Quick IB Tips

  • Finish CAS in year 1. Do most of it in the early months when the work load is less
  • Complete the first draft of your EE by September of Year 2. Obviously the earlier done, the better. Just don’t let it drag on to the second year because you’ll be busy with uni applications, IAs and studying.
  • Don’t take TOK too seriously. Have fun, debate ideas, question your teacher.
  • Don’t neglect what you’ve learned in TOK. Keep your notes because they’ll come in handy when you have to write your essay.
  • Do lots of past papers. Get used to the exam style. Even if you know your stuff, the mark schemes are really specific and you only get points if you answer the question properly. Don’t just regurgitate.
  • If you really need to pull an all-nighter for your IAs, do it. Your IA grades count a lot. Do whatever you can to get the highest mark, because if you screw up on exam day, your IA grade will save you. Sure, you’ll be tired the next day. Just drink coffee to make it less stressful. Warning: I really do not recommend doing this too often, because it interferes with your learning the next day. Only do this when absolutely necessary. 
  • Don’t pull all-nighters if you’re trying to cram. You’ll think slower, make bad decisions and probably fall asleep during the test.
  • Start thinking about your math IA topic ASAP.  You need to investigate something that you’re ~passionate~ about, is specific and is beyond your current level. Do it early because you will have to adjust it a lot.
  • Bullshit some childhood story in your math IA. I did mine on ‘The 4 Bug Problem’ and said I was “fascinated with the behaviour of insects ever since I started collecting beetles as a child.” I made all of that up, but I got full marks for personal engagement. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt to sprinkle in an exclamation mark or two! 
  • Speak your foreign language as much as possible. Even if you know all your vocabulary and grammar rules, they won’t be as useful to you if you can’t speak naturally.
  • Give your friends questions to ask you for presentations. For the IOP, TOK presentation, etc. Give them questions that you already know the answer to so it’ll make you seem like you really know your shit. Also, if you get enough people to do this, it’s most likely that your teacher won’t have time to ask you his/her questions, so you won’t have to be put on the spot.
  • If you’re studying for your IOC, study key quotes. With the exception of poems, because you should study the whole thing. Your teacher will probably pick out famous quotes from your text for the IOC, since a lot more analysis can be done. Search these up on Google and study what other people have to say about them. 
  • For English, never tell the reader what the text is about. That’s not what the examiners are looking for. They want to see how well you can use your knowledge of literary terms and apply it to the text. A fool-proof structure you can use is:
    • Point - Your main idea 
    • Example - Give minimum 2 examples from the text that illustrates your point 
    • Explain - State the literary technique used for each example, as well as the effect it creates
    • Mini-conclusion - Briefly tie your explanation up with your main idea, then relate it back to the question
  • You don’t have to read all the texts for English. It’s probably best to read the ones for Paper 2 and the IOC. However, for your IOP and written assignment, read the synopsis of your selected texts, pick the one that interests you the most, read that, then study the hell out of it. Don’t neglect the other texts entirely, but just read through their Schmoop page, or something.
  • Don’t rely on the revision guide for everything. They cover the bare minimum. Only use it once you’ve understood the topic.
  • Don’t slack off in Year 1. If you’re applying anywhere outside the US, universities will look at your predicted grade, which is affected by your performance in Year 1. Work consistently hard from beginning to end.
  • Cry if you have to. Take 5 minutes off to have a nice cry. Then get back to work.
Citing Help!

I know it’s pretty much the end of homework for awhile (yeah!) but here’s a nifty tip on citing sources straight off of Google!

Step 1: Google the article/book/poem title into Google scholar. 

Step 2: Click ‘cite’ at the bottom of the result

Step 3: Copy whichever form of the citing into your document

It’s that easy! :) Hope this helps for any future papers! 


Here it is, my first *official* post as a studyblr! I’m currently at that awkward stage of summer where you’ve got nothing better to do except wait for the new school year to roll around, so I thought now would be the right time to do a little reflecting. Here I’m going to share with you what I would have done differently as an IB student. Hopefully you’ll find this useful!

FYI: I took HL bio, chemistry and math; SL English lit. A, French B and economics 

Rely less on past papers: Don’t get me wrong, I still think they’re total life-savers and if I could go back in time I definitely wouldn’t have done any less, but focus more on consolidating the theory before diving straight into the papers. Also, for subjects like math, although it is important to familiarise yourself with the difficulty of the exam by doing past paper questions, it’s also important to save some questions (preferably the harder ones) to complete a few weeks before the exam! If you want more practice, I recommend doing the hardest questions in the textbook (don’t waste your time with the easy questions unless you have difficulty grasping the concept).

Start your IAs immediately: I know the science syllabi have changed and I’m not exactly sure about the details, but this tip should apply to all subject groups regardless. I’m not saying you have to complete all your IAs in one night, but I recommend making a plan of action for tackling your IAs as soon as your teacher gives you a deadline/details about the IA. This way, the information will be fresh in your memory and you’ll give yourself more time to make a plan, construct and edit your IA to secure a top grade. Try your best with the IAs because this is something that you do have full control over. You never know if something might go wrong on exam day - your IA grade will save your ass!

Finish CAS in Year 1: Unfortunately for me, my CAS dragged into Year 2, which put a huge strain on me as I already had to balance difficult subjects and uni applications. Do as much CAS as you can in Year 1, especially in the first few months, gather the appropriate evidence, and do your reflections properly. Words cannot even begin to describe the amount of time I wasted before the exams trying to dig up (and forge) CAS evidence because I didn’t do it right the first time. 

Don’t be afraid to speak up if you don’t understand something: Ok this may seem a little clichéd, but this is one of my biggest regrets. At school, I was always regarded as one of the top students (lmao), but when I had difficulty understanding a particular topic, I didn’t want my classmates to see me struggle, so instead of asking for help I made a mental note to self-study in my own time. Biggest mistake. Although it did work out in the end, I wasted a lot more time trying to understand that particular topic than if I had just swallowed my fucking pride and asked for help. 

Don’t rely solely on your teacher for information: Teachers can make mistakes! A month before my math HL exam I did the 2014 November papers, and realised that I didn’t know how to do mathematical induction with inequalities at all. My teacher hadn’t covered it! Take it upon yourself to read through your syllabus carefully so you don’t get any horrible surprises just before (or during!) the exams. 

Speak more: Speak more of your foreign language, that is. It’ll make orals so much easier - you’ll stutter less and words will come more naturally. 

Sleep > Study: Enough said.