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IB Diploma News

24 May 2017

‘The person born with a talent they are meant to use will find their greatest happiness in using it’ (Goethe)

Over the last week, we have had the opportunity to celebrate the completion of the Diploma Programme by our Year 13 students. 

  • IB Graduation
  • IB Graduation

The Graduation Ceremony on Friday 19 was well attended and marked the moment when these students formally graduated from BISS. They were presented with certificates of graduation as well as graduation gifts. It was great to hear from our valedictorian speakers – Lucile Perrot and Daniel Tafelski – who shared some of the memories of the last two years with a blend of humour and passion.

This was followed by our Graduation Dinner on Sunday 21 May at the Wanda Reign on the Bund, once again well attended by students, parents and staff. The Class of 2017 looked absolutely stunning in the way they were dressed for the occasion and the evening proved a fitting end to their time at BISS. Photographs from the two events will shortly be made available via our school Moodle and an email will be sent to students with the necessary links.

Year 12 students are gearing up for their end of year examinations which start on Wednesday 31 May and continue throughout that week. They have been issued with exam timetables and are now focusing on revision. Although they will have seen many exam style questions during their lessons, this will be the first time they have tried papers covering multiple topics so this will be valuable experience. The results will give a valuable indication of progress so far, though it needs to be borne in mind that at this stage, they are unlikely to yet be at the level that they will achieve at the end of the programme.

Andrew Joy, Head of IB Academy


Creativity, Activity, Service


Along with Activity and Service, Creativity is one of the strands of CAS.  Creativity in CAS provides students with the opportunity to explore their own sense of original thinking and expression.  Our students have undergone a wide variety of Creativity experiences ranging from making computer games to creating their own YouTube channels.  Experiences that students choose to do often stem from personal interests and passions. Others have discovered their passion whilst challenging themselves to new experiences.  I encourage students to take inspiration and try something new; you never know you might discover a new passion or future career.  Here are some ideas for Creativity experiences that link to different subjects and some also have Service and Activity elements to them.     


  1. Write a script for a play.
  2. Participate in a community-based theatre group.
  3. Design or participate in awareness-raising performances for NGOs.
  4. Form a performance group.
  5. Run a children’s theatre group in the local community.
  6. Organise an improvisation theatre troupe.
  7. Learn how to perform magic and put on a magic show.


  1. Join a choir or participate in a musical.
  2. Play a musical instrument in a band or orchestra.
  3. Learn to play a musical instrument or take vocal lessons.
  4. Form a music group.
  5. Perform for clients in aged care homes.
  6. Conduct a choir or a band.
  7. Host a musical event at school.

Visual art

  1. Produce personal artworks.
  2. Paint a mural for the walls of a local primary school or childcare centre.
  3. Design posters for school advertising particular events.
  4. Curate the school art gallery.
  5. Organize or participate in craft activities.
  6. Do photo shoots for NGOs or for senior citizens.
  7. Enter a local art or photography competition.
  8. Teach art for early childhood or primary school.


  1. Join a ballet or jazz class.
  2. Choreograph a school production.
  3.  Run a school-based dance class.
  4. Perform as a dancer in a school production.
  5.  Participate in annual school performers’ showcase.
  6. Teach a junior dance class.
  7. Organize a dance flash mob

Design technology

  1. Participate in design projects to improve the local community.
  2. Oversee a project for school.
  3. Participate in council competitions.
  4. Design and create furniture.
  5. Assist an NGO with designing a website or provide content for its website.
  6. Help a local hospital or clinic with a redesign.


  1. Produce items for a school fair.
  2. Support a group that raises money for small business loans for undeveloped countries.
  3. Run workshops for NGOs to give them ideas for creative awareness-raising or more efficient business practices.
  4. Run business-type events to train students in running a business.
  5. Help a local start-up develop a business plan.

Information technology

  1. Teach basic ICT skills.
  2. Join the technology support group at school.
  3. Design digital books.
  4. Design and maintain a website for an NGO.


  1. Join a mathematics group and participate in school competitions.
  2. Run a problem-solving group at school.
  3. Tutor other students in mathematics.
  4. Design mathematical/logic puzzles for junior students.


  1. Coach a junior sports team.
  2. Design a training schedule for a sports team.
  3. Design individual training programs for specific junior players on a team.
  4. Incorporate skills from other sports into training, for example, rugby circuits into netball training

Environmental systems and societies

  1. Design a recycling project for the school.
  2. Investigate the use of energy in the school and provide a proposal for more efficient energy usage
  3. Create a school-based eco-garden.
  4. Participate in designing a community garden.
  5. Investigate ways to limit water consumption at school.

Ling Coong, CAS Coordinator


Higher Education

Preparing for University - How to stay study smart during your course

Hopefully you’ve picked up good academic and organisational habits at school, but it’s worth bearing some of the following tips in mind for your transition to university…

Planning your tasks and organising your time in advance - Don’t leave things to the last minute! If you have four weeks to complete an essay, it’s probably because you’re expected to spend four weeks working on it. Some lectures may prove more useful to you than others, and whilst some universities will provide access to lectures online for you to catch up on in your own time, remember that in some countries your attendance at lectures may be a factor in determining your grades.

Deadlines are Deadlines – at university, you are very likely to be penalised for handing in coursework late (for example, a 10% reduction in your mark for every day that the work is overdue). You may be required to submit work online and even if you’re just one-minute late, this will still be counted as late. Computer problems are no excuse, so make sure you backup your work in multiple locations (hard drive, the cloud & memory stick) and/or email yourself a copy at the end of each study session.

Academic Work – make accurate notes of page numbers when undertaking research. This will save you time when referencing your work.  Always ensure that you acknowledge the use of someone else’s ideas or research. Plagiarism is taken extremely seriously at university!  Tim Squirrell, a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh, has an excellent blog on how to write effective undergraduate essays. He also emphasises good skim-reading skills when tackling academic reading-lists - you often don’t need to read a book from cover to cover – reading the introduction, the conclusion and a relevant chapter may well be enough (though this doesn’t apply to primary source texts).

Stay on top of rules and regulations – make sure you’re meeting your minimum course load requirements - in the USA, this is a condition of maintaining your visa status and you can be deported if you fall below the course load minimum.  Make sure you know how and when to sign up for different modules and courses – if you are studying in a system in which you choose your own courses before specialising, you will be responsible for your own registration and may face a fine if you miss your allocated registration period. In German universities, you need to enrol each term to remain in classes and must keep each certificate you receive from each class.

Make use of feedback to improve – this is something you probably already do, but it’s equally as important at university, as the leap from school-level work to undergraduate-level work can be a big one. Your tutors or academic advisers will be willing to help, even if they may be more difficult to get hold of than your teachers at school.

Mark Weston, Head of HE Guidance


Pastoral News

Over the past 5 weeks I have spent much of my time working with students on their end of year revision schedules and daily organisation.  This has been an enlightening experience for myself as it was great to see most students with well set out revision plans in a variety of forms such as spread sheets, monthly calendars and weekly diaries.  All students welcomed the advice given to them on how to make their revision schedule manageable and flexible enough that all subjects were included as well as other important activities that help them balance their life.  Organisational skills such as these are so very important, not just for exams, but for life.  Having students learn to look ahead and make plans that balance out their commitments helps ease stress levels and will hopefully make life much more enjoyable.  I wish the Year 12 students all the best with their exams next week.  I hope that all the hard work they have put into study in the lead up to the exams pays off.

Angela Sharrock, Head of Year 12


Coursework and examinations

IB Diploma Programme Exams

Well done Year 13! Students have come through this intense period of time and smiling on the other side. The graduation event on Friday and the dinner on Sunday was full of very happy students. We could see the pressure had left them and they were fully enjoying their new freedom. For Year 12 students this is a good motivator for what is to come and what their hard work is building up to. It is easy for students to lose motivation when all they can see is the next few days or weeks ahead of them but this is a reminder to think about the bigger picture. Year 12 students should treat the end of year internal exams as an opportunity to reflect on the year rather than a chore. Year 12 students should make sure they bring, next week, to the internal exams:

  • A blue or black pen (not a gel pen)
  • Pencil and other equipment needed for diagrams
  • Graphic display calculator for Mathematics exams that it is needed for, scientific calculators are allowed in addition to the graphic display calculator
  • Water in clear bottles
  • Calculator for other exams where it is needed (your teachers would have informed you about this)

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. As the Year 12 internal exams are next week there are no deadlines for this period of time.

Year 12 Deadlines for this week are below

Date Due


Work Due         


English A


IB Learner Profile

Students need to be determined as well as disciplined in their revision techniques. It is very easy to become distracted when revising but remaining principled is key to this process. Students have been revising well in school but they still need to refine the process and improve their focus and revision techniques. After the internal exams it will be important to reflect and review their performance in this area. It is important students learn how to squeeze every last percentage out of each exam and internal/external assessment.

Thomas Housham, IB Diploma Programme Coordinator