps).
Keep track of your progress.
Assess your goal.
Once you have reached the goal, continue the practice of goal setting!
Tips for Goal Setting
Align your Environment with your Goals:
Although most of us have the freedom to make a wide range of choices at any given moment, we often make decisions based on the environment we find ourselves in. For example, if you leave your phone on your desk while you are studying, then checking your phone every few minutes becomes the default decision. On the other hand, if you place your phone in another room during your study session, although you possess the capability of getting up, going into the room your phone is in, and then using it, you are unlikely to do so, because you are surrounded by easier alternatives. In this case, not checking your phone is the default decision, the easy decision. Thus, ensure that your environment is organized in a manner that motivates you to achieve your goals.
Visual Cues (The Paper Clip Strategy):
Have a jar full of anyone small objects (marbles, paper clips, etc.) and put it into the second jar each day once you complete the individual step to achieve your goal. For instance, I currently hold a DELF B2 in French and would like to sit for the DALF C1 exam soon. Thus, to improve my French, my goal is to listen to a French podcast every day. When I finish listening to the podcast on that day, I put a small paper ball in another jar from the one that is full. This strategy helps create a visual trigger that can motivate you to perform a habit with more consistency.
Conclusively, goal setting is a crucial skill for effective organization, staying motivated, and time and stress management. It will enable you to accomplish the things you care about and are passionate about within a reasonable period. Overall, goal setting will allow you to broaden your horizon and therefore we recommend you commence doing it today and follow through!
To understand what to expect in IB DP Y2, we first need to understand what the purpose of IB DP Y1 is. Therefore, let us discuss the nature and purpose of IB DP Y1 before outlining what to expect in IB DP Y2 and how you can prepare for it.
Purpose of IB DP Y1:
The aim of Y1 is to familiarize students with the DP overall and its particularities. For instance, the IB core points, grading system, and so on, as several students often only do the DP and not the earlier programs of the IB. Next, your school will teach you most of the content in all of your subjects in DP Y1 (around 70%). This will allow you to cover the remaining content in Y2 and focus on the IAs, MOCK Exams, and revision for the final DP Exams. Covering most of the content in Y1 is useful as you will consequently have a wide range of topics that you can choose from in Y2 to do your IAs and EE on, depending on your school’s internal deadlines calendar. In essence, Y1 will familiarize you with the DP, enabling you to understand the educational system better and setting you up for Y2.
Now that you understand what the purpose of Y1 is, I focus on these three main points in the blog post.
IA, EE, and CAS Deadlines
University Application Deadlines
Preparing for MOCKS and Final Exams
After discussing each point, I write a subsequent paragraph advising you how you can prepare for it starting now.
IA, EE, and CAS Deadlines
Get prepared to have a back-to-back and a multitude of deadlines. Your school-based coordinator is often the one that submits the students’ IAs and EE, for example, to the IB. The IB Guide mentions that it is recommended that schools create their own internal deadlines calendar to meet the official IB deadlines. Therefore, almost surely, your school will have an internal deadlines calendar that they will share with you at the beginning of Grade 12. You will receive updated versions of it from the school as the school year passes, circumstances change, and things progress. The deadline calendars will contain various IA and EE deadlines, the TOK essay, the CAS Project, and so on. The TOK Essay titles will be released in September. Hence, your TOK class time will solely be dedicated to writing the essay as the official IB deadline for its submission is in March. Good news: after the TOK Essay submission, you will be done with that subject and therefore you will not have to attend it anymore (the course is finished). Overall, although in Y2 you will feel some pressure, you will continue to learn to develop significant skills such as finding and employing good study techniques, staying organized, and time and stress management.
How you can Prepare
I would like to recommend you do as many CAS activities as you can in the first year to fulfill its requirements (the outcomes that you need to meet) and complete the CAS Project in Y1 as well. Although you will need to continue to do CAS in Y2 (it is supposed to be an ongoing component until the completion of the DP), it is valuable to get it done in Y1, because Y2 will truly be packed. I completed my CAS Project in the Y1 summer break and it certainly helped ease the workload for Y2. As for how you can prepare for your IAs and EE, check out our detailed webinar on it.
