While the certainly the case that the IB opens many doors for students, and all your hard work will absolutely pay off, it can be difficult to see the wood for the trees when in the middle of revision stress. So, how can you look after yourself, and know which sacrifices to make, and when?
It can be easy to get caught up in the ever-popular IB exam stress cycle, where you have too much work to do, and tell all your friends, who have too much work, how much work you have, and you end up then spending all your time thinking about how much you have to do, without ever being able to sit down and tackle it, bit by bit. So, the first thing to do is…
Look at where you are in each subject, how long until each exam, and what you still need to cover in order to be where you want to be. Make lists of every topic or key areas in each subject, and rate your confidence in answering exam-style questions in each. Once you start moving through these, be sure to update them, to see how far you’ve come!
Spend time with your classmates, and help to teach one another. Not only might you understand something you had struggled with previously, but teaching others really helps to cement your knowledge in your stronger subjects and encourages you to explain in more detail than you may to yourself. For areas you all struggle with, break each topic into manageable chunks and allocate each part to a person– revising, teaching, and learning in groups will help you all work through your areas of difficulty.
Your parents, teachers, older siblings, and family friends may not have done the IB themselves, but they have almost certainly been through a stressful set of exams, whether while at school, for their university finals, or in their professional lives. Make sure you ask for help when you need it, not only in terms of the course material, but also if you feel like you are not coping with the pressures of the IB- it can be helpful to get some perspective from someone who remembers the stress but got through it, and who now remembers it fondly. And remember, it may not feel like it now, but even the IB shall pass!
Remember to set times where you are not revising– whether this a daily jog around the park or meeting friends for lunch and a natter once a week, it is so important to have some time away from your notes. Sleep well, eat well, exercise, and make some time for socialising, and you will find you have much more stamina for revision. It is always better to do three really positive, focused hours of revision than seven hours of half-Chemistry, half-Netflix, after all!
However, there is one thing which works better than anything for battling your nerves as you sit down for each exam…
The final few weeks of your IB revision before exams will be difficult– we remember it well, and know how hard it can be to stay motivated. However, think how much better you will feel walking into each exam if you are as well prepared and confident as you can be. Take the hit for this period, and remember, you’ve got a long long summer to recuperate!
And finally, be positive!