IB Exams: Advice from the Other Side

Wise words from Moyca Disini, Riana Lago, Audrey Buhain and Mica Tan

Interviews by Gabby Uy and Chloe Siy-Yap


It’s that time of the year again: the coffee brews stronger and the eyebags sink deeper. Desks lie bedazzled with fluorescent highlighters and packets of Kleenex. IB Exam season is upon us once more! To help our seniors get through their last few weeks of torture broad and balanced education, we’ve pulled together some highly requested insider tips from BSM’s very own IB veterans. Happy studying!


How should I organize my time?

MOYCA: Create a study schedule. This really helps you get organised with all your subjects and the topics you learn for each subject. It will also help you not feel overwhelmed and not get bored instead of studying the same thing the whole time!


RIANA: Limit yourself to studying MAXIMUM two subjects on weekdays and three on weekends, or else you’ll experience burnout. IB is like a long-distance marathon man: you have to pace yourself!  


What’s the best place to study?

RIANA: Switch up your study spots. If you feel yourself getting unproductive, the best way to cure that is to move! My favourite places to study are in my room (FACING AWAY FROM THE BED), living room and cafes. And it’s nice to study with people but if you know you’re just gonna kwento with your friends, just don’t.


What’s the best way to revise?

MICA: Don’t do unnecessary worksheets and just work on past papers.


AUDREY: But don’t just do full tests as practice for the real thing, also use them to identify your weak spots in the subject — for example, do a maths practice test and take note of what chapter/type of problem you get stuck on. There’s one website that generates quizzes for you based on past IB questions and what topics you want to focus on – that was really helpful! Rather than doing a full practice test, it gives you specific types of problems you want to focus on.


What else should I be doing?

MICA: Study from the syllabus and make sure you are able to tick off all the learning objectives. And make sure you go through everything, even the things you think you already know!


AUDREY: And pester your teachers for revision sessions! It can turn into a cute thing if you have someone like Mr. Cliff and everyone brings snacks and goes to Uptown to destress after the session. For history/humanities classes, focus on making paper outlines.


MOYCA: Try and explain what you are studying to another person – like a family member – to show that you really understand what you are learning. Allow them to ask you questions. If you can answer them, it’ll show that you understand – but if you can’t, make sure to revisit that specific topic. Also, rewrite notes in your own words rather than just read them. During the exam, this will help you remember what you studied.


How important are study breaks?

RIANA: Pace yourself. I don’t know why, but people refuse to take breaks when they study and we actually need them. And by “break” I don’t mean look at your phone. After studying a chunk of work, exercise or cook or talk to someone.


MOYCA: Drink water, eat healthy food, read a book, go for a walk/run or exercise. Don’t forget to have fun as well! Don’t spend all your time studying as this could really affect your mental health during exam season. Don’t forget to hang out with your family and friends and have fun with them – but not too much of it 😉


Any special tips for exam day itself?

RIANA: POWER DRESSING. People made fun of me but IT WORKS, I PROMISE. I put on foundation, mascara, blush, lip tint and I had a tight ponytail with gel and hairspray – I’m not even kidding. And twenty minutes before the exam, stop studying and just chill or else you’re just gonna stress out. Listen to music or talk to people and just do nothing!

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