A Human Binary Counter

At the heart of every computer, however complex, are binary numbers - that is, numbers formed only of 0's and 1's. This is because it is easy to represent just two digits electronically: a switch can be on or off; a current can flow one way or the other; a pulse can change a stored digit from one state to the other. How does the binary system work?  When we count up to 9 in the decimal system, we've run out ...

Last minute Physics revision!

Arguably, this is the most stressful time in the last 2 years for IB students.  Not only are the exams here, but they have a frequency that is quite scary, like dominoes toppling one immediately after the other. In addition of course, there are 6 subjects that all need the revision of 2 years of work in a short period of time.  If that was not enough, the Physics exams are even worse because they are so tough – they ...

It’s that time of year

So here we are, April is with us and in the UK Spring is most definitely here. Which means one thing if you are in the second year of the IB diploma … exams. This year, the exams in chemistry start on the afternoon of Thursday 11th May (paper 1 and 2) followed by the morning of Friday 12th May for paper 3. Which, depending on when you read this, gives you around four weeks until the examination. So, how is your ...

Last Call for Revision

I have just returned from teaching on an OSC revision course at the Anglo-American school in Moscow, and was impressed by the focus of the students there towards revision, and how well they were able to sustain that focus over a fairly gruelling week. By the time this blog is published I hope to have seen some of you at the Oxford revision courses as well; my aim, and that of all the teachers on OSC revision courses, is to ...

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 ...

OSC Biology guides

This blog was written by Ashby Merson-Davis, an experienced IB teacher and author of a range of OSC Biology guides. When the IB started to expand in the UK it quickly became clear that there was a dearth of textbooks. HL could get by with A Level texts but there was nothing for SL. I decided to write an SL text and then wrote to a number of schools in Europe to see if they would be interested. It was basic, photocopied, ...

It’s time to focus on the first year IB students

Many of us will still be teaching first year students for at least another month but at this point, we seem so focused on the students about to take their IB exams.  This is a golden opportunity as you can focus your energies on year 1.  The students will appreciate the attention, as they are often eclipsed at this time of the year. It's really easy to get hung up on examination preparation but now is when we need to transition ...

Revision for your students is a mini-nightmare!

This is really the 11th hour for the IB2 students – the final exams are VERY close and they should all be working ridiculously hard on their revision – and physics teachers should all be working to help wherever possible. This final comment does sound a little strange, especially as I am a Head of Physics and have every confidence in the fact that my team of teachers have worked hard for the last 2 years, with a syllabus that remains ...

Question Banks now available on Smartbacc!

We wanted to alert the IB community about an exciting new feature in Smartbacc that we believe will be invaluable to IB students revision processes - Question Banks. Question Banks are a new addition to Smartbacc - an extensive collection of IBDP exam style questions, specially designed to support revision and exam preparation. Created by a pool of IB teachers and examiners, the questions closely mimic actual exam papers in range and difficulty. They also include model answers with ‘examiner tips’ ...

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 ...