IB Tutor Interviews: Katherine

Timothy Hoffmann

Tutor: Katherine Ridley

IBDP score: 44

University: English Literature (2018), University of Cambridge

Subjects: English, TOK

In our Tutor Interview series we put the spotlight on members of our outstanding tutoring team. From IB graduates to teachers and Examiners, we share their stories and their advice about the International Baccalaureate to help you make your own IB a success.

EIB: Why did you choose to do the IB?

Katherine: I had the choice between staying at the school I was already at to do IB, or moving to a different school to do A Levels. At first as I was going to move to the other school to do A Levels as I already knew I wanted to go to university in the UK, but I just couldn’t narrow down my choices to only four subjects.

What did you enjoy about the IB?

I really enjoyed being able to study a range of subjects, as well as doing TOK, my EE, and CAS. I loved the fact that in one day I could go from practicing speaking French, to learning some calculus, to writing about a hike I planned for CAS.

What was the most challenging part of the IB?

Probably the variety, which also made it so rewarding. It’s difficult to have so many things on the go at once, especially when all the deadlines start piling up.

What did you do for your EE?

I did my EE in English Literature, taking a comparative approach to dystopian literature by looking at how Yevgeny Zamyatin, a Russian author, influenced George Orwell.

What tips do you have for current IB students?

If you need help, ask for it! Teachers (and tutors!) are experts on the IB and are there to help.

Make revision materials (flash cards, summaries, etc) as you go, rather than waiting to do them all before the final exams.

Get your Extended Essay done as early as possible so that you don’t have to worry about it when all the other deadlines pile up in second year.

Why do you enjoy tutoring?

I really loved studying English Literature and TOK as part of the IB Diploma, so I particularly enjoy talking about these subject areas with current students! I also like showing students that the IB doesn’t have to seem overwhelming and scary – if you break each subject down to manageable chunks and manage your time well there’s nothing to be afraid of.

What makes a successful tutor?

I tailor my tutoring sessions to each student by asking them for as much information as possible in advance. Particularly when helping with coursework, I ask to see any work they’ve done so far in advance so that our time together is spent as efficiently as possible.

What are your favourite aspects of the IB to teach, and why?

I enjoy helping students with coursework, such as the TOK essay. Working on one big piece of work is very rewarding as you can see how much it improves over a short period of time.