How to get a 45 in the IB

Being a part of that 1% of candidature worldwide that get a 45 every year is supposedly both extremely hard to do and also appears to be very luck driven. However, I believe that if you get the combination right, the “perfect score” in the IB isn’t that hard to get. Here’s how:

  1. Choose your subjects wisely. Choose subjects that you are good at, that you believe you will enjoy and that also lend well to choosing higher levels. For example, if Mathematics is not your strong point, Studies may be the option over Standard Level because it doesn’t scale any worse and still counts as a SL subject. Subjects like Geography and Economics are easier to get 7s in than doing 2 of the natural sciences, so perhaps capitalise on humanities, because they can also count for higher levels too. Choosing the right subjects and also factoring in which 3 higher levels you would do is crucial. It is very useful to talk to current IB students, ex students and teachers to get a feel for each subject if you are having difficulty deciding.
  2. Proportion your time accordingly. It isn’t necessary to split your time “equally” between the subjects, rather, you should split your time “fairly” between the subjects. If you are going fine with everything except for French and English, a larger proportion of your time (if not almost all of it!) should be spent on those two subjects alone. I could vouch for almost never touching certain subjects until the 2 weeks before a set of exams or tests because I was so comfortable with them (Economics!). Really work on your weaknesses.
  3. Only aim for a grade 7. Don’t try and be perfectionist and strive to be getting as close to 100% as possible, because its a waste of effort. If the grade boundary is 79%, a 85% will suffice. It is better to get 7s in everything than to get a 95% in something and compromise for a lower grade in something else. Likewise, competing with your classmates is a bad idea. If you are already getting a 7 (+5% over the boundary) in the subject, getting anymore doesn’t “improve” your grade. Remember, you can’t get a grade 7+ or an 8 for getting anything extra above the boundary.
  4. Do TOK and EE well. They count for 3 bonus points! Choose a subject for your EE that you are confident with (preferably your best subject) and make sure that you make the best use out of your supervisor! Your TOK Essay and presentation are also very important, it would be wise to get good at thinking “TOK”!
  5. Get into good study habits. Work consistently hard, not just when you have tests and exams coming up, or when homework is due the next day. Consistent revision and doing “extra work” should become a part of your routine, doing necessary work isn’t enough to get a 45. Sometimes, I will admit that it is difficult to get yourself to do extra work when you have no “necessary” work to do, but doing things in advance is key to keeping stress levels low! Having said that though, please rest yourself, and don’t feel guilty taking a weekend off to see friends and family! Your social life should fit in with your routine.
  6. Keep balanced. Play sport, do extra curricular (yes, CAS), keep the things you enjoy and be social. Pushing your friends and family away when you need them most is not a good idea, so block out time to do those things, and fit a reasonable amount of study in between. Chaining yourself to a desk for 2 years is a recipe for disaster, and you will burn out.

GOOD LUCK!

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