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23.6.13

DL: An IB Victim

Dirty Laundry: An IB Victim | Ses Rêveries

Hey, guys! So after two long years of my incarceration in the IB Diploma programme (IB /ai-bi:/ - hell... or the International Baccalaureate depending on your mood du jour), the penal labour came to an end last month. And I am proud to say that I have been pretty "productive" this past month, catching up on more important matters, like Scandal.

For those of you who do not know what the IB is (like I didn't up until 3 weeks into the programme), count yourselves lucky. The International Baccalaureate diploma programme is a Sixth Form course similar to the A-levels that most ixteen- to nineteen-year-olds do around the world, but with a deadly twist. For the A-levels, one must take a minimum of three subjects of their choosing, whereas for the IB, one must take six subjects, one from each of the following groups, with at least three of them being studied at a Higher Level:

                                                    Group 1: Language and Literature

                                                    Group 2: Language Acquisition

                                                    Group 3: Humanities

                                                    Group 4: Experimental Sciences

                                                    Group 5: Mathematics and Computer Science

                                                    Group 6: The Arts

The highest grade achievable for each subject is a Level 7 which adds to up 42 points. The highest score you can get on your diploma is 45; the other 3 core points are based on your CAS, TOK and Extended Essay which I will briefly explain somewhere below.

Now, there are ways to beat the system: pick a few easy-A classes to take at Higher level like Art (if you're good at it), or a Group 2 language you're familiar with. I however, did not do that. Two words: Maths Higher...


So glad I didn't do English Higher. See, I love my literature but (a) I'm a professional procrastinator so essay deadlines do not appeal to me, and (b) ain't nobody got time for that extra reading with the rest of my course load.

Dirty Laundry: An IB Victim | Ses Rêveries

Speaking of course load, along with attending lessons and writing the final exams, each IB student is required to take Theory of Knowledge classes (shortened to TOK; more colloquially known as the Art of Bullsh*tting), write a 1500-word TOK essay, make a TOK presentation about a relevant contemporary social issue, do 150 hours of CAS (Creativity, Action and Service) and write a post-CAS reflective essay, and THEN write a 4000-word Extended Essay on a topic of your choice in a subject of your choice (as long as it fits in with the uber-strict criteria). Then there's the internal assessments (IA), the Group 4 project and of course, the regular homework...

Like I said, penal labour.

Looking at the IB learner profile, it should (apparently) become clear what the benefits are. However, I am still pretty unfamiliar with the learner profile - I think I've only seen it, like, once? I know there was something about being "balanced" on there because that really made me laugh. What exactly were we supposed to be "balancing"? Being in the IB automatically means you have refuted your right to a social life.

I went to a boarding school so I was surrounded by over a 100 people (and that's not including the day students) everyday for two years up until last month. But I only knew about 20% of the entire student body by name and only spoke to a few of those few anyway. Cue the awkward moment at Prom where a few of my friends and I were sat at a table with a group of other students and staff members I'd never even seen before [sigh]. Shout-out to the guy in the electric blue suit who came over to hug my friend and I as well; still don't know who you are but the suit was kitsch!

But seriously, now that I'm done with the IB I do sort of get how amazing it is. I feel the IB stimulates you more on an intellectual level - and you get to finish exams before the A-levelers! I advise you to at least consider it if you're going into Sixth Form. You can always go back to A-levels of you don't like it in the first few weeks (we had a lot of those, if I'm honest), or just do the Certificate programme instead (lots of those too).

But at least give the IB a chance. You get to join a totally awesome community of intelligent, determined procrastinators on Facebook and laugh at memes together, instead of actually doing your work. It's great!



Photo source: IBO.org, IBmemes.com
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