IB Tutor Interviews: Zhui Ning

Timothy Hoffmann

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.

Tutor: Zhui Ning
IBDP score: 43
University: Liberal Arts (2019), King’s College London
Subjects: Chinese, English, History

EIB: Why did you choose to do the IB?

Zhui Ning: In Singapore, where I pursued my secondary education, the two options available were GCE A Levels and IB. I knew that the inflexibility and ‘drilling’ methods of A Levels were unsuited to me, and I liked the IB’s emphasis on the humanities and coursework, so I chose to do that.

What did you enjoy about the IB?

I loved the high standard of humanities study, as well as the generally high academic standard that the IB demands of its students – things like the Extended Essay prepared me very well for the challenges of university. The balance of assessment, between coursework and exams, was also a huge load off my shoulders and I liked the variation and emphasis on practicality (such as science experiments and presentations for language subjects) rather than just answering questions on an exam paper. The active integration of holistic education, with CAS activities and group project demands, was also something that challenged me to step out of my comfort zone and helped me grow as a student and person.

What was the most challenging part of the IB?

Coping with all the deadlines, especially in the second year and with the subjects that I’m weaker in. There was a point where I had to submit my Math IA draft but I was attending the Yale MUN in the USA, and we were all going mad trying to finish the draft and still prepare for our debates. I remember writing about cryptography past midnight in a room with friends, listening to rock music to stay awake. It was exhausting, but ultimately so rewarding and I wouldn’t have traded it for the world.

What did you do for your CAS/EE?

For my CAS, I did a variety of activities. I volunteered with a local animal shelter and carried out some recycling activities with a local urban development company. I also carried on with activities I had before the IB, such as playing the organ and archery. We also set up a netball club in school. My school organised an overseas trip for the cohort, taking us to different countries for service activities. I went to a rural village in Malaysia, where we climbed mountains and helped the villagers paint kindergarten walls, and carried out cultural exchange activities by teaching them English while they shared with us some traditional dances and phrases.

For the EE, I wrote a comparative essay in English A, analysing gender dynamics in Arthur Miller’s, The Crucible and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s, The Scarlet Letter. I enjoyed the process and it taught me a lot about literary theories and critical literature. However, in hindsight, I feel like I could have chosen more exciting texts, but I’m still proud of the work I did, and it helped prepare me for the standards to which I am now held in university.

What are you currently studying?

BA (Hons) Liberal Arts at King’s College London, with a major in Comparative Literature.