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  • A Warm Welcome

    Situated in the heart of a thriving expat community, our school is home to families from all over the world

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    IB students in Chemistry lab

IB Diploma News

07 March 2018

For Year 13 students there are several pieces of work coming to an end this week. Students are completing and uploading, to the IB, their Theory of Knowledge Essays as well as uploading their Extended Essays.

This brings to an end two processes which has implications on the amount of time students will now have during the school day. They will have an extra two study periods during the week in order to focus on their revision and go through past papers and set themselves targets to work on. This is now the time when they can take their revision to the next step with just under 50 days until the first exam. I would like to repeat what I included in the newsletter last week that effective revision means completing papers and reflecting on what they struggled with in order to set effective targets.

Parents can support at home by discussing targets with students to make sure that they are focussing on their areas of weaknesses more than their areas of strength when it comes to revision.


Year 12

Year 12 students should be working their way towards next Friday’s deadline of a draft research question recorded on ManageBac. Students should have narrowed down their subject choice to a specific topic and start to analyse what exactly they want to look at in that topic. They can draw on the experience of coming up with research questions by introducing ‘limiting factors’. This was a task that Year 12 students completed when we were first introducing the Extended Essay.

Thomas Housham, Head of IB Academy


Diploma Programme Deadlines

Each week we will publish the deadlines for students so you can help support them at home. Below are the deadlines for this week and the week after the Christmas holidays. It is extremely important students stick to these as they have been carefully arranged to make the Diploma Programme manageable. Year 12 deadlines are now below also. The whole deadline calendar for Year 12 students for this academic year has been shared with them via email. They have this as an excel file so they can filter down to their subjects.


Year 13


Description of Work

Date due

Dutch A

Written task 4 final submission

5 March 2018

Mandarin ab initio

Individual Orals

7 March 2018

Chinese B SL

Individual Orals

7 March 2018


Solo Piece final submission

9 March 2018


Performing - Final Deadline for portfolio

9 March 2018


Mock Oral Assessment recordings

12 March 2018

Visual Art

All VA work submitted

13 March 2018


Production Portfolio (IA) final submission

14 March 2018

English B

Individual Orals

15 March 2018

French B

Individual Oral

15 March 2018

German B

Individual Oral

15 March 2018

Spanish B

Individual Oral

15 March 2018

Spanish ab initio

Individual Oral

15 March 2018


Year 12


Description of Work

Date due

English Language and Literature SL / HL

Final draft of WT1 Language

05 March 2018

Dutch A: L&L


12 March 2018


Creativity, Activity, Service News

Year 12 CAS

By now, our Year 12 students should be in the swing of CAS and taking more ownership of their own programme.  This can be seen as our students continue their experiences, finding new challenges to stretch themselves and opportunities to work collaboratively.  One such experience would be the planning of Earth Month in school to launch our Environment and Sustainability initiative.  Year 12 student, Lynnet Cham reflects on a recent planning meeting:

On the 2nd of March, Woowon and I attended a meeting regarding the Global Challenge and Earth month. Our CAS project has taken a turn and instead of Earth day we will actually be organising Earth Month instead, incorporating Water Day and Earth Day. This will last from the 22nd of March (World Water Day) to the 22nd of April (World Earth Day). Our main goal is to inspire the students of BISS to be much more eco-friendly instead of forcing them to do something they don't want, this is to ensure that if they are truly inspired to be eco-friendly they will be on a daily basis, not just in front of us.

This collaboration decision was made, as we agreed that starting a whole new Earth Day at school could face a lot of difficulties. Therefore, after speaking with Ms Coong whom is in charge of organising Water Day with the student leaders, we have decided to merge our ideas together.

At the meeting we discussed about what our aims and goals are for the current Global Challenge and how our project links in with it. We also discussed about problems which occurred last year during the Global Challenge and how we could combat those problems this year. We also discussed and shared what was happening in Primary and in Secondary, so that we all know what was going around BISS. It was clear that Primary has made a head start and Secondary has barely started, we all agreed at Secondary and Primary should merge and work together and put in a collective effort rather than it being solely Primary doing one thing and Secondary doing another.

Since the 22nd of March is coming up very soon, we have to start making our ideas and thoughts into reality and start discussing about how we can get Earth Month started. It will be a challenge as it will be a large group of us working together so we have to find a time where we can all meet and discuss which will be the first difficulty but we will make it work, and another challenge would be that disagreements will bound to occur. However, I am certain we will overcome it and work together and it will be a great learning opportunity for me to resolve any disagreements and learn to work with others in order for this to be a successful Earth Month and also Global Challenge. - Lynnet Cham, Year 12 Student

Ling Coong, CAS Coordinator


Further Education

University Visits in March

Sogang University (Korea) - Tuesday 13th March at 1pm in Room 350

School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS), University of London - Tuesday 20th March at 1pm in Room 350

University of Leeds Engineering Presentation to Y12 Physics students – Thursday 22nd March, P5

Cambridge Immerse 2018

Cambridge Immerse is a two-week residential educational experience that allows participants to gain an unrivalled insight into a chosen discipline, ranging from the arts to the sciences. Subjects offered include Computer Science, Medicine, Law, Economics, History, Engineering, and many more.The programme takes place across Queen’s College, Christ’s College, Sidney Sussex College, and St Catharine’s College. All are prestigious and central colleges of Cambridge University.

To find out more & to enrol, please see the link below and inform Mr Weston:

BISS Puxi University Fair – 10th March 2018, 10am-2pm 

On Saturday 10th March 2018, we will be holding a university fair for parents and students. This is a fantastic opportunity for students and parents to meet with university representatives from Higher Education institutions around the world, and will be especially important for current Year 11 and 12 students to attend if possible (we are aware that other events are taking place on the same day). More and more universities are signing up to attend every week. Please follow this link for more information, and to register:

University Presentations @ the University Fair

The location of each session will be available on the day of the fair. Visitors are advised to

arrive at the relevant location at least 5 minutes ahead of the start time.

SESSION A - 10:30 – 11:10

  • Applying to Universities in the USA 
  • Studying in Scotland                                                          
  • Learning Opportunities in Hong Kong      

SESSION B – 11:20 – 12:00

  • Choosing the Right Course & University (UK)                                   
  • International Engineering Education                    
  • How to Identify Your ‘Superpower’: Discovering your Unique Strengths and Sharing them through your University Application (USA)

SESSION C - 12:10 – 12:50

  • Writing a Winning Personal Statement     (UK/Europe/Hong Kong)              
  • Building a Strong Art & Design Portfolio
  • Liberal Arts & Sciences Colleges vs. University: What’s the Difference? (USA)​​​​​​​

SESSION D: 13:00 – 13:40

  • Applying to Universities in Europe (non-UK)        
  • Writing the College Essay (USA)                                                                               
  • Applying to Medical/Dentistry/Veterinary School in the UK
  • Applying to Business School (UK)

Making the Most of the University Fair

Which course and university could be right for you? The University fair is an ideal way to find out which universities would suit your interests, preferences, and academic strengths. Representatives from each university are on hand to discuss courses, what the university is like, where it is located, what its graduates go on to do, and more.

In order to make the most of the fair it is important that when you get your chance to speak to university representatives, you ask the right questions – those which will best help you make important decisions about your future.

Some good questions to ask are ‘What makes your course/university’ stand out?’, ‘What kind of student are you looking for’

Things to consider:

Where in the world do I want to study? 

Different countries have different systems of education – in some countries (such as the UK) students usually specialise in a subject area from the very start; in other countries (such as the USA) it is common to take a range of subjects before specialising after two years of study. Which mode of study would suit you best?

What are the university entry requirements?

IB Scores - some universities will ask students to achieve particular IB scores for specific courses (e.g. 38 IB points, including core points, to study Management at the University of Warwick). They may also require you to have taken particular subjects (e.g. HL Maths for some Economics courses) Other universities (for example, those in Hong Kong) will ask for a minimum predicted IB score in order for you to be considered but will expect you to achieve higher grades in order to be competitive.

Admissions Tests -  some universities, such as Oxford and Cambridge, require students to take admissions tests for some subjects. Some (but not all) US universities require students to have taken SAT or ACT tests.

English Language Requirements – most universities worldwide regard a 4 or 5 at Higher or Standard Level IB English (A or B) sufficient to meet their English Language requirements, but a few may also require students to have achieved minimum TOEFL or IELTS scores.

What qualities and skills does the university look for when considering applicants?

Don't try to match yourself to a university, rather try to pick a university that matches you. The fair is a chance to find out not just what a university requires of you, but what you are looking for in a university.

Other things to consider:

  • Does the University offer the course or major you are interested in? 
  • Which subjects does the university excel in offering? 
  • How many places are available on the course and how many applications are received each year?
  • Are there any subjects or qualifications that are not acceptable for your course?
  • How is the course assessed – by exam or continuous assessment?
  • Is it possible to study abroad for part of the course?
  • How flexible is the course? Is there scope to pursue special interests?
  • How easy is it to change course or to study a subsidiary course?
  • How is the course taught – through lectures, tutorials, seminars, laboratory work, other?
  • What is the staff to student ratio?
  • Where is the university based? 
  • What is the size of the university? Is it a campus university on the outskirts of a town, or a bustling city centre university?
  • What’s on offer in the town, city or campus in which the university is based?
  • How far away is the university from an airport or other transport links?
  • Do students ‘live in’? Can all first years/freshmen be accommodated?
  • How far away is the accommodation from the institution?
  • What is the typical cost of accommodation?
  • Does the university offer placements as part of their courses? Are there opportunities to gain valuable work experience through university-run schemes? Where are graduates from this course likely to find employment?
  • What exemptions does this course give with respect to professional qualifications?
  • How competitive is admission?
  • What is the reputation of the university?
  • What is the retention rate (i.e. what percentage of first year students continue at the university the next year)?
  • What student services are on offer (e.g. students’ union, clubs, societies and sports/recreation facilities)?
  • What support services are provided (e.g. careers service, counselling, finance and medical)?
  • What support facilities exist for students with additional needs?
  • Costs– financial support and expenses
  • What sponsorships and bursaries are on offer?
  • Is taking a GAP year (or year out) acceptable or encouraged? If so, is specific experience sought?
  • Should students apply during the last year of their current studies for deferred entry, or apply during their year out?
  • What are the financial implications of taking a year out?
  • Finding out more
  •  If students have any specific questions in the future, who should they contact?
  • What are the arrangements for attending an open day or making a personal visit?
  • Is there an alternative student prospectus? How do I get one?

Remember – there are no silly questions - The university representatives are there to answer your questions, no matter how big or small. Take a pad of paper and a pen to jot down notes.

More information, advice and guidance is available in the Higher Education section of the BISS Puxi Moodle site (click here to follow link)

Mark Weston, Head of HE Guidance


Pastoral News

As the number of days until the year 13 students embark on their IB Diploma exams, the students are now focusing on revising their subjects. This week the students started working in study groups based on a specific subject they have chosen.  The idea is that students get time during 6 registrations up until the end of the term to work in groups to revise the subject.  This is a great opportunity to use registration time to improve knowledge and understanding by working with their peers.  I have said this many times before, that the best resources for students are their peers.  I really hope that over the next few weeks the students take advantage of this time. 

Angela Sharrock, Key Stage 5 coordinator​​​​​​​