I still remember my first year of IB and vividly remember the inner thought of “nobody ever told me about how hard Year 11 is, everyone is always talking about how hard Year 12 is.” For those of you who are just about to take on your first year of IB, it is very likely that you have no idea what to expect. From experience, here are a couple heads up as to how to conquer the first year of IB (which in my experience, was harder than the second!)
- Plan your time reasonably. You may feel like the work load is never ending and even feel an urgent need to just get it all done in one breath so you can be free. This rarely works, and only results in burn out. Plan how you are going to get your work done, a small chunk at a time, ahead of time, and stick to it.
- Get comfortable with feeling overwhelmed. You’ll adjust to it by the end of the first term, promise. Also get comfortable with feeling challenged- the IB is a challenging course, even for the brightest of students!
- Use Year 11 (first year IB) to conquer your weak subjects. I used the majority of Year 11 to work solely on my French (it was bad) and the work paid me in Year 12. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see progress right away. I was about to give up on my French when it magically clicked at the beginning of Year 12 and I jumped from a low 6 to a low 7 (literally).
- Make use of the practice runs! In Year 11 it is likely your teachers will give you plenty of opportunities to practice IAs, hand them in and get feedback on them. Do your best on these because that way you can actually improve before it is too late! No point wasting time doing something 2nd best and not getting the feedback you really should have received!
- Use Year 11 to sort out your study routines. Get into good habits for Year 12. It is also very handy to use Year 11 to sort out a lot of CAS (getting hours up), but don’t go too crazy on this one, because you still have to do it in Year 12, even if you do finish the hours in a year!
- Surround yourself with people who build you up. I would say this for 100% of the time, not just during 2 years of IB, but when you’re doing the IB this becomes even more crucial. Friends and family can help pull you through the tougher times and give you an extra push when you need it.
- Take your holidays. Don’t spend them doing too much work- do what you need to do and then leave it. The key to Year 11 is staying refreshed, especially so you don’t burn out before you’ve even started Year 12!! This will also help you stay motivated.
- Finally, there’s no point being worried about Year 11, or the IB. Trust that you have made the right decision and stick with your gut. Have the confidence that you will be able to pull it through because it can be enjoyable if you get the balance right (no, seriously).
As always, good luck!