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IB Diploma Programme News

03 February 2016

I would like to wish you all a very happy Chinese New Year from the IB team!  

  • IB News

At the time of writing, there are now twelve and a half weeks remaining until the final exams for Year 13. This is now around the time when most students would want to be finishing most of their coursework and starting the process of structured revision.

We strongly recommend that revision is made up of active revision techniques such as mind-mapping, past-papers and flashcards. Although this will differ from subject to subject, students should focus their revision on learning and understanding the concepts which are just beyond their grasp but most easily reachable. One common mistake is to focus immediately on the most difficult parts of the course – those will need revising eventually but faster gains are made in working on those areas which the student nearly has mastered. The other common error is to spend time revising things that the student knows already! Too much emphasis on past papers can sometimes result in them spending time doing questions which they already knew how to do. We recommend that past papers are used in a more targeted way by identifying specific topics.

Students can also use their peers as a valuable resource for revision. Setting up study groups can have benefits and it can be very effective for students to take it in turns to present a topic to the rest of the group.

Year 12 students should also be using the short vacation profitably. As well as recharging batteries, they can review their notes from the past half term and read ahead for the upcoming subject content. In March, we shall be asking students to start making choices about Extended Essay topics so the CNY vacation is a great opportunity to generate ideas

Andrew Joy, Head of IB Academy

Creativity, Activity, Service

This week, Anne Zimmer answers some questions from Ji Woo Yoon about her CAS experience with ‘creative cooking’

‘’My CAS experience revolves around creating dishes inspired by different cultures and already-existing recipes. Every week, I try to accumulate recipes from different cultures and personalize them. I would first gather the basics of the cooking style, and then revise it so beginner cooks could easily make it as well. Lastly, I would share my finalized dish with my family and ask for feedback in order to show further improvements in next week’s dish.

My genuine interest in cooking was a significant factor in this particular choice. I initially began cooking as a simple hobby, and then considered turning it into an assignment that can be documented and used to prove my creativity through the diversity of dishes. Furthermore, I believe that cooking is a particularly useful experience, as I can apply my learning in daily life.

I was pleased by the comprehensive progress I’ve made in this experience. Particularly, I enjoyed the fact that my hard work could easily be reflected by the end result in cooking. My efforts were directly mirrored in every dish, through various areas such as appearance and taste. Therefore, at the end of every experience, I would feel a sense of achievement and development.

I’ve acquired some significant skills and knowledge throughout this experience. Most importantly, I learned to effectively plan my cooking sessions by considering different aspects involved. For instance, I realized that simply gathering ingredients and making a dish wasn’t the only step involved in cooking. Time management is another significant skill needed, as it determines results of every dish. Moreover, I’ve also developed the ability to make adjustments to dishes in the process of making them. By accumulating such skills, I can now successfully produce each dish without mistakes like I did in the beginning. Looking back at my previous mistakes and failures, I can easily note the progress I’ve made throughout this experience.’’

Coursework and examinations

IB Diploma Programme Deadlines and Exams

This week I would like to focus on the start of the deadline calendar for Year 12s. This week we have had an assembly on research skills for the Extended Essay followed by a task during form time. This should bring the Extended Essay process to the front of students’ minds and they will be asked to make subject choices by March 11. With a growth mind-set in mind, students should approach this choice head on and not avoid this decision. Currently in the IB  Academy, there is a presentation being played on a loop which presents different ideas of Extended Essays that can be written in each subject. This is also available in the Extended Essay section of moodle for students to access at home. Furthermore there are examples of Extended Essays on moodle. We encourage students to be thinking about their subject choice over the holiday and to come back and talk to teachers if they have any questions about their particular subject.

Below are the deadlines for Year 13 this week and the week after the holiday.

