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Have any of you taken the International Baccalaureate Program (IB)?
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18 / F
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Posted 8/12/12
I'm curious if any of you have since I'll be starting in that program tomorrow. ;; v ;;
If any of you have some advice or survival strategies, dump them on me.
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19 / F / USA
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Posted 8/12/12
Well it's really not all that different from the public school system, but I'll share my experience.

I started off normal in a normal public high school for the first two years, then when I became a junior I started attending a charter school that ran the IB program. They said it molds better students who will be better prepared for university after high school, and of course that it looks pretty good on college apps (that part is true for me at least).

Although I didn't see much of a difference in terms of the degree of difficulty in the subject matter, there were some differences:

- We had a project in at least one of our classes every week,
- Required 25 hours of community service each semester,
- At least 1 or 2 essays every week in literature class, no let up,
- Required participation in the science fair they would hold, and that meant thinking up an experiment, performing it, writing a paper on it and presenting it in an appealing fashion,
- At the end of each semester, all our exams were ACT styled exams from the same people who made the ACT. If you didn't do well you had to take a course the following semester to remedy your areas of problem,
- The teachers were much stricter and orderly than in the public school.

And there were many other things that either didn't make a difference to me or didn't stand out enough for me to mention. Of course, the level of difficulty and different requirements varies with each school, but I am honestly glad I participated, I'm using the skills I learned then, in college. And they had a nice extra $8,000 scholarship for being in the IB program when I was applying to colleges, on top of an almost full ride. I graduated high school at 16, now I'm 18 and a sophomore in college.

Advice:

If your school is like mine, here's what I did,

- For the projects, you usually had someone to partner up with, find someone you can easily get along with, it makes things much much more easier. Do not allow yourself to procrastinate, try to finish some during the week so you can enjoy your weekends a bit more.

- Community service: it really wasn't all that difficult, I know a lot of people who just made up hours and had adults sign off on it, but if you find somewhere you think you'd enjoy volunteering at, go for it. The experience is incredibly valuable for college. For example, if you're going into the medical field like I am, I volunteered at a hospital and got all my hours easily. And it required only 4 hours every Friday.

- The essay writing was perhaps the greatest skill I learned from the IB. Compared to the public school, the writing program at the IB school was leagues ahead. Take the essays seriously and try to improve upon each one, and find what the teacher likes in your writing. Once I found out, I could grind out an A paper in 15-30 minutes, without hardly any effort. In Ap literature, my teacher seemed to like long elaborate sentences with varying syntax, whereas most people wrote short sentences their whole paper through. I always wrote long sentences because I couldn't convey my logic fully in a shorter sentence, so sentences usually spanned 4 lines, got an easy A. Then on the Ap exam, I got a 5. Also, when it comes time to writing essays for scholarships and for applying to college, essay writing comes in handy! Without what I learned in my final year I wouldn't have gotten $2250 from random essay contest scholarships, on top of what I already had.

- The science fair, once again wasn't too hard. You were allowed a partner and given quite a lot of time work. Really what the teachers were looking for (IMO) where nicely put together projects. The experiment really didn't concern them, as long as it looked nice and sounded good, because they would be displayed at city hall when the winners were announced.

- If you happen to have the ACT styled exams at the end of each semester, those are the worst, there's really no way to prepare for them... just make sure not to fail them or you have to take a remedy course. You also get normal exams which count towards your grade, which were much easier than the ones in my old public school.

- For the strict teachers, just make sure to get on their good side, I mostly just ignored them and stayed quiet, earning me a spot on their good list.

But the best piece of advice I can give is to find a pattern in how teachers assign work and grade! Once you have that figured out you can build your schedule around that, prioritize and spend more time on the core classes like math, English and science (which don't give many projects). I was overwhelmed at first with the amount of work we had to do on projects, but those were mainly assigned in elective classes, which are ultimately easy. Just make sure to hit all the requirements and give a semi-decent presentation, easy A. But really, figure out your teachers, it'll come in handy when you attend college, when pretty much it's usually how easy your professor is that helps get your grade. After you have all this figured out, your classes will pretty much feel like blow-offs until you graduate lol :D

Well I know I probably didn't hit all of your concerns in this post, but I hope you gain something from my experience, if you have any more questions just ask! Be happy that you get to participate in the IB, although it may seem tough at first, don't fall behind, it'll help a lot in the future
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19 / F / USA
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Posted 8/12/12
Ah... didn't realize I wrote so much lol, hope it isn't too much trouble ~_~
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21 / M
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Posted 8/12/12
we had AP, but i believe its the same thing...
the most important thing is to do the work
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25 / M / Bonne Lake, WA
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Posted 8/12/12
You get from it what you take from it.

