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Success in the IB (for graduates or near-graduates)

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Hello everyone! I'm an IB coordinator and teacher, and I'd like to better understand the writing habits and techniques of students who are or have been successful in the IB DP. As an experienced professional in the IB DP, I do have my opinions on the matter, but I'd like to hear from students. If you'd like, please respond by answering honestly the following questions. Thanks! 

  1. What was your overall score in the IB?
  2. Please describe your workflow (research, writing, rewriting, etc.) for the many IB writing tasks.
  3. Please describe one or more successful writing techniques (paragraph structure, analytical structures, etc.) that you liked to use and produced good results.
  4. Please provide any other thoughts about producing successful writing in the IB DP.

 

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3 hours ago, LangLitProf said:

Hello everyone! I'm an IB coordinator and teacher, and I'd like to better understand the writing habits and techniques of students who are or have been successful in the IB DP. As an experienced professional in the IB DP, I do have my opinions on the matter, but I'd like to hear from students. If you'd like, please respond by answering honestly the following questions. Thanks! 

  1. What was your overall score in the IB?
  2. Please describe your workflow (research, writing, rewriting, etc.) for the many IB writing tasks.
  3. Please describe one or more successful writing techniques (paragraph structure, analytical structures, etc.) that you liked to use and produced good results.
  4. Please provide any other thoughts about producing successful writing in the IB DP.

 

I was a former IB student, graduating in May 2017 with an overall score of 41/45 -- I achieved a 40/42 in my six subjects, and received 1 diploma point from ToK/EE. Writing was an integral component to my experience in the diploma program and I recognized that there were different approaches to take in differing courses.

2) On workflow, the process of writing definitely took up the most time. Research is a continuous aspect of writing IAs - I incorporated more research when I feel is necessary. I usually aim for a balance between being concise and thoroughly explaining the background concepts and relevant ideas. Drafting, writing, and rewriting definitely took up most of my time with the IAs of most of my courses. Moreover, my school rarely had us write "trial" reports e.g. writing experimental lab reports in the style of IAs as practice in junior year before doing your real IA. Hence, our first IAs were our real IAs and though we didn't get to practice much in writing them, we had a lot more time to receive and incorporate feedback. 

3) I've honestly never tried to look at my writing in such a formalized manner, however after reading The Pyramid Principle by Barbaro Minto, it's definitely something I've become more conscious about now. In the past I just try to make sure my writing wasn't superficial and that every sentence contributed something.

4) Having a holistic understanding of the criteria through looking at sample IAs from the IB Subject Materials, constantly thinking about them when writing your IAs, and then objectively marking your own work against the criteria is in my opinion the most critical factor to my success. I scored significantly beyond the 7 boundary for IAs in all my HL subjects -- Biology, Chemistry, Economics -- as I had a confident understanding in the IB's expectations. That said, I had massive setbacks as well -- I only received Cs for both my English EE and ToK, despite being predicted a B and an A, respectively. We all know predictions are tumultuous, but having done the same process of objectively grading my work against the listed criteria and reading many samples, I was genuinely shocked that I was so off the mark. Given that ToK/EEs were frequently moderated in my school, meaning my predicted scores weren't just the prediction of an individual teacher, made the situation all the more surprising. The bottom line is that having a firm understanding of writing expectations can enable success, albeit to a lesser extent in subjects like epistemology and english where there is arguably a greater deal of subjectivity. 

I hope this helps -- it's always refreshing to see an educator valuing the importance of skillful writing! 

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13 hours ago, IB`NOT`ez said:

I was a former IB student, graduating in May 2017 with an overall score of 41/45 -- I achieved a 40/42 in my six subjects, and received 1 diploma point from ToK/EE. Writing was an integral component to my experience in the diploma program and I recognized that there were different approaches to take in differing courses.

2) On workflow, the process of writing definitely took up the most time. Research is a continuous aspect of writing IAs - I incorporated more research when I feel is necessary. I usually aim for a balance between being concise and thoroughly explaining the background concepts and relevant ideas. Drafting, writing, and rewriting definitely took up most of my time with the IAs of most of my courses. Moreover, my school rarely had us write "trial" reports e.g. writing experimental lab reports in the style of IAs as practice in junior year before doing your real IA. Hence, our first IAs were our real IAs and though we didn't get to practice much in writing them, we had a lot more time to receive and incorporate feedback. 

3) I've honestly never tried to look at my writing in such a formalized manner, however after reading The Pyramid Principle by Barbaro Minto, it's definitely something I've become more conscious about now. In the past I just try to make sure my writing wasn't superficial and that every sentence contributed something.

4) Having a holistic understanding of the criteria through looking at sample IAs from the IB Subject Materials, constantly thinking about