Date Due


Work Due



Final cut hand in


Business and Management

Final internal assessment submission


German Language and Literature

Written task 1 1st draft


Chinese B SL

Written assignment final submission


English B

1st draft



3rd Internal assessment final submission



Portfolio 1st draft


Dutch Language and Literature

1st draft of written task



Stage 2 of internal assessment ready for peer marking


Visual Art

Final draft of Curatorial Rational and Individual descriptions for exhibition pieces



Final deadline of 3,000 word report


French B

Oral final practice


German B

Oral final practice


Spanish B

Oral final practice



Internal assessment final draft submission


Chinese B HL

Individual oral


Spanish B

Final deadline for written assignment


English B

Internal assessment final submission


Chinese Language and Literature

Internal assessment final submission


Theory of Knowledge

First draft of essay

IB Learner Profile

With students being set work for the holiday, it is important again to be reflective. ‘We work to understand our strengths and weaknesses in order to support our learning’. This message from the IBO’s definition of reflective shows the purpose of work we do outside of class. It will only become meaningful if we use it to inform our future studies.

Explaining the Diploma Programme

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

In order to achieve an IB Diploma, there are nine ‘failing conditions’ which must be avoided

1)      CAS requirements not met

2)      Less than 24 Diploma points

3)      Grade N in any subject (including TOK and Extended Essay). The N grade indicates that this component has not been completed. So, for example, a student who didn’t submit an Extended Essay would receive a grade N.

4)      TOK or Extended Essay awarded grade E

5)      A grade 1 in any subject

6)      Three or more grade 2s in subjects

7)      Four or more grade 3s in subjects

8)      Fewer than 12 points for Higher Level subjects (for students registered for four HL subjects, the three highest grades count)

9)      Fewer than 9 points for Standard Level subjects (or fewer than 5 points for a student who takes four HL subjects and two SL subjects)

These requirements have recently been simplified and replace a slightly different set of requirements that existed before May 2015.

Of course, the vast majority of our students do pass the IB Diploma and meet all of these requirements. On the rare occasions when a student is in danger of not passing, this will be communicated through our tracker or by individual contact with parents and the student themselves. And, of course, we do everything we can to support that student in trying to overcome those hurdles.

Andrew Joy, Head of IB Academy

Focus on Careers

With the recent launch of UCAS’s career-focussed section of its website, this week’s newsletter item will focus on careers.

           Whilst many students choose degree courses based on their particular area of                                                   academic interest, others make decisions based on their career goals.

For some careers, such as Medicine or Dentistry, it is essential for students to take particular degree or post-graduate degree courses.

For other careers, rather than taking a specific degree course, it may be important to have a degree, or major, in a relevant field of study (so, for example, if you wanted to work as a microbiologist, relevant degrees, or areas of major study, could include Applied Biology, Biological Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Microbiology, amongst others).

Some careers do not require students to have a degree, or major, in any particular area.

The Ideas Generator and the document entitled Choosing a Degree by Way of School Subjects (available to students via Managebac) are useful tools to identify degree subjects or areas of major study that students might want to pursue in the future, based on the subjects that they are currently studying at IB, although it’s also worth remembering that some students pick degree courses based on a combination of academic and extra-curricular activities or interests (such as Games Design, or Sports Science). The A-Z of University Subjects (also available to students via Managebac) gives more detailed information about what a degree course or major area of study will involve. Degree course content varies from university to university, so students should always check on universities’ websites for up-to-date information.

Once a student has identified an area of interest, it’s worth logging on to the prospects.ac.uk website to see what careers could follow on from a particular degree subject. 

If a student knows what they want to do in the future, they should look up the job or career they are interested in, and work backwards to check what qualifications or other requirements are necessary for entry here.

(Please note, the Prospects.ac.uk website is geared towards the UK job market, but much of the advice is applicable to many countries worldwide. However, students should always make sure that they are clear about the professional entry requirements for careers in the country/countries in which they plan to work)

Some professions require degree courses to be accredited by professional bodies (for instance, those wishing to qualify as psychologist need to be sure that their chosen degree is validated by the British Psychological Society) so it’s worth students checking that their choice of degree will enable them to reach their career goals in the future.

Useful Careers Websites – The document at the bottom of this page gives links to useful careers-related websites. Here you will find careers questionnaires, videos and general careers advice.

           As always, if students or parents have any questions, please contact Mr Weston in the HE Office.

            Mark Weston, Higher Education Adviser





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