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IB Diploma News

10 November 2016

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.

We were particularly pleased by the creativity shown in selecting those outfits and a particular highlight was Alissa Drieduite dressing as a cup of coffee! In a special assembly, 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 examinations which begin on 28th November and which run throughout that week. The results of those papers will be included within the December reports.

It was also a great pleasure to see so many parents of Year 12 students at our Student Parent Teacher Conference on Monday. We hope that your conversations with teachers were valuable and look forward to seeing you again at the next SPTC on 13th April.

Tuesday featured the Collaborative Performance from our Theatre students and the quality of the work produced was excellent. They performed a piece that they have created themselves entitled ‘I’.

I wish all our DP students (and their families) a pleasant long weekend.

Andrew Joy, Head of IB Academy


Creativity, Activity, Service

Some of our IB students, as a CAS experience have chosen to take up the roles of CAS Journalists, where they interview their fellow peers about different aspects of their CAS programme and their IB Diploma programme.  In light of the great achievement of our Year 13 students handing in their final Extended Essay this week, here is an article written by Lucile Perrot interviewing another fellow Year 13 student, Sofia Andersson about her Extended Essay experience.

The Year 13s have just completed one of their biggest assignments to date: The Extended Essay. As this chapter comes to an end, another one begins for the Year 12s, as they embark on their journey to write the Extended Essay. In light of this great achievement, here is an interview with Sofia Andersson on her experience, and advice she would give to the upcoming Year 13s. Once again, congratulations to all the seniors on their hard work!

  1. What Extended Essay subject and topic did you choose and why?

I did my Extended Essay on English A Literature and chose to research the significance of homes as a key symbol of wealth and class in Jane Austen’s Persuasion. I chose this because English has been one of my favorite subjects in IB, and I knew from writing the English Written Assessment that doing critical literary analysis was something I would be comfortable writing 4,000 words on. I was quite sure that I would have enough information and ideas to discuss in the essay.

  1. How did you organize your time in order to meet the deadline?

I was very thorough with my outline, and that really helped me. At the end of Year 12, they ask you to make a plan, and I had done a lot of research and organised what I was going to say in every paragraph, my thesis, evaluation, arguments, and conclusion. So, when I was going in and writing, it didn’t take too long to write it because I simply put my plan into words. I definitely focused a lot of time on the preliminary research part, instead of wasting hours writing an unprepared and unfocused essay.

  1. What was your favorite part about the experience?

My favorite part of the experience was when I read my essay for the last time. I felt so accomplished, knowing all the work that went into that final piece of work. It’s very rewarding and satisfying to see it all come together.

  1. What was the most challenging?

For me, the most challenging part was when I handed in my first draft and I got asked to rewrite almost half of my essay. I thought that I was almost finished and just had to touch up on a couple of things, and it was a bit of a tough blow to realize how much work was left between the first and final draft. It worked all out, and I’m happy I changed it, but it definitely felt like quite a big challenge to overcome at the time.

  1. If you were to do it again, would you do anything differently?

If I were to do the Extended Essay again, I think I would choose a different book. I was very happy with the subject I chose and I really recommend doing the essay in a humanitarian subject because there’s an abundance of things to say. However, I picked a book that I didn’t particularly enjoy. I think that making sure that you have a critically acclaimed work is important, but make sure you pick one that you really enjoy as well as appreciate the debate and controversy around the book.

  1. Do you have any advice about the extended essay to upcoming year 13s?

I think my advice for the Extended Essay would be, again, be extremely thorough in your planning. Additionally, and everyone says this, but really put in the work over the summer break. So many people came back after summer and hadn’t really finished or done their best. Most students thought they would be able to finish it once Year 13 started, but the problem is that you have so many other projects at the same time – college applications, Internal Assessments and the Math Exploration. Therefore, it is very important to dedicate some time to the essay over the break just to make your life easier when you come back. This might seem like a given, but I think it is overlooked by a lot of people; when you write, have the Student Guide Checklist next to you because half of the marks for the Extended Essay revolve around basic formatting. Just make sure you’re not losing easy marks and remember, this piece of work could make the difference in your final IB score.


Higher Education

University Application Deadlines by the end of Term

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. Advice and guidance is available from the HE team, and lots of information can also be found in the HE section of Moodle.

University Visits

A new addition to the term’s university visit schedule:

The University of St. Andrews will be visiting the school on Friday 25th November, at 1pm in Room 350.

The University of St. Andrews is a World Top 100 university, and is ranked third in the UK, after Oxford and Cambridge, in the Guardian’s 2016 university rankings tables. It is the third oldest university in the English speaking world, and the oldest of the four ancient universities in Scotland.

Mark Weston, Head of HE Guidance


Pastoral News

With Extended Essay’s now complete students are looking to their mock exams that will take place at the end of November.  Although students deal with the intense nature of tests and exams differently, it is always good for students to know a variety of methods to help them through some anxious times.  Recently I have  discovered an APP called ‘MindShift’.  This APP helps you by taking you step by step through differernt situations and coming up with a personalised plan to cope better with the situation you choose.  Situations include: coping with test anxiety, tackling social fears and facing performance anxiety.  It is extremely simple to use and has your situations saved for review later on to see if your plan worked. As the mock exams are practice for the final exams in May, this might just be a good way to practice a strategic plan to help work through exam anxiety.     

Angela Sharrock, Key Stage 5 Coordinator


Coursework and examinations

IB Diploma Programme Exams

Well done to the class of 2017 on finishing their Extended Essays! We have structured deadlines so students have their work more spread out so they can spend even amounts of time on their internal assessments and revision. Year 12 were informed of the timeline for their Extended Essay process which will start after the winter holiday. This is a good time to get ahead in the process and start to research what topics they are interested in so they are already ahead when the process starts. Our aim in the IB academy is to help students with their workload by making the processes of assignments less intense and more spread out so students can enjoy their research and exploring of the topics they are interested in.

IB Diploma Programme Deadlines

All deadlines for year 13 students are accessible through their Managebac account and by looking at the calendar. We encourage parents to ask students in year 13 to show them this calendar so they can help their children to plan their work. Year 12 deadlines will feature in this section after the winter holiday – be prepared!

The Year 13 deadlines for this week and the week following the October holiday are below:

Date Due


Work Due


Extended Essay

Final submission uploaded to managebac



Collaborative piece performance


German A

Written task 3 2nd draft


Spanish ab initio

Mock oral


Visual Art

Critical Study due


German B

Mock Oral



1st Cut screening


English A: Literature

Final IOC

IB Learner Profile

This week I want to highlight inquiry as the IB learner profile trait. Students can often lose sight of their passion for learning with deadlines and mock exams but they should still remember they have chosen to study these subjects because they enjoy them. For year 12s being inquiring now means you will have many ideas for internal assessments and their Extended Essay. For year 13s, being inquiring in lessons will help that deep understanding that will lead to exam success.

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