University Application Deadlines
Y2 will have most of the university application deadlines that you need to meet. Most students will apply to more than one university and therefore you need to be aware of the different university application deadlines as they differ from country to country. It is crucial to prioritize the applications because if you miss the deadline, you will not have a second chance. You will have to wait for the upcoming year to apply.
How you can Prepare
The best way to start preparing for it now is to think about the course that you would like to study and the place that you would like to go for further education. For example, would you like to stay closer to home and apply to universities in the same country or do you want to go abroad and experience living by yourself? If you already have a good idea of what course you would like to pursue in the future, take a step further and shortlist universities that you would like to apply to. Check the university’s requirements on their websites (e.g. 7 in HL Chemistry) and try to meet its requirements if you do not yet. Nevertheless, if you find yourself completely puzzled about which path you would like to pursue in the future, I recommend that you get career counseling. I was unsure about what I wanted to do in the future and thus my parents recommended to me that I get career counseling. I did it online, and it was helpful in making my choice. I currently study International Relations and Organizations at Leiden University–The Hague. After you take these steps and have a decent idea of what you would like to study, do activities that will help you in application building. Many universities will ask you to make a CV and all universities like candidates that are all-rounded. Although having good grades is essential, it is not enough. Thus, the sooner you have an idea of what you would like to pursue in the future, the sooner you can try and meet its requirements if you do not yet and start application building, increasing your chances of being accepted into your dream university.
Preparing for MOCKS and Final Exams
Your DP Y1 Winter Break will mostly be dedicated to studying for your MOCKS and editing some of your IAs. After the MOCK Exams, deadlines for other IAs and the TOK Essay will be present as they need to be submitted by the school to the IB.
How you can Prepare:
You can do simple things to prepare for Y2 now, which will go a long way in helping you succeed in Y2. For example, organize your notes in DP Y1. I did this in my Summer Break of Y1; it enabled me to start studying my notes and retain the content better. Next, genuinely prepare for the MOCK Exams and treat them like the Final IB DP Exams. Although they do not have a direct impact on your predicted grades or university applications, treating the MOCK Exams like the final DP Exams is beneficial. This is because it will give you a better idea of your strong and weak subjects, which of your study techniques work and which do not, and so on. In short, taking the MOCK Exams seriously will allow you to use what you learned when preparing for them and their results to prepare accordingly for your Final IB DP Exams. Use this to practice now when you can, for the MOCK and Final Exams (tip: download some Past Papers in advance as the website does not work sometimes). The more you are familiar and habituated to the IB style questions, the easier the exams will be for you (doing past papers for Language B SL reading comprehension was particularly helpful for me). Overall, organize your notes so that you can efficiently and effectively study them, prepare well for the MOCK Exams, and continue doing past papers to prepare for Y2.
To conclude, although Y2 can seem overwhelming at first glance, with the right techniques and mindset, you can undoubtedly excel in it. Try harder to develop good habits from now on, such as fixing your sleeping schedule and staying organized. Start your DP Y2 with a positive attitude, and stay motivated by reminding yourself of the required DP score you need to get into your dream university. Doing these things will set you up for a successful Y2 and IB Score!
The IB DP Y1 is simply preparing you for DP Y2. Although Y1 may already feel like you have a lot of work to do or for some, or it may be more laid-back for others, Y2 is when the workload, deadlines, and pressure starts to kick in. Therefore, already trying to consistently develop the skills to help you stay afloat in the DP and excel in it is a great idea. As for those that are already in Y2, I hope this blog post sparks new ideas in you and aids you in sharpening, modifying, and/or motivating you to continue with the skills that you use as you come to finish your DP journey in just a few months.
Stay Organized Staying organized is a crucial skill that you need to develop for the IB DP and to reduce your stress. To start with, organize your workplace in a manner that motivates you to study. For example, do not keep your phone on your desk when you are studying. I usually study at home and leave it in a different room during my study sessions so that it does not distract me. Furthermore, keep your room clean. The benefits of having a tidy room are that you will have clearer thoughts and it will help you start your mornings peacefully, out of many others. Nevertheless, it is important to choose your study place wisely. If you think that you do not study well at home, try going to a public library or cafe instead. Next, choose to take digital or handwritten notes depending on what suits the subject. I used to take digital notes (on google docs) for subjects such as History and Psychology, which are writing-based. However, I used to take handwritten notes on subjects such as Math AI which is calculation-based, and French B SL, for example. You can experiment with diverse note-taking apps and methods (the outline, cornell, mapping method, etc.) to see what works the best for you and make your choice accordingly. I would like to recommend you to keep a binder in which you can keep your teacher’s marked assignments or essays to see his or her feedback on it. This is particularly useful for essay-based subjects as they often do not have objective answers and are based on structure, argumentation, interpretation, and so on. Ask for clarification if your teacher’s handwriting is illegible or if you do not understand the feedback. Keeping it and reading over it may help you notice patterns on aspects that you should improve on. This can be significant in helping you achieve a higher grade in the next assignment if you act on the feedback accordingly. Looking back, I did not do this often enough and I think it would have made my IB journey easier if I had. In brief, stay organized to reduce your stress so that you can manage the workload of the DP better. Feel free to check this blog post out, for more detailed tips and tricks on how to stay organized in the IB DP.
It is essential to develop good time management so that you can handle the DP workload smartly, and not the hard way. First, without going into much detail into this because it is pretty self-explanatory…: pay attention during class and take notes. Next, do goal-setting; check out our blog post that tells you exactly why and how you should do this. A significant part of goal-setting is planning early. For instance, planning the next day the night before is essential as that will give you a structure to your day when you wake up the next morning. Make weekly schedules to slot in meetings, study sessions, extracurricular activities, and hangouts. This will enable you to manage your time more effectively because you will be able reflect on what you are spending your time and effort on and for how long. You can also decide to change it to make better use of of your time. Make to-do lists for one-time tasks (my favorite app for this is Google Keep) as well. Moreover, if you are still in DP Y1, I would like to highly recommend you to complete your CAS Project in DP Y1. I finished my CAS Project in the summer break of Y1; DP Y2 was truly packed and thus it helped ease some pressure on me in Y2. Finally, despite all your efforts, the DP can get stressful. Hence, 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 different 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. Overall, developing good time management is necessary to help you achieve your goals and give you direction in your life.
Stress management is vital to manage the workload of the DP, to accomplish your aspirations, and stay healthy. To stay mentally healthy, you first need to be physically healthy. Therefore, start exercising regularly if you do not already. You can go to the gym, engage in a sport, go jogging, the choices are endless! I do not like exercising that much, however, I recognize that it is crucial. Therefore, I cycle to my university (10.4 km every day; 5.2 km going to university and 5.2 km coming back home). It is enjoyable and makes me appreciate my neighborhood and sometimes the weather, and helps me feel more relaxed. Physical activity helps pump up your endorphins (the feel-good chemicals in your brain), it is meditation in motion (after exercising, you may often find that you have forgotten the day’s irritations and concentrated only on your body’s movements) and it improves your self-confidence and mood. In general, adolescence years along with academic pressure can often be stressful. Nevertheless, if you constantly and consistently find yourself feeling drained, sad, anxious, or any other negative feeling, try to identify the problem that is causing that negative feeling and act to combat it accordingly. You can first try to use general techniques such as exercising regularly, deep breathing, journaling, and writing down three things that you are grateful for every day and try to see if that works. Nevertheless, if you think the problem is getting out of hand, do not be afraid to ask for help. If you have a school psychologist, I recommend reaching out to them. When I was in school, I often went to them and it was helpful; they can give you techniques to deal with not only academic stress but help you with other aspects of your life too. For instance, with family problems, friendships, and how to get more comfortable with yourself. The difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist is that psychologists treat less severe conditions (learning difficulties, anxiety, and mild cases of depression) whereas psychiatrists treat more complex mental health disorders. Thus, generally, psychologists treat conditions that do not require medication. Going to your school psychologist can be beneficial also because they can refer you to someone else before it is too late if they think that you need more help. If your school does not have a school psychologist, I recommend talking to your general practitioner and they will most likely be able to refer you to someone. In short, taking care of your mental health is essential for your daily life so that you can have a positive attitude, enabling you to accomplish your goals.
To conclude, although the DP workload can often get overwhelming, with the right understanding of the nature of the subjects that you take, management techniques, and mindset, you can undoubtedly ace it. I would like to wish you luck in your DP journey, regardless of whether you are in Y1 or Y2. Know that you have a bright future ahead og you if you believe in yourself and genuinely work for it. Keep calm and carry on!
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