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What I've learnt in my first 2 weeks of the IB

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    I've always loved all my subjects, so the breadth of the IB seemed to be the right fit.

    However acclimatising to the IB - and the challenges it brings with it - caught me off guard in my first fortnight.

    Here are couple of things I've taken on board to cope with the hefty IB workload:

    - Prioritise your time

    Your core knowledge and ability across the 6 subjects will vary; you'll be ahead in one course and behind in another.

    So allocate your time wisely to subjects you're behind in or it will just build up into a mountain of stress.

    - Spread out your workload

    If you think you're going to get by with minimal effort, you're wrong. It's said IB is like the first year of university. So you can't bottle everything up into an all-nighter as many are guilty of during their GCSE years - myself included.

    That being said, don't dedicate every waking moment to the IB. Doing this is an inevitable recipe for all sorts of nasty stress-related illnesses and your concentration and productivity will diminish to the point where all the extra work
    will be wasted; a lesson I had the misfortune to experience first-hand.

    So don't overwork, but don't underwork. I put in around 4-5 hours every school-day and 8-10 hours across both Saturday and Sunday, culminating in a 35 hour + workweek.

    - Make an effort to understand information

    Lastly - but most importantly - understanding course material is essential. Reciting facts verbatim will not help you in the slightest and the exam questions will prey on rote learners.

    Just as I've learned course content, I've also learnt about how to learn and I think this will be key if I'm ever to be successful in the IB.

    The best way to learn is to approach each subject as a series of interconnected, rather than isolated systems as rote learners do.

    If you can't see how one concept relates to another concept, you won't be able to apply that concept: simple as that.

    There are two ways to make a subject into a cohesive whole.

    1. Make an effort to understand information. If you can't explain a concept confidently to a friend, you haven't learnt it properly. Spend a few minutes or even a few hours really coming to grips to what that information really means - be it as big as a complex model or as small as a single word.

    2. Chunk information into groups. This shows you can interpret how information fits together.

    Processing syllabus content with these two techniques will make your life as an IB student a great deal easier.

    So those were a few tips about how to survive your IB years from someone who really still has a lot to learn about the programme. If anyone has anything else to add, please share your tips or thoughts in the comments below.

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Updated: September 17, 2016
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