Handwriting counts in exams

With the May exam session behind us by nearly six weeks, and most exams marked by the examiners, it is time to address an important issue with regard to IB exams: your handwriting. In much of life, your ability to hand write work clearly may not seem that important, especially if many of your teachers are already moving to having you submit electronical copies of work. However, the IB exams are still hand written.  Most of you are able to produce ...

Existentialism in brief

Just in case you're not willing or able to take on the whole of Sarah Blakewell's At the Existentialist Cafe, (New York, 2016) I thought I'd provide you easy access to some points from her summary on page on page 34.  Sometimes it's good to just have a solid reference point to play your ideas against, particularly if you are reading works by Sartre or Camus.  These, remember, are her 'take' on some important facets that she sees in the ...

The New Extended Essay

Were you aware that a new EE guide was out? It has been live for around three months and is for first examinations May 2018, so that will be students whom you start to teach this coming August / September. Now that things have got quieter with IB teaching (IB2 students are finished) I thought it was worth writing about it so that it can inform your planning. The first thing is that the guide is entirely electronic. I am sure that ...

The Halogens and the Sea

There are a few references to lab work in this post – I do need to stress that any labs you carry out need to be under the supervision of one of your teachers (and risk assessed by the teacher) and carried out in school. I have always been fascinated by the link with the number of substances dissolved in the sea. For example, gold ions are dissolved in the sea and it is estimated that there are getting on for ...

Studying for Success on HL Paper 3

KEY IDEAS for May 2016 HL Paper 3 exam Online help for students Students must refer to both their secondary research and any primary investigations, visitations, interview or any other first-hand experiences they have had related to the  2016 Case Study SMART HOMES. The following sources provide a wealth of articles and guidance for the HL Paper 3 exam. Facebook group: ITGS Case Study 2016 Smart Homes ( resources and examples may be useful in responses) ITGSopedia Case Study and Paper ...

In one week the IB history exams begin

To steal from Lenin, 'What is to be done?'  The burning questions of IB history may include how to get the elusive 7 or how to pass if you haven't opened your textbook in the past year.  Although these are very different scenarios they both involve how to prepare for the IB in this last week. Usually I write about getting a good night's sleep and making sure that you have your lucky pen but today I feel like being more exam specific. Paper 1: Review the content, ...

Introductions (Part 3): Nailing it in Paper 2

Having looked at techniques for introductions for Commentaries and Written Assignments (Parts 1 and 2 of this series), it's time to look at what you can do to provide winning introductions to your Paper 2 essays. Here again, as with the Commentary, we're working with a timed exam.  That means you need to have some strategies in place so you don't have to agonize too much over the preliminaries to this portion of your essay and can instead spend the fast-disappearing  ...

Interviews, auditions, VDOs and portfolios!

Some of you may be preparing Fine Art/Performance/Media/Design portfolios, some may be preparing audition pieces for Drama/Music/Dance/Circus Arts College, some of you preparing Performance/Media/Design VDO pieces and some of you preparing for face-to-face interviews for a wide variety of subjects. Portfolios can be very specific so take note of how many pieces, their sizes and in what format. Many portfolios are uploaded digitally so you will need to register to a site such as Dropbox or Flikr. Some institutions will ask ...

Past paper practice – how to make the most of it

Working through past Mathematics papers is an essential part of revising for exams. But how can you make sure that such practice improves your ability to answer exam questions? It is of course helpful to have the answers, preferably worked answers, so that you can check your progress, but just looking at the answers will not in itself improve your skills very much. When you first start working through papers, I suggest that you have lots of resources available to help you ...

WeTransfer your images and video

Students most frequently use cell phones for capturing images and videos for inclusion in IB work. These can be huge not only from the file size of each image or length of each video, but also from the sheer number that a student may wish to transfer to the teacher, other students or even to their own computer from a remote location. One of the most effective ways of transferring files from a remote location is by using an online file ...