5 Ways to Prepare Yourself for the IB Program


The IB (International Baccalaureate) program is for students from ages 3 to 19 years which challenges them to achieve and excel in both their academic and personal lives. It offers four main educational levels

  • Primary Years: for students from ages 3-12
  • Middle Years: for students from ages 11-16
  • Diploma Programs (DP): for students from age 16-19
  • Career-related programs (CP): designed for students from age 16-19

In this article, we will mainly discuss the IB diploma program preparation.

For the IB diploma programme students are required to take courses in 6 subjects within the curriculum:

Each subject has two levels- Higher level and Standard level. The difference between the two levels is in the breadth and depth of topics covered. Each student is recommended to take at least three but not more than four subjects at the higher level.

To earn an IB Diploma, students need to attend an IB approved school, take courses in all 6 subjects, pass the respective exams with the desirable grades and complete additional core requirements.

Learning the IB programme is not hard, but preparation for the exams require efforts that go beyond the academic routine. Students need to be prepared mentally and emotionally to take on all the tasks, all the time keeping in their minds, their capabilities, strengths, and limitations. It a mixed feel of uncertainty and anxiousness. There are different rumours and perceptions surrounding the IB programme and thus the students get intimated.

To get rid of this fear and guarantee success in the IB studies, here are some pointers to prepare the students for the pressure and expectations placed on them.


Choosing the Subjects Wisely and Carefully

The IB curriculum requires students to take up one subject from the six subject groups:

  • Language and Literature
  • Language Acquisition
  •  Humanities
  •  Sciences
  •  Mathematics
  •  Arts

IB courses and their exams are classified as Higher Level (HL) and Standard Level (SL). HL courses are more in depth compared to the SL and require a greater time commitment though the content covered is the same. Three of these subjects must be in Higher Level (HL), while the other three are in Standard Level (SL). The curriculum is then wrapped up by three compulsory core subjects, namely Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS), Extended Essay, and Theory of Knowledge which are graded.

Before you start your IB program, students are given time to select their preferred subjects. The students need to do their research and take their time and choose their subjects wisely and carefully. They also need to rely on various available resources and their teachers while choosing. In short, students should consider their interests, degree of proficiency, and the field of work they want to pursue when choosing the subjects. By choosing the appropriate set of subjects, students are choosing the ones that will help them reach their goals.


Organising the Subjects

After the students have finalised their IB subjects, they can consider organising or ranking them in terms

  • Difficulty level of the subjects – at least how the students predict them to be
  • Duration of the time to be spent studying them
  •  Favourite subjects/Familiar subjects

By predicting the difficulty level of each subject and anticipating the specific challenges, the transition to the IB program becomes easier as the students now have a clearer expectation of the overall studies.
Moreover, the students can now come up with various solutions and techniques to lessen the workload in the future.


Refreshing English Language and Keeping Up with the Second Language

For the students whose mother tongue is not English, the holidays are the perfect their English. The IB curriculum requires a lot of written work, so feeling confident in English speaking and writing skills is important. The students can use fun ways to strengthen their English and get their friends involved.

  • Conversing in English with a close friend on the phone or rather text him and get his help for any corrections
  • Watching English movies with no subtitles. Initially starting with a known film, then slowly getting to see new ones.
  •  Reading a book. As suggested earlier starting with a favourite English title, then moving to other titles
  •  Maintaining a diary and documenting the memories, thus enabling the writing skills needed for Essay writing

The fun ways of learning with close friends work the same way for the second language too. The students need to work with friends who have chosen the same language by conversing with them. This way helping and correcting each other builds confidence in the speaking skills for both.

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Taking up Some Extra-Curricular Activities

One of the core elements in the IB programme is CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service). This subject is what ensures students do not just excel in their academic studies, but in life as well. Choosing an extracurricular activity that a student enjoys makes him happy and relaxed, which is important for his well-being. The students won’t be graded in CAS, but they are expected to show personal and interpersonal growth through various activities beyond the classroom.

Therefore, the students can be one step ahead of your classmates by joining a club, taking part in community service, or exploring creative activities before school starts. This passion will immensely help them in the CAS projects.


Avoiding Attention to the IB Programme Rumours

There are many rumours and myths about the IB programme, but the most important thing to remember that all the rumours are true. The students will be able to have a social life and pursue their own interests and enjoy the years at school. The students need to put in little bit effort, stay focussed, committed, and organised. They should not let the rumours of the IB programme being difficult and strenuous, put them off.

Last but not the least the students need to get excited and stay that way about starting their IB programme journey. It is not only a means to a brilliant end considering how many top-ranking universities accept the IB curriculum as an admission criteria, but a way to truly develop the students’ knowledge, skills, and experience.


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How should one prepare mentally for the IB programme?

Acquire data or current events about the IB curriculum. Talk to the ex-IB student or take help from a teacher. Do a SWOT analysis which means Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Do a lot of practice and give mock exams. Etc. Thus, how one can prepare mentally for the IB programme.

How to succeed in the International Baccalaureate?

Stay attentive, enjoy learning, complete homework, and give proper time to study. Always try to complete work before the deadline, also join sports clubs for good health, and always plan ahead. Hence, this all can be done if a student is disciplined to the routine. Thus, one succeeds in the International Baccalaureate.

What needs to prepare for the IB before the first term starts, on its own?

First, one needs to evaluate the syllabus or content of each subject. Second, Look for the current and best books for the syllabus of that subject. Third, an analysis of the study material. And fourth, English may not have a structured textbook, especially in HL, therefore recommending making the way smarter. Use and utilize time effectively and efficiently. Thus, one needs to prepare for the IB before the first term starts, on its own.

What are the top skills required to ace IB?

Curiosity, Motivation, Autonomy, Collaboration, and Time management. Also, one should do a SWOT analysis. Thus, these are the top skills required to ace IB.

How many points are there in IB?

In addition to the 6 subjects, there are a  total of 3 primary points in IB. These are the Theory of Knowledge, The Extended Essay, and CAS (creativity, activity, service).


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