Understand that this is an impressive level of commitment you are making, and that you are choosing to make it. If you succeed you will be better for it, but if it isn't going to work, jump out asap.

I never took part in the program, but I had a few teachers that taught with similar levels of expectations. Learning how to write essays, learning how to keep scientific journals, and correct them, how to develop an experiment scientifically, to analyse it statistically and explain it literally are a set of skills that I was fortunate enough to get from public education simply by sheer luck of the teacher draw.

Find the right group of people who share your interests and work with them, as the previous person stated, and always remember that YOU are choosing to push yourself, and that you can only fail yourself.
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27 / M / Gotham City
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Posted 8/12/12
Don't procrastinate.

DON'T PROCRASTINATE.

Stay on top of your assignments. Also much easier to study a section of your book every day rather than cramming at the end of the year for the final exam. Make notecards and quiz yourself a little bit every day - it's super convenient, visual, and you can do it while you're on the bus, eating at the cafeteria, etc.

Make some friends in your class and form a study group - that will help keep you motivated especially since you know there will be other people counting on you to do your job.

Ask questions and participate in class, don't be afraid to volunteer to explain a concept to someone. When you are an active learner, and your mind participates, you hold on to information way better.
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19 / F / US of A
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Posted 8/12/12
Do your homework the day you get it!! Trust me!! Don't wait to do it! And I hope you're good in English class. If not... well, luck won't be enough!
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27 / M / Gotham City
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Posted 8/12/12

necoconeco101 wrote:

And I hope you're good in English class. If not... well, luck won't be enough!


I remember when these little books were passed around my English classes, haha. Pretty helpful, if limited, when a high school student gets a mental block on how to interpret those "Jane Eyres," "The Scarlet Letter," and "Catcher in the Rye"s. :)

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19 / F / US of A
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Posted 8/12/12



We couldn't read them! Trust me, I tried! The teachers would design the tests so that they would be useless, but I didn't know that my first test . But I was talking more about writing 50 papers than reading. Oh, I forgot to mention that having a teacher who doesn't hate you helps a lot too!
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27 / M / Gotham City
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Posted 8/12/12

necoconeco101 wrote:

We couldn't read them! Trust me, I tried! The teachers would design the tests so that they would be useless, but I didn't know that my first test . But I was talking more about writing 50 papers than reading. Oh, I forgot to mention that having a teacher who doesn't hate you helps a lot too!


We weren't allowed to either, but students just passed around the books and shared, haha.

All of my English teachers were pretty cool. It was a tough class for sure, with all the reading and writing, but I learned quite a bit.
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19 / F / US of A
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Posted 8/12/12



Lucky you. I hated every second of the class. My teacher was so mean and unfair!!
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Posted 8/12/12
Never. But my step brother is taking it right now as we speak. He needed this program.
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18 / F
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Posted 8/12/12
Thank you guys for all the helpful tips especially SwordArtOnline. c':
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18 / F / Cowboy Land
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Posted 8/13/12 , edited 8/13/12
Yay for IB kids!!!
I'm starting my official "IB" classes in a few weeks. Up until now all I've had were AP and Honors classes with the exception of English which was "IH" -international honors.

I'll share a strategy I learned the past year keep a study group and pick out diligent people in a crowd. You don't want to be up at 2 am the day before a project is due trying to do someone else's work. Trust me, picking someone more competent and an acquaintance will beat choosing your friend since you'll get done much faster since you'll probably get sidetracked lest often.

Not sure if you had IH English, but it was a great class even though I had a pretty bad teacher. Thesis statements come to my mind pretty easily nowadays and reading higher level works is a breeze (still can't stand Shakespeare though).

Good luck to the both of us :3 with hard work we'll both succeed! And yes thank you SwordArtOnline for all those tips they were extremely helpful!
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20 / M / Canada
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Posted 8/13/12
I didn't ever even think about going in to the IB program but a few of my friends and my brother did. A friend of mine dropped it in the final year of high school claiming it was too hard. My brothers pretty book smart (dumb as a lamp post when it comes to anything other then school subjects) so it wasn't a challenge for him but he did complain about the community service he had to do. My advise would be to get a planner and plan every moment but leave a little breathing room in your day in case a homework assignment take too long or just for relaxing/extra studying. Ask a lot of questions! It doesn't matter if you think it's dumb or your worried about having to stop the class to get an explanation, just do it. It will help. Trust me. Also, most high school teachers (at least in my high school) hold tutorials about 30 minutes a day in the morning and after school. Ask your teacher about doing something like this if he/she doesn't already. The extra practice and help will do wonders if you don't understand something. Make a few friends in your classes (hopefully you end up the same people in most classes as this makes it easier) and form study groups. And DON'T PROCRASTINATE!!!
Have fun and remember to "chill out" and relax every now and then.
Good luck
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