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IB Diploma News

09 February 2017

I would like to wish you a very happy Chinese New Year from the IB team! At the time of writing, there are now eleven 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 are continuing with their work getting ready for the Extended Essay. On Monday 13th, they will have their second Extended Essay seminar which will focus on Research Skills which will be followed by some form time activities. They will be choosing Extended Essay subjects in March, then working with a supervisor to refine this into a Research Question. Students will be conducting their research during the third term and will then need to write the first draft of their essay during the summer vacation.

It is important when planning ahead for the summer vacation to factor in that students will need to spend some time working. The Extended Essay will be the primary focus while Higher Level Mathematics students will also need to work on their Explorations. Other subjects may set smaller tasks.

The preparation of Year 11 students for the Diploma Programme continues in earnest. The Information Evening for parents and students takes place on Monday 13th February. The event starts at 6:30pm and the first 30 minutes will provide an opportunity to have conversations with subject specialists in our secondary foyer. At 7pm, there will be presentations in our auditorium.

Andrew Joy, Head of IB Academy


Creativity, Activity, Service

This week, Lucille Perrot shares some of her reflections about her learning on the CAS programme.

“As the end of the year quickly approaches for the Year 13 students, so does the end of our CAS journeys. For the past two years, we have worked on embodying and becoming the well-rounded students the IB strives for, while pursuing various activities, services and creative endeavors. Although challenging at times, CAS has taught us all the importance of balance in our lifestyles even amidst the academic pressure of it all. Now is a time to reflect on the experiences we’ve had, the lessons we learned, and ask the important questions: What have I learned?

I can confidently say that CAS has pushed me to step outside of my comfort zone, and discover new passions while deepening others. There was always a healthy balance between pursuing new activities and continuing the ones I loved, and that was always something I truly appreciated. I could participate in Model United Nations, as I had for the entirety of high school, but also dabble in sports I had never imagined trying like squash and yoga. This diversity is what makes CAS so unique and compelling, because we are everything but static. We are growing and adapting with every passing day. 

CAS urged me to think beyond simple actions and reflect upon the implications of what I was doing. We are often so caught up in the whirlwind of doing that we forget what it means to us. Well, CAS reminds you of this, and ensures that you have the ability to measure the impact you have not only on yourself but others as well. This aspect became particularly important with bigger CAS projects such as the Cambodia Trip, in which we had to seriously consider the impacts of our actions – global, ethical, and personal. In many ways, I learned how to become a conscientious individual as both a student and a citizen of the world.

Although admittedly exciting, CAS was quite challenging at times. Despite actively participating in all the strands required, I sometimes forgot to reflect on the experience. It occasionally seemed inorganic to systematically write reflections on certain events, but I eventually learned that this was perhaps the most important step of it all. Reflections were the consummation of that activity, both on paper and in my mind. They guaranteed that I could gauge the significance of a specific experience and contemplate on what I could do next to be a better version of myself. Forcing myself to face my weaknesses – ranging from consistency to the diversity of my activities, I was constantly evaluating and reevaluating myself. CAS allowed me to hone on who I was, embracing the positive and changing the negative. 

Ultimately, I learned that CAS is not a box that you need to check off in order to receive your IB diploma, but it’s a way of life. Whether you start in high school or later on, being an active individual that engages with its surroundings is they key to leading a balanced lifestyle. We are multi-faceted individuals that need to be supported by a diverse range of activities. So, to Year 12’s, I say embrace CAS because it truly is worth the outcome. And to my fellow senior friends, congratulations on becoming the best you there is. “


Coursework and examinations

IB Diploma Programme Exams

As mentioned, students are coming to the end of many of their assignments in Year 13. It is therefore extremely important they focus on each piece of feedback given by teachers in order to maximise their marks. There will be small changes that can be made to meet the criteria set out by the IBO. All criteria is available to students and they should use it as they do their final checks of each piece of work.

IB Diploma Programme Deadlines

All deadlines for year 12 and year 13 students are accessible through their Managebac account by looking at the calendar. We encourage parents to ask their son/daughter to show them this calendar so they can help their children to plan their work.

The Year 13 deadlines for this week and next are below

Date Due


Work Due


Korean A

Written task final submission of creative


Spanish A

Written task final submission of creative


Korean A HL

Written task final submission of critical response


Computer Science

Documentation due



Portfolio 1st draft due


English Language and Literature

P1,2 and 4 final submission


Chinese B SL

3rd Interactive Oral Assessment



1st draft of essay


Chinese B HL

Individual Oral



IA final submission

There are no upcoming deadlines for Year 12 this week or the week after the Chinese New Year holiday.

Date Due


Work Due         



Research presentation (mock)


IB Learner Profile

With the final deadline for all language subjects approaching we are reminded of the IB Diploma’s opportunity to develop linguistically by studying two languages. This important part of the programme should support students much later in life as they use their language skills to in their future careers and future travels.


Pastoral News

On Tuesday this week our year 10-13 students listened to a talk by Dr Becci Dow from Olivia's Place on the topic of sexual health. It was a very informative talk which focused on understanding more about relationships and what it means to consent to sexual activities. Furthermore, she discussed how to stay safe from sexually transmitted diseases and where get reliable information about sexual health. Dr Dow spoke about the importance of being open to discussions with adults on the topic and to fully understand the implications of sexual activity from a physical and emotional perspective. As the students in our upper secondary are growing up and becoming adults, this talk will have hopefully given some valuable information about sexual health and an understanding of the role of consent in relationships.

Angela Sharrock, KS5 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 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


Choosing a Degree Subject & Your Future Career

The focus of this week’s section is 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 on the Careers Section of the HE Area of Moodle) 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 on Moodle) 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 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.

(Please note, the 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 in the UK 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.

For US:

As always, if students or parents have any questions, please contact Mr Weston in the HE Office, where there is also a big fat up-to-date Careers reference book for students to borrow!

Mark Weston, Head of HE Guidance