One of the main objectives of high school is to prepare students for higher education. They need to deepen their knowledge in different subjects and teach them to be autonomous in their learning.
Among others, most high school pathways included various assessment activities and exams to evaluate the students' knowledge and to accustom them to the exam format, which is widely used in most universities in the world.
The most common high school pathway offered by most schools in New Zealand is NCEA, a three-year diploma set by the New Zealand Ministry of Education. However, that is not the only option students have. Other possibilities include CAIE and the IB diploma, both aimed at international studies.
You can get more tips about high schools pathways in our article.
CAIE is basically the international version of the UK high school diploma, even though it includes a wider choice of courses to meet the local demand in each country where it's offered.
The IBDP (International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme) was, on the other hand, created by a group of international educators in Switzerland, as an international education programme for students all over the world.
In this article, we will look at the particular features of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme in more detail and talk about the best ways to succeed in its exams to enter the university of your dreams.
When can students choose the IB?
The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme is an alternative high school pathway that is available for New Zealand students in year 12, which means that they need to complete the first level of NCEA in year 11 first.
That feature constitutes a major difference between the IB diploma and the CAIE pathway. The latter starts with the IGCSE in year 11 and so, takes all three years of high school.
Once a student has started the IGCSE, it would be difficult to switch back to NCEA if they wanted to. With the IB, on the other hand, students can take NCEA courses in year 11 and make their choice later on depending on their preferences and results.
You can learn more about NCEA exams in our article.
That can be advantageous for them as it gives them an additional year to make up their mind about what specialisation to choose and whether they want to pursue their education in a New Zealand university or abroad.
NCEA level 1 also serves as an indicator as to whether students are ready to take up the IB. It is generally considered more challenging than NCEA or CAIE, so most schools require Merit and Excellence credits in year 11.
What subjects does the IB consist of?
Another unique feature of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme is its curriculum. Similarly to other pathways, the IB offers a wide range of high-school-level courses, from which students need to choose six. However, that's not all.
In addition to high school subjects, the IB includes three special requirements meant to develop creativity and analytical skills in students to better prepare them for higher education. These include CAS, TOK and the extended essay.
CAS stands for creativity, skills and service and includes a wide variety of activities that students need to attend for about 3 to 4 hours per week. They don't receive grades for those activities but their attendance is compulsory to get the IB diploma.
TOK is the abbreviation for Theory of knowledge and is one of the main components of the Diploma Programme. It has to be attended by all IB students and has as its objective to introduce them to research methods, and epistemology and boost their critical thinking.
The TOK grades are made up of an externally assessed essay grade and a presentation made in class. The course encourages students to read a lot of materials and can be of great help to pass the exams in other subjects.
You can read about IGCSEs in more detail in our article.
Finally, the extended essay is a long university-style written work (of approximately 4000 words) that needs to be done during the IB years in a subject chosen from a list.
To complete their essays, students will need to read and analyse information from different sources throughout the year and will learn to structure their texts in a logical way to defend their arguments.
How are the main six IB subjects chosen?
Aside from the three compulsory IB requirements, we have just mentioned, IB students need to choose six high school-level courses they want to take.
All IB subjects are divided into six groups: Studies in language and literature, Language acquisition, Individuals and Societies, Experimental Sciences, Mathematics, and the Arts. They cover all major fields of knowledge in which students may want to specialise in high school and afterwards.
The student will need to choose one subject from each of the first five groups and add an optional course from any of the six groups.
All IB-level disciplines are evaluated through internal and external assessment assignments that students need to complete during the year as well as end-of-year exams.
Private tutors can also help you prepare for AS levels.
The student will be graded on a scale of one to seven for each subject, apart from CAS. They will need to receive over 24 points for their subjects, pass the three compulsory requirements and meet other criteria, such as taking a certain number of Higher Level and Standard Level courses.
If all those conditions are fulfilled, the student will be delivered their IB diploma and can apply to a New Zealand or an international university with it.
Preparing for IB assessments exams
As you can see, the IB programme is very intensive, as it includes a big number of academic subjects along with other compulsory activities. That means that even good students need to work hard to obtain the IB diploma with good grades and get access to higher education.
As a result, it is advisable for them to start revision as early as possible to take care of both current assignments and final exams.
Of course, most activities done in a course during the school year are somehow related to the end-of-year exam and help students develop all the necessary skills. Still, we may naturally be more comfortable with some kinds of tasks than others and need additional practice.
A good example is the IB foreign language course. Independently of the language they choose, students will need to meet high assessment standards requiring a good level of spoken and written proficiency.
When we learn a language, we tend to forget certain words and constructions while memorising others, so maintaining a good level of skills for the exam is only possible through constant revision.
The same applies to numerous other IB subjects in which students need both good analytical skills and a good level of factual knowledge.
In return, if you organise well your revision during these two years and pass each IB exam, you will be perfectly ready for higher education in any international university and will have a great career in front of you.
When do IB final exams take place in 2022?
Given the amount of work each IB student has to face, it is crucial to know when IB final exams take place, so you can plan your revision in advance.
In 2022, the November IB session will begin on October 21 and last until November 10. In 20 days, students will have to sit over 6 different exams which can be quite exhaustive.
Due to the high pressure during the exam period, it is better not to leave your revision until the last minute because you will need to rest between exams and the gaps may be pretty short.
On the other hand, if you have already revised all your course material before the exam period starts, you can just go through the main concepts before each exam. That way, you will have enough time to restore energy and deliver at the top of your abilities in each exam.
Overcome difficulties with the help of private Superprof tutors
When a student takes such a loaded education programme as the IB, it is natural that they may have difficulties with one subject or another. What's important however is that they shouldn't fall behind in any course.
In some cases, supplementary revision can be enough to get back on track and continue studying according to plan. In others, the difficulty may prove too serious, so the student will need additional help to catch up.
The place where you can get such help is Superprof. On 0ur website, there are numerous profiles of qualified high school tutors in different subjects who can explain the most difficult topics to you and assist you in revision for exams.
Thanks to our search tool, you can find a tutor familiar with the IB format who will provide you with the right kind of support.
You can decide on the number of classes your take per week and the topics you work on together. Your tutor will help you grow confidence in the subject and your grades will constantly improve.
You can earn excellent A-level grades with a Superprof tutor.
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