Throughout the next week, we shall have students completing their final examinations and I certainly look forward to seeing some happy and relieved faces at the end of an intensive two years. We then look forward to our two graduation events: the ceremony on Friday 19th followed by the Graduation Dinner on the 21st.
Year 12 students will be starting to find the Diploma Programme has become more demanding than in previous terms with Internal Assessment tasks being introduced, preparation for Cambodia, practice TOK presentations and the Extended Essay. They can expect to find that this is how things will be right through until the final examinations in May. This workload is manageable, though it particularly important that students stay on track as problems can arise when tasks pile up which can sometimes lead to them being rushed with a consequent dip in quality.
Right now, I would strongly recommend that Year 12 students don’t delay in conducting their Extended Essay research. The aim is to have completed this by the end of the term (though exceptions can be made for primary research which is best done during vacation time) and to have drafted an essay outline. We shall also be asking students to complete first drafts of their Maths Explorations or Projects during the summer vacation.
Andrew Joy, Head of IB Academy
Creativity, Activity, Service
This week, Katharina Stierhof writes about planning a CAS project:
‘An important part of the CAS programme that many Year 12 students have already completed, are in the process of completing is the CAS project where one or even more aspects of CAS are addressed and carried out over a period of time that exceeds one of the usual CAS experiences that students log. This enables students to fully explore an area of their interest, whether they want to develop their current skills or acquire new ones, and overall commit to this certain project, hence demonstrating their perseverance ability to take responsibility. This may present new challenges that they may not have faced otherwise, thus providing them with the opportunity to widen their horizons even further in terms of what they learn and what they may teach others.
Earlier this year, the year 12 student Alena Heise completed such a project outside of school. While helping in the organisation of the theatre project Carmina Burana, Alena had to work with a variety of people, who all had different strengths and worked to different abilities as well as different disabilities. Due to the varied mix of people, Alena stated that she had overcome several challenges such as language barriers, but despite problems and miscommunications, she was able to apply her own skillset of different languages she already has, which allowed her to personally develop a better sense of her ability to connect with different cultures. From her experience, she has learnt that despite the barriers and challenges that may exist, the cooperation between people and her own input into the organisation of the event all led to contribute to the success of the theatre project. To ensure a similarly successful CAS project, that is a CAS project that allows students to grow as a member of a community or a project that incorporates both new skills and personal input, Alena through her own experience would recommend for others to choose a project that speaks to them by either being within an area of interest of a student or something that a student may wish to learn more about as long as there are aspects that will enable the student to learn and develop.’
Ling Coong, CAS Coordinator
At the beginning of the school year the Year 12 students discussed their ideas about what well-being is and how can they best look after their well-being whilst completing their IB Diploma. Each student wrote themselves a letter explaining how they intend to look after their well-being over the next year. During registration on Wednesday morning this week the students had time to read their letters and reflect on the targets they had set themselves. I do believe this is a very good practice for the students to continue and I look forward to them making similar targets at the beginning of their final year in August.
Angela Sharrock, KS5 Coordinator
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 17 May – European (Non-UK) University Information Session
Thursday 25 May – Applying to the UK, and using UCAS APPLY (open to students 23rd May)
Year 13 Students – Pending University Applications
Any students planning on making applications to universities before the end of term (or during the holidays) should let Mr Weston know in advance which universities they are planning on sending applications to, and what information, if any, the school will be required to provide (e.g. letters of recommendation, proof of attendance), to enable the HE team and School Office to provide this information to the universities in good time. Mr Weston and Mrs Rickford will be available to help with personal statements, resumes and so on, as required, until the end of term but will both be on the Cambodia trip, so please don’t leave things till the last minute!
For applicants with conditional offers from around the world, it is important that they make sure in advance how and when their offer of a place will be confirmed as processes will differ from country to country.
Strategies for coping with your first year of university
Be prepared! – The International Student Office at your chosen university is there to provide you with support both before and after you begin your studies. Information on things like obtaining a visa, securing accommodation and opening a bank account will be provided online, and advisers are always on hand to help. It’s worth finding out in advance what you’ll need to bring with you (e.g. photocopies of your passport and travel insurance documents), or buy when you arrive (e.g. pots and pans, a SIM card for your mobile.) If there’s something you’re not sure about before you start your course, send an email to one of the International Office advisers, and be sure to make use of the service they provide once you’ve arrived.
It’s always useful to get advice from your peers, so if you know anyone already at the university you will be attending, get in touch. Otherwise, speak to your teachers and see if they can put you in contact with any of your school’s former students currently studying at your chosen university.
Surviving Your First Week – during your first week, there’ll be lots of activities and events organised by your university. Depending on where in the world you’re studying, this may be called – amongst other things - Freshers’ Week, Orientation Week, Welcome Week or Frosh Week. This will be a great way for you to meet new people and get used to your surroundings. Do attend official induction and orientation sessions to ensure that you are aware of things like how and when to register for classes, and how to navigate the university library.
If you’re feeling nervous, don’t worry! Most other students will be feeling the same way, even if they don’t show it on the outside. Don’t feel as though you need to take part in every single social activity, and don’t feel pressurised to drink loads (remember - in some countries, drinking before you’re 21 will actually be illegal). If, after a few days, you’re having a hard time ‘fitting in’ with those around you, just give it time. All sorts of people, with a huge range of interests, will be there at the university – you just need to find them … which brings us to the next point …
Get Involved –Many universities will have a ‘Freshers’ Fair’, or something similar, where students are able to sign up to join a huge range of societies, including sports and music clubs, religious societies. There’ll be opportunities to explore your interests in dance, film, gaming, languages, debating and, who knows, maybe Karaoke, K-Pop, Doctor Who, James Bond or Harry Potter! As well as going for things you know you’re interested in, also try a few things that you’d never thought of before.
Money Matters – you’ll need to set up a bank account on arrival, and you should also set up an online account/download your bank’s app on your phone. Be aware that outside of China easy payment systems such as Alipay and WeChat pay are not really a thing so you’ll usually need cash or a bank card with you to make any payments. If you’re living away from home for the first time, managing your money may not be as easy as you think. Make a budget: online tools are available via sites such as www.studentcalculator.org.uk. Otherwise a pen and paper will do (plus a calculator if you need it!). You’ll need to plan for food shopping, bills, going out, travel, and extras such as clothes, books and photocopying. Expect to spend more in your first few weeks as you get settled, but remember to make use of student discount cards and student travelcards to make savings. Books can be expensive, but buying them second-hand online can save you a lot – you’ll probably also find second-year students selling their first-year textbooks that they no longer need.
Healthy Habits – Register with a doctor and dentist on arrival … don’t wait until you need one in an emergency. And remember, in some countries such as the USA healthcare isn’t free, so you need to make sure you have health insurance that will cover you if necessary. Try to avoid getting run down by getting enough sleep, exercising and eating healthily – all easier said than done! Your university is sure to offer a counselling service to help you with any personal, relationship or academic-related problems, so don’t keep things bottled up. Talk to someone if you need to.
Mark Weston, Head of HE Guidance
Coursework and examinations
IB Diploma Programme Exams
There has been a lot of extra effort in the past two weeks from students and teachers in Year 13 for the ‘final push’. It has been great to see Year 13s supporting each other through the exam session and revision has been a team effort. I have also seen this in Year 12 and encourage students in the same subjects to form study groups in order to prepare for the end of year exams. The exams have really brought the best out of the Year 13s, they deserve success!
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.
Year 13 have now finished their internal assessments and will focus on revision from now on.
Year 12 Deadlines for this week and the week after are below
Final draft of exploration
Chinese Language and Literature
Second Formative Oral Assessment
IB Learner Profile
For this week’s learner profile focus I would like to turn it on to teachers in the school. With year 12 students preparing for their work over the summer holiday and end of year exams and year 13 students preparing for their future it is important that we are caring towards students. In order to do that it is important that students allow us to care by sharing any problems or worries they have. This is exactly what I share with my classes at IB when it comes to homework. The one question that students can’t do on a homework is the most important as that is where they will learn the most, students should seek out their teachers for help with each subject. This is an example of a homework effort grade A student. This means students must be open to their Extended Essay supervisors and that year 13 students allow the IB team to make their exam preparation as smooth as possible.
Thomas Housham, IB Diploma Programme Coordinator