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IB Diploma Programme News

12 November 2015

This week started with two important events for Year 13 students. Monday was the final submission of the Extended Essay for Year 13 students and we marked this occasion by having a special costume day with students wearing something that represented their essay. 

  • IB Fancy Dress

We were particularly pleased by the creativity shown in selecting those outfits. The day started with an assembly in which Year 13 students described their essays to the Year 12 students who also received more general information about the process of preparing the Extended Essay.

Having completed their Extended essays, Year 13 students will now be focusing their attention on the mock examination which begin on 23 November and run throughout that week. The results of those papers will be included within the December reports.

Tuesday saw the school’s first ever Theatre Collaborative performance and the quality of the work produced was excellent. Theatre is a new course at BISS Puxi and our Year 13 cohort are the first to take it. They performed a fast, edgy comedy based on the story of ‘Anthony and Cleopatra’ and on the works of the Splendid Theatre Company and Bertholt Brecht.

Finally, if you have the opportunity to visit the IB Academy in the near future, I’m sure you will be impressed by the new design on our main glass door. It is inspired by the IB Learner Profile which I write about in the ‘Explaining the Diploma Programme’ section below.

Andrew Joy, Head of IB Academy

Creativity, Activity, Service

This week, we would like to share the final reflections from a student who graduated last year, Richard Asfour. His writing gives a sense of what he learned from the overall CAS programme and how it can help him develop as a person.

Creativity, Action and Service, three small words that have instilled themselves within my life and have had a profound effect on the way I conduct myself and on my perception of the world in which I generally do not inhabit. Through CAS, I was able to push my boundaries and step out of my comfort zone, play a part in developing my local community and meet new people whose world-views differ from mine.

Although I initially viewed CAS as only a requirement for my IB Diploma, after a year and a half of doing CAS, I understand the value of it, as I feel that it was helped to shape me into a more open-minded member of society. One important life skill that CAS has helped me achieve was to identify the areas in which I am strong in and those in which I am weaker in, which was helpful for me in terms of organising or focusing on certain aspects of the activity that I was doing. When I began preparing for my HSK 3 Chinese exam, I started with identifying areas that I felt were quite easy, reading and listening, and others that I felt were more difficult, writing, and then I began focusing my time to practice my character writing. I felt like this skill is especially useful a number of real life situations because it is an easy way to achieve personal growth. Improving myself in these areas had also helped my sister with her own Mandarin homework.

Furthermore, CAS really pushed me to try new things. For example, when searching for an Action activity, I decided to choose a boxing class, something that I had never really thought of entering because of the rigorous training involved. After constantly trying to keep up with others during runs and push up exercises for the first few weeks, I began to notice that my movements and boxing technique had improved quite a lot, which had really helped in boosting my self-confidence and drive to continue boxing. Not only did I learn basic boxing techniques and skills from these classes, but I also showed myself that I am able to persevere through difficult moments in order to make some sort of gain.

Probably the most rewarding part of my CAS was the Service section. Engaging in service activities helped me connect with different types of people that I would never expect to meet or interact with. From this, I was able to view the world from a totally fresh perspective. One of the most valuable experiences of my CAS activities was during a service trip to Thailand in which a group of students from my school got the opportunity to help at a migrant school. When we were arriving at the school, I was shocked by the conditions that the locals lived in. Although I had seen pictures of areas similar to these, I was completely unprepared for the reality of these people’s situations. And then, whilst playing games with and teaching the children, some would burst with joy at the smallest thing such as being chosen as the ‘goose’ in the game ‘duck, duck goose.’ It truly amazed me how these children found bliss in the simplicity of life, and this taught me to not overlook things that I might generally find as insignificant.

From these experiences and many others that I have had, CAS has taught me how to be more critical and reflective of my actions and to be less passive about them, ultimately helping to develop myself as a person and as a global citizen.

Richard Asfour, IB Graduate

Higher Education

University Visits - This week saw visits from two Hong Kong Universities – the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Well done to students who submitted ‘Fast Track’ applications to Hong Kong universities in time for this week’s deadline.

Creating Entrepreneurial Leaders–The Wheaton Way – The world faces complex challenges that require entrepreneurial leaders to develop solutions and take action on them. The President of Wheaton College, a prestigious American Liberal Arts institution, is giving a talk on how students can rise to these challenges, and how Wheaton College can prepare them.

The talk is taking place at the Langham Hotel in Xintiandi on Tuesday 17 November. Registration 6:30-7:00pm, Presentation 7:00-8:30pm. For more information please see Mr Weston.

University of Sydney Open Day - Saturday 21st November - Le Meridien,789 Nanjing Road East. Representatives from different faculties, the international recruitment team, accommodation services, current students and recent graduates will be present to talk to prospective students about applying to the University of Sydney. Interested students should pre-register here:


University Application Deadlines

All applications due to be submitted before the start or middle of January should be completed by the end of this term, and with Year 13 Mock Examinations fast approaching, time is of the essence!  It’s important that Year 13 students who need to meet deadlines this term complete personal statements/college essays in good time and submit them to the HE Office for review. Deadlines for different universities across the world vary greatly – it is essential that students keep the HE team aware of their plans (which sometimes change) so that references, recommendation letters and other accompanying documentation is ready to send in good time.

Mark Weston, Higher Education Adviser

Coursework and examinations

This week saw the final deadline for the Extended Essay which resulted in some great costumes from Year 13 students who presented research questions to the Year 12 students. Year 12 have been challenged to begin to think about which subjects they are most interested in to explore for their Extended Essay. This is the perfect opportunity for students to show universities they are applying to their interest in a given subject.

Due Date


Work Due


Extended Essay

Final submission and costume day



Collaborative piece performance (evening)


Chinese B SL

3rd interactive oral


German Language and Literature

Written task 2 final draft



1st draft of Exploration uploaded to Managebac


Visual Art

Final draft


French B

Mock oral


German B

Mock oral


Spanish B

Mock oral


English A

Mock orals



1st cut screening


German Language and Literature

Written task 2 final submission



1st draft 15 page Process Portfolio including bibliography


Chinese B HL

Written assignment first draft

November Mock Exams

With the November mock exams fast approaching, students should be working to a revision schedule and be attending the lunch time revision classes that are already available to students. They should also be making full use of their teachers to ask questions and help to strengthen their weak areas in subjects. This is a message for Year 12 students too as they should be continue to reflect on the work they cover in each topic.

IB Learner Profile

Each week I want to highlight a part of the IB Learner Profile which can help students with their work. This week is reflection as mentioned above. Reflective learners see a problem immediately are proactive in solving it rather than dwelling on a poor test score or a below par piece of homework. Reflective workers will be humble enough to accept help instead of making excuses or simply giving up. I call on all IB learners to reflect on their lessons this week to help them for the future.

Thomas Housham, DP Coordinator

Explaining the Diploma Programme

Each week, we shall be focusing on one particular aspect of the Diploma Programme. This week I shall write about the IB Learner Profile.

The Learner Profile is a set of ten qualities that are important for the development of learners in becoming successful members of society and which go beyond academic success. The profile is central to all IB programmes and is something we regularly use and refer to throughout the Diploma programme.

The ten Learner Profile attributes are: Inquirers, Knowledgeable, Thinkers, Communicators, Principled, Open-Minded, Caring, Risk-Takers, Balanced and Reflective.

Andrew Joy, Head of IB Academy 


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