History Paper 1: The Move to Global War Study Guide is Available Now!

History Paper 1: The Move to Global War has been added to OSC's IB Study Guide Series and is available to order now! The guide is written by experienced IB History teacher and OSC Subject Advisor, Joe Gauci. Find out more below.     The Move to Global War This revision guide provides a clear description of the course content for the IBDP History syllabus Paper 1, covering all the required topics within the prescribed subject: the Move to Global War. To help you get ...

Sometimes it’s fine to be ‘fresh’

Though being 'fresh' as in "Don't be fresh with me, young man, 'said his mother curtly'  is perhaps a little archaic in usage, working to get your writing to be 'fresh' is a goal worth aspiring to and will offend no one.  Our previous 3 sets of tips on writing have addressed some important and basic ways to improve the ways you present your writing, but this 4th one moves to a different but equally important level.  And it has ...

Magical Revision Tips

Now that mock exams have ended you may be searching for ways to improve your study technique. During the 26 years that OSC has been helping students achieve the grades they need we have picked up some pointers that can assist you in creating the perfect study environment. These tips were originally published a couple of years ago by our IB experts; they are just as relevant now as they were then. Click on the relevant tip below for more information! Tip one Know ...

Try these New Year Resolutions…

The five mathematical resolutions I have suggested below are, unlike some New Year Resolutions, very achievable! But you do have to stick with them if you are to get the benefit. 1.   I will know my times tables up to 12 by the end of January. Does that sound a bit beneath you? It isn't - many students find themselves doing questions slower that they should - or getting wrong answers - because their recall of simple multiplications is poor. Don't ...

Writing tips #2: Conventions make readers happy. . .

. . . and a happy reader (examiner) is likely to have a friendly response to what you write.  So as your final effort for 2016, the one where you are determined to 'get better' and eliminate the nasty gremlins in your writing style, give your writing an honest look at these three matters: The convention of punctuating a work's title in your essays and responses to questions. The convention of only talking about one thing at a time, a ...

Increase your marks – avoid these common errors…

Let's face it: there will almost certainly be questions, or parts of questions, in your exam papers that you just can't do. Maybe you've forgotten the method, or the algebra is too hard, or you don't understand what is being asked, or you simply get stuck. OK, so you probably won't get 100%. But there are also lots of very common slips which lead to unnecessary marks being lost; do your very best not to fall into these numeric and ...

‘Let us contemplate evil’

“Let us contemplate evil’ Sheridan Baker in his Practical Stylist begins one of his chapters with this invitation about ‘evil. And he offers us some evil practices that will keep you from becoming the writer you could be. So here is the second set of tips plus one. The one you really need to get rid of is the following practice: ‘emphasize on’ In idiomatic English, all you need to write or say is ‘emphasize’ followed by whatever it is that is emphasized. So ‘Fitzgerald emphasizes ...

Understanding exponential functions

An exponential function is any function where x is raised to a power, for example $f(x) = 1.5 \times {2^{x}} + 10$. For most of this blog I will concentrate on $2^x$, but the same rules apply whatever the base of the power is. 2x is not the same as x2 They feel like the same sort of thing, don't they, but they're completely different functions. Look at the graphs: yes, both functions increase rapidly for x > 0, but they're very different to the left of the y-axis ...

Just starting your diploma course? Don’t panic!

Many of you will be starting, or have just started, the new school year. What should you be doing to make a success of your mathematics course? Will I be expected to know topics at a more advanced level before I start? Some of you will find mathematics comes easily to you, and you are looking forward to new challenges in the subject. Others will be anxious that it's all going to be above your head. Let me allay those fears by ...

Quadratic Factorisation

Whether you are taking HL, SL or Studies, you can be certain that there will be at least one quadratic expression to factorise in your exams - probably several. Here is my quick guide. If I multiply out these brackets: $(x-1)(x+3)$ I will get: $x^2+2x-3$ The result is a quadratic expression: a quadratic must have a term in $x^2$, and can also have a term in $x$ and a constant (a number). If you reverse the process, you will be factorising the quadratic. So, here are ...