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IB Diploma Programme News

26 November 2015

This week saw the Year 13 students complete their mock examinations. We have made these as close to the real thing as possible to give students a taste of the intensity and formality of the process. 

  • Mock Exams

In some ways, the mock exams are tougher than the final exams as they are condensed into one week with very few breaks for the student, whereas the examinations in May take place over an 18 day period.

Next week, we shall be speaking to our Year 13 students about how they can make the most of their learning from the mock exams. For each subject, they should analyse their papers and use this analysis to target topics which needs revising and skills that need developing.

The focus for Year 12 students is very different as they are preparing for their roles in the Christmas Fair on Saturday. They will be raising funds and awareness for the Indo-China Starfish foundation who they will also be working with later in the year on their CAS trip to Cambodia.

Andrew Joy, Head of IB Academy

Creativity, Activity, Service

This week, Anne Zimmer in Year 12 writes about her CAS experience and developing her volleyball skills within the creativity component of the programme.

One of my CAS experiences for activity was volleyball in which I played in the school’s volleyball team. I chose this CAS activity because volleyball was still a relatively new sport to me. Therefore I wanted to develop my performance and through this process also gain other important skills that will be useful in other parts of life as well, such as communication and teamwork.

I enjoyed training with the team and participating in tournaments and matches against other schools, especially as one could see improvements in every match. Also together we were not only able to enjoy ourselves, but show improvements as a team and as an individual.

Volleyball is a sport I wasn’t very confident in and so I had a lot of skills I wanted to progress in and, although it took a lot of practise, after the volleyball season I was confident in the majority of these skills. Therefore through this CAS experience I was able to improve my performance and develop skills that I will be able to use on court as well as off court in all aspects of life.

Anne Zimmer, Year 12

Higher Education

University Offers and University Application Deadlines

The number of Year 13 students completing their applications to universities around the world is picking up pace, and many more students are starting to receive offers, including, since my last update a few weeks ago, offers from the School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London (SOAS), and the Universities of Warwick, Edinburgh, Durham, York, Lancaster, Leicester, Surrey, Sheffield and Kent. With many more applications yet to be submitted, we look forward to keeping you updated on students’ progress.

All applications due to be submitted before the start or middle of January must be completed by the end of this term, and now that mock examinations have been completed, it’s important that Year 13 students who have not yet completed their applications turn their attention to this important task.

Coursework and examinations

With students focused on examinations this week and no lessons, students have not had any deadlines to contend with. Below are the deadlines for Year 13 students for next week. Next week also, students will also be given their Extended Essay back with a checklist of small improvements that can be made in order to boost their grade.

Due date


Work due


Chinese B HL

Written assignment feedback



University of California application deadline


French B

Written assignment draft 1


English A

Final IOCs


German B

German B 1st draft of written assignment


Spanish B

1st draft of written assignment


Chinese B SL

Written assignment first draft

November Mock Exams

Now that students have completed their mock exams, it is time to reflect on their revision strategy; what went well and what should be improved upon for the exams in May. Students will get their exams back next week at which time they have a second chance to reflect on how they can improve further.

IB Learner Profile – Next week it is important for students to be good communicators so that they can fully understand how they can improve on their results. We will guide students to the best way to do this but we also encourage parents to talk to their children about their results

Thomas Housham, IB Diploma Programme 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 Theory of Knowledge essay.

There are two separate aspects to assessment in TOK – the essay and the presentation. The essay is worth two thirds of the total mark while the presentation makes up the other third. Overall, this results in a final grade from A to E.

The essay is written during the second term in Year 13, though much work is done earlier than this on developing the required skills. The IBO publishes six ‘prescribed titles’ and each student selects one of those six titles.

The essay is assessed externally using a ‘marking instrument’ which describes some of the qualities of an excellent essay. An excellent essay should investigate different perspectives, link to the various sections of the course and present a clear, well-supported argument. The IBO describes an excellent essay as one which is cogent, accomplished, discerning, individual, lucid, insightful and compelling.

Students are supported in this process by their TOK teachers who provide them with an essay writing template and who give feedback on essay plans and drafts. Final submission of essays will take place on the 4 March 2016.

Andrew Joy, Head of IB Academy


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