‘War and Peace’: why not?

If you may have found that summer and all its anticipated pleasures are sometimes not quite meeting your expectations, why not do something daring?  People, not just your peers, but just about everyone who reads at all, probably looks at a novel of the length of Tolstoi's War and Peace as a challenge they just might not want to take on. But, you, on the other hand, might just like to join that club of people with real guts and strong wills ...

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 ...

Revision for IB History students

For those of you who are Diploma Candidates you are probably focused on Math, English and Biology at the moment, which is perfectly understandable. On Friday afternoon there will be a flurry of activity as you scramble to revise your notes, organize your thoughts and attempt to memorize hundreds of details.  However, one weekend of studying cannot replace 240 hours of class time and numerous assignments.  You should use some time over the course of the next week to go over the demands of ...

Sound should make sense: better poetry commentaries

Sound should make sense: just as the poet uses sound to enrich the meaning as well as the emotional and pleasurable aspects of poems, so should you try to write sensibly about the linking of sound to meaning in your commentaries.  What does the poet gain by manipulating the sound possibilities of language? One of the challenges candidates face when so writing about poetry is how they can usefully address the sound effects that are both present in and intended by ...

Abstract? General? Vague?–or just not understood?

Here’s something we often find as students try to express their ideas about the literary works they’ve read, and it’s captured in statements like these: ‘The causes of the hero’s death are abstract.’ ‘The town is presented in abstract terms in the poem, rather than with particular features that give the reader a clear sense of the setting. ‘The final outcome for the married couple in the ending of the play seemed to me abstract.’ ‘The moon acts in frightening, abstract ways in Lorca’s plays.’ It’s ...

Choosing & Using Sources

This morning Nik Peachy shared a free, online or downloadable text book  Choosing & Using Sources: A Guide to Academic Research by Teaching & Learning, Ohio State University Libraries.   Thinking about the IB DP IA and EE work, I decided to have a look. "Choosing & Using Sources presents a process for academic research and writing, from formulating your research question to selecting good information and using it effectively in your research assignment. Additional chapters cover understanding types of sources, searching for ...

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 ...

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 ...