The results of this year’s International Baccalaureate (IB) were released last week, with at least 38 Hong Kong students scoring the maximum 45 points.
Scoring top points in the IB diploma is no easy task. You must study six subjects, many of which are assessed with both exams and coursework. In addition to these subjects, you must also take part in creative, volunteering, and sporting activities, as well as research and write a 4000-word essay, and study a course known as Theory of Knowledge.
With all these challenges stacked against all you IB candidates out there, how can you shine? Here are five study tips from some of Hong Kong’s top scoring IB students:
Manage your time effectively – James Chow, 18, Canadian International School
Managing your time during the IB is tough, but James said he used technology to help him stay on task.
“There are many different apps on your phone that you can use. I think they are useful for blocking out time for work and to relax,” he said, adding that seeing how far away your deadlines are is particularly useful.
“If you can make sure you have a solid schedule and have enough time to do other things you enjoy, then you’ll find IB to be a more enjoyable experience,” he explained.
Write your notes by hand – Daniel Sin Zhen-ye, 18, Victoria Shanghai Academy
Daniel found that writing revision notes out by hand, rather than typing them, was a good way to prepare for sitting hand-written exams.
“For subjects like economics and English you have to handwrite a lot [in the exams], so it’s really good to get into the habit of writing notes by hand whenever you do revision,” he said.
“If you only type during your revision, it’s just really hard for you to get your writing speed up.”
Start your science experiments early – Cherrie Liu Cheuk-yin, 18, Victoria Shanghai Academy
Cherrie advised doing science extended essays or internal assessments to start their experiments for these projects early.
“It’s very unpredictable. Sometimes you do [the experiments] in one go, but the results might get contaminated. You have to be prepared for the worst and just start everything early,” she explained.
Use your own notes, not someone else’s – Douglas Wong, 18, Diocesan Boys’ School
Douglas chose not to rely too much on extra tutorial classes or studying guides to help him.
“I wanted to create my own notes and read them myself. This made me feel more confident because I didn’t end up reading something and worrying if I missed anything important,” he said.
“I think whether you’re talking about textbooks or study guides, there will be topics that won’t come up in the exams,” he went on. “Therefore, the benefit of making your own notes is that you can gather the details you think are important, using a method that you can understand.”
Studying with friends can be helpful – Leo Kim Kyu-jung, 18, South Island School
Although it might not work for everyone, Leo found that social learning was a good way to revise.
“The most effective revision method for me was to just sit down in the cafe with my friends and talk,” he said.
“It often opens you up to ways of thinking that you never even thought of before. It becomes more of a collaboration as opposed to a competition and in such an environment … you can learn more and do a better than you would’ve done alone,” he added.