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IB Diploma News

19 april 2017

Year 13 students now have less than one week of normal lessons before their examinations begin with the last day of teaching being Wednesday April 26. On the 25 and 26, students will be able to choose whether to attend these final lessons or to do independent study, either in school or at home.

  • IB

From the 27 onwards, they are on study leave and are only required to come in for examinations, though of course teachers will continue to be available to support students and they are more than welcome to work in school

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.

This week we also enjoyed some of the work from our Year 13 Film students at the ‘BFA Awards’ on Tuesday. This was a hugely enjoyable occasion featuring some really high quality films.

We also had a Higher Education Information evening on Wednesday – a great opportunity for Year 12 students and their parents to find out about processes for applying to university and how the school can support them.

Year 12 are gearing up for a busy term. End of year tests take place from 31st  May to 5th  June and these will be followed by days dedicated to Group 4 projects and TOK presentations.

Andrew Joy, Head of IB Academy


Creativity, Activity, Service

Leo Michel-Grosjean from 12S shares his view on the importance of being eco-friendly and presents us all with a challenge – simple actions to make a difference. 

‘I am strongly devoted to protecting the environment and I hope to grow up to help industries transition to a more sustainable future.  Regarding climate change, I believe every action taken makes a difference. Here at BISS, climate change and eco -friendliness is greatly supported giving me the great opportunity to launch my challenge.

We are currently living in a global climate crisis, as the Earth’s temperature has increased by 0.85°C since the 1880s.  This seems like nothing, but it is increasing at such an exponential rate the nature cannot even keep up with the impact of humans.  We are depleting vital resources, experiencing tougher storms, buying air purifiers, BISS’s football team cannot train occasionally because of the air pollution. This is enough for me to be frightened and I invite everyone I possibly can to take action with me, as everyone on this planet will be impacted by climate change.  We need to respect the Earth, which has been existence for billions of years, we humans, only a second in comparison, yet we are acting like a virus destroying the place that has fostered us.

There is clear evidence, yet not enough is being done about it, as the economy and the short term benefits of humanity are preventing the actions to really tackle this. Students of BISS can be an example and lead the way as we do not yet worry about the economy or have political constraints. However soon we will, so it is important to be the new generation of conscientious, informed and engaged Global citizens.

The key is to start taking simple habits now, which hopefully will start coming naturally. In all problems lies a solution and in this case the solution is so simple: don’t waste. Do not use a paper cup if you have a reusable water bottle; switch off the lights during the day and open your curtains; switch off the lights when you walk out your room, your office; conserve our trees and stop deforestation, do not waste paper; and lastly, be more conscientious about what you buy and where it comes from. 

I am naming this the global challenge here at BISS, where you can post at #globalchallenge at #simpleactions and contribute to help our environment. If everyone reading this today adopts these simple actions, we will save the world.  ‘

Ling Coong, CAS Coordinator


Pastoral News

At end of next week the year 13 students embark on their all-important final IBDP exams.  Over the last few weeks students have been preparing themselves the best they can for this final moment and of course will continue to work hard up until the final last exam.  One point I would like to emphasise with the students is the importance of ‘brain breaks’.  The term 'brain break' refers to any short activity that is designed to re-energise a person during a period of continued mental concentration.  One of the great ways to have a brain break is to do some form of physical activity.  This doesn't mean you have to become involved in highly strenuous activities it simply means doing something to move your body and relieve your brain of the mental stress.  Going out for a 15 minute walk between study sessions is highly likely to help you be more efficient with your time, rather than find yourself wasting time because you can't concentrate.  Physical activity is a much better option for an activity during a ‘brain break’ compared to playing games or sleeping.  It is well known that exercise helps to reduce stress levels and anxiety as well as helps us sleep at night.  I would hope students schedule some ‘brain break’ time over their exam period.

Angela Sharrock, Head of Year 12 / KS 5 Coordinator


Higher Education

University Offers from Around the World  

Our current Year 13 students have received offers from over 100 universities around the world, with more offers on the way! A few students are waiting to hear back from some of the universities to which they have applied, and others have yet to make applications to universities in countries with later application cycles (such as South Korea, Germany, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand). We will keep you updated on any new offers, but below is the list of offers for our current Year 13 students so far.


University of Cambridge

University College London (UCL)

Imperial College London

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

University of Edinburgh

King's College London

University of Manchester

St. George's, University of London Medical School

Queen Mary, University of London, Medical School

University of Bristol

University of Warwick

University of Glasgow

Durham University

University of Nottingham

University of Birmingham

University of Sheffield

University of Southampton

University of Leeds

University of York

University of Cardiff

University of the Arts, London

University of Aberdeen

University of Liverpool

University of Bath

University of Exeter

Newcastle University

University of Reading

University of Sussex

Loughborough University

University of Leicester

University of East Anglia

University of Surrey

City University, London

Oxford Brookes University

University of Kent

Glasgow School of Art

Goldsmiths University of London

Keele University

University of Portsmouth

University of Hertfordshire

University of Ulster

Birmingham City University

Bristol University

Coventry University

De Montfort University, Leicester

Northumbria University

University of Brighton

University of Chester

University of The West of England, Bristol

University of Westminster


University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Middlebury College

Vassar College

New York University (NYU)

Pitzer College

Occidental College

Boston University

Boston College

George Washington University

Occidental College

Whitman College

University of California, Davis

University of California, Irvine

University of California, San Diego

University of Texas, Austin

Roanoke College

Savannah College of Art and Design

The New School, Parsons School of Design

Carleton College

Connecticut College

DePauw University

Grinnell College

Hampshire College

Miami University

New York Film Academy

Reed College

Temple University

University of Puget Sound

Willamette University


University of Toronto

University of British Columbia

McGill University

China/Hong Kong

Hong Kong University (HKU)

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST)

Chinese University of Hong Kong

City University of Hong Kong

Hong Kong Polytechnic University

JiaoTong University Shanghai

The Netherlands

University of Amsterdam

Erasmus University Rotterdam

University of Twente

Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences


European Institute of Design

Polytechnic University of Milan

Mark Weston, Head of HE Guidance


Coursework and examinations

IB Diploma Programme Exams

With one week until the final Diploma Programme exams for Year 13, students need to make sure they know the timings of their exams and all the equipment needed. The BISS IB team will do all we can on each day of exams to make it as stress free as possible. Students also need to put some effort into this too so they are completely relaxed when each exam begins and focus fully on the questions in front of them. Year 12 will also receive their end of year exam schedule soon and should start to make a plan of revision for these exams. They should be assessing their weaknesses in each topic of each subject and focussing their revision on these areas.

I want to also reiterate my advice about the 5 minutes reading time as it will help students to plan their ‘attack’ on the paper. Taking exams has certain tactical elements involved in order to score as highly as possible. This 5 minutes reading time can be used to plan essays or think about step by step methods for questions.

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 the holiday are below

Date Due


Work Due         



Task 3 – Research Presentation


Chinese A

IA feedback

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 Programme 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.

This year, a new set of assessment criteria apply which indicate that an ‘appropriate range of relevant 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