Over the years, the IB has given rise to many myths and misconceptions. If you have ever wondered how to guide your child to avoid the most common pitfalls, then please continue reading! This article was written by Neil A, a Maths & English tutor, who has privately tutored and mentored students since 2017. Neil is going to study Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College London having previously studied the IGCSE, IB (and taken the SAT) at international school in Hong Kong. If you seek IB tuition support, please call +44 (0)207 3856795 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Myth #1: IB takes away all your time
Whilst the International Baccalaureate is definitely a very challenging programme, effective time management can ensure that the IB is both manageable and rewarding. So we often hear about the importance of time management, but what does this really mean? The key point to understand about time management with respect to studying for exams, is a technique called spaced repetition. In summary, this means to revise something in regular but slightly longer intervals each time. For instance, during my tutoring sessions, I would go over a topic such as trigonometry once, and then maybe briefly revisit it in 3 days, then revisit it in a week, then revisit it in 2 weeks. This is a much more efficient method of remembering content than to simply revise the topic very intensely just a couple days before the exam.
Another key challenge that many students, including myself, have faced is the issue of procrastination, which only accentuates the difficulty of IB. What helped me the most to deal with this issue was to make the work more fun and relevant to my interests and goals. For instance, if I were to be tutoring a topic such as differential equations, I would try to demonstrate the significant applications of differential equations, especially how vital it is in fields like Mechanical Engineering. Since students definitely learn better when they are in a positive frame of mind and can personally relate to a topic, this technique will save a lot of time that would otherwise be wasted by procrastinating.
Myth #2: You have to be really smart to do well in the IB
Research has shown that people do have natural abilities and strengths in particular subjects, and this is common not just in IB but in almost every walk of life. However, for the IB your work ethic definitely matters a lot more than just raw talent. Since there is a clear logical layout in the syllabus, it is possible to break down each point in the syllabus to its fundamental building blocks, such that almost anybody would be able to understand it irrespective of natural ability. In addition, sometimes this imposter syndrome, this illusion that “I am not good enough”, is all in our head, and I would emphasize regularly in tutoring sessions on a growth mindset, which demonstrates to the student that they can actually become successful, by improving on the little things on a day by day basis.
Finally, I would like to leave on a positive note about wellbeing especially during these unprecedented circumstances. I would highly recommend that the student, as difficult as it may be, focuses on the current task at hand, and doesn’t worry too much about external situations. It is important to control what is actually in your hands, and this will not only decrease students’ stress levels, but also leave them with a sense of satisfaction at the end of the IB programme in the knowledge that they have given it their all.