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International Diploma Programme News

20 April 2016

Year 13 students now have less than one week of normal lessons before their examinations begin with the last day of teaching being April 27. 

  • BFA's

The next few weeks will be very intensive with final revision and the examinations themselves. One thing to bear in mind is the importance of arriving at the exam in peak mental and physical condition. Good sleeping and eating patterns are an important part of that – any benefit gained by working into the small hours the night before an exam is more than offset by the effect of a lack of sleep on their mental sharpness.

Tickets are now on sale for the graduation dinner and we encourage students, their parents and other family members to join us for this evening to celebrate their achievements in completing the Diploma Programme (and indeed, their secondary schooling). A letter with information about payment details was sent out last week – you can also find a copy of this letter here

This week, we are looking forward to seeing some of the work from our Year 13 Film students at the ‘BFA Awards’ on Thursday. This is sure to be a hugely enjoyable occasion featuring some really high quality films.

Year 12 are gearing up for a busy term. End of year tests take place from 30 May to 3 June and these will be followed by days dedicated to Group 4 projects and TOK presentations (on 7 and 10 June respectively). Students have also been thinking about their CAS trip to Cambodia – in our assembly this week, Ms. Coong encouraged them to think about the long term impact of their CAS work there rather than indulge in ‘volunteer tourism’.

Andrew Joy, Head of IB Academy

Creativity, Activity, Service

This is the last in our series of reflections from Year 13 students. This week, we hear from Jerome Ching.

‘As an integral part of the IB Diploma Programme, CAS has helped me gain insight into the value of variety within education. By taking part in different types of activities, I was able to both expand my horizons and apply the lessons learned in them to my studies. None of this would have been possible without the contributions of the many perspectives which must be taken into account during participation in CAS.

From tutoring children in the primary school to participating in debate during MUN conferences, my CAS activities were not only impactful, but instilled a deeper sense of meaning within me, and revolutionised my way of thinking. For example, the unique challenges of teaching mathematical skills to children much younger than I am forced me to grow in ways I had previously never considered. Yet another development I made during the process of teaching was obtaining a newfound understanding of the concepts I had learned in classes. The flexible nature of teaching helped me to see things in different ways and thus gain a more complete understanding of what I had learned. Besides this, in such a time-restricted setting as teaching, improvisational skills must be developed to effectively manage what is being taught, as well as to retain the ability to react to the feedback and performance of individual students. The benefits of improvisational skills are not limited to teaching, but confer widespread benefits which apply to other activities as well. For example, in MUN, delegates must respond quickly to questions asked of them after speeches, which requires that they improvise in order to respond in an effective manner.

The service trip to Cambodia was, in my opinion, a highly enlightening trip for many reasons. The insight into the daily life of those living in Phnom Penh made me realise just how fortunate I am in daily life, and evoked a feeling of intense empathy for their plight. Experiencing this galvanised my innate desire to help those less fortunate than I am, and only made this pursuit more personal. I became acutely aware of the ability of individuals to help improve society in small increments, rather than simply being a cog in its workings.

Planning the activities for the trip with my group helped me to realise my shortcomings and identify areas for improvement when considering future endeavours. By taking into account the various challenges that we anticipated encountering during the trip, we were able to more effectively accommodate the differences between our expectations and the reality of the situation. For example, communication turned out to be an issue when interacting with the children at the school, but we eventually found it easy to communicate through universal means such as body language and gesture. This meshed well with the activities we had planned, which had more of a focus on practicality rather than having to be explained extensively.

Overall, I felt like being involved in CAS while completing the IBDP contributed immensely to the overall experience by enhancing the variety of experiences already present within my studies, and by doing so, made my education more complete.’

Ling Coong, CAS Coordinator

Higher Education

Lunchtime University Information Sessions

Mr Weston and Mrs Rickford will be running a number of Lunchtime University Information sessions for Year 12 students over the next few weeks:

The sessions will take place at 1:15 in Room 350

Thursday 21 April – USA University Information Session

Tuesday 26 April – Applying to Oxford or Cambridge

Thursday 28 April – UK University Information Session

Tuesday 4 May – Applying to Medical School

Thursday 5 May –   European (Non-UK) University Information Session

Thursday 12 May – Asian University Information Session

University of British Columbia - A visit from the University of British Columbia will be taking place at BISS Puxi on Thursday 28 April at 15:35 in Room 350

Students interested in applying for Canadian Universities are encouraged to attend.

The University of Melbourne – The University of Melbourne is holding a China Information day in Shanghai on Sunday 8 May 13:30 - 17:00.   The event will take place at: Chun Shen Room, 9 Floor, Peace Hotel, 20 Nanjing East Road, Shanghai.

Students and parents will be given the opportunity to meet professors, staff and alumni and learn more about the university’s undergraduate courses, entry requirements, scholarships, accommodation and the unique Melbourne experience. All of the University’s faculties and graduate schools will join the Information Day: Business and Economics; Engineering and IT; Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences; Architecture, Building and Planning; Science; Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; Fine Arts and Music; Education and Foundation Studies at Trinity College.

To register, click here

                  Mark Weston, Higher Education Adviser

Coursework and examinations

IB Diploma Programme Exams

I would like to reiterate the tasks that students need to make sure are complete before going on study leave in one week time:

·         Make sure the latest operating system is on your graphic display calculator

·         Put a label on your calculator with your name on it

·         Complete the request for results service form given out by form tutors

·         Make sure you have correct equipment for exams; gel pens are not permitted, ball point pens only.

IB Diploma Programme Deadlines

The Year 12 deadlines for this week and next are below:

Date Due


Work Due


Dutch Language and Literature

Formative Oral Assessment



First Internal assessment final submission


English Literature

Final IOPs

IB Learner Profile

As more and more deadlines come up for Year 12, including those for the Extended Essay, it is important that students are principled. Students must take responsibility for their actions and consider the reasons deadlines are in place. At this time deadlines are in place so teachers can have time to give good feedback on first drafts and therefore handing drafts in late will have a negative impact on teachers’ planning. If any deadline is going to be an issue then we encourage students to meet with teachers and discuss what can be done.

Thomas Housham IB Diploma 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 researching the extended essay.

The Extended Essay is fundamentally a research project and the expectation is that the student will spend a significant time conducting research for their topic before writing the essay. The exact form of that research will vary from subject to subject and may include a balance of primary and secondary research. For each subject, there are some guidelines in the IBO’s Extended Essay guide which outline the sort of research that is expected for an essay in that subject.

The criteria that assesses the quality of the research specifies that an ‘imaginative range of appropriate sources’ should be consulted in order to get the top grades. We subscribe to JSTOR which is an academic database of articles and books and is an excellent source of scholarly work which can support the essay. Students are also encouraged to look beyond online sources and may also do some primary research depending on the topic.

Our current Year 12 students will be writing the first drafts of their essays over the summer vacation and should have completed their research by the end of the summer term. In some situations, students may need to do research over the summer (for example, if they plan to visit a museum in their home country) and in such cases it is possible to request an extension to the deadline for completing research.

Andrew Joy, Head of IB Academy