The Simple Guide to Effective Time Management in the IB DP

Written By IB ++ tutor Rashi S.

Why is time management important?

Time management is a crucial skill that IB students need to develop to keep up with the workload of seven subjects and CAS, manage their social life, university applications (esp. for DPY2) and much more. Time management is essential for a multitude of reasons. First, it helps you to focus better on your classes and enables you to be more productive, which increases the quality of your work. It also gives you more free time as it allows you to compartmentalize your life; this helps with stress management as it reduces anxiety and makes you feel relaxed. Finally, time management is one of the most desirable skills for employment!

Now, let us talk about how to do effective time management.


Planning is essential for time management as it gives structure to your day, gives you ideas about what needs to be completed, and make you feel accomplished when the tasks are done. The first step to planning well is taking good care of your physical and mental health; you need to get good sleep, stay hydrated, exercise, and eat well. Although several students claim that they work better during the night compared to in the day, I highly recommend fixing your sleep schedule (sleeping at night for at least 6-8 hours) and working during the day. This is how school functions too — if you work at night and have to wake up early the next day for school, you will be sleep-deprived, and thus it is unlikely that you will be able to pay attention in class.

Next, start your day early and plan the activities for your day the day before as that will enable you to be the most productive. For example, make a to-do list about what needs to be done for the next day the night before and start working on it the next day; once you complete the tasks, you will be able to see how much you got done. This will make you feel accomplished and motivate you to continue with the good habits. Furthermore, try to make a brief weekly schedule to foresee how your week will be; include meetings, deadlines, and even hang outs in that schedule so you can manage your assignments accordingly.

Finally, choose an appropriate place to study to maximize your productivity. If you are someone that cannot study in your room, going to a library would be a good option. It will keep most distractions out of sight and seeing others work will motivate you too to focus. However, if you are someone that does not need a work/relaxation place separation, studying in you room can be beneficial. Lastly, going to a café can be good for you if you think that minimal noise in the background helps you concentrate the most. Therefore, choose the workplace that works best for you to make the most use of your study session!


Organization is essential for putting your plan into action. Keep your workplace tidy and organize it with the materials (e.g. water bottle, pencil case, your notes, etc.) before commencing your study session. This will prevent you from getting up every few minutes and will save you from wasting time. Next, often many teachers give handouts and worksheets to students; keep a binder for these so that you do not lose them and can refer to them in the future if needed. Notably, keep your teacher’s feedback (e.g. graded summative history essay you get back); read and comprehend the feedback and ask for clarification if you do not understand your teacher’s handwriting or comment. Doing this is crucial as keeping that feedback in mind and using it in your next assignment will help you achieve a higher grade.

Beating procrastination

Now that you have understood the importance of time management, how to plan, and all about organization, procrastination is something that can get in the way; tackle this and you are on your way to getting perfect scores in the DP! First, keep any distractions out of sight during your study sessions (e.g. leave your phone in a different room) so that there are no disruptions in your concentration. Next, follow the type of study session durations that work best for you (e.g. 1 hour with 15 mins break before the next hour or working for 20 mins and a 5 mins break?); this will enable you to retain the most information. Finally, know what to prioritize; you can do this by using the Eisenhower Decision Matrix. This is a tool that will enable you to distribute appropriately your time and effort into tasks.

To conclude, time management is necessary not only for the DP, but a skill that is needed in the long run as well. Mastering it will not only enable you to earn higher grades but will allow you to invest your time in things that you are passionate about, perpetuate intellectual growth, and help you cultivate fulfilling relationships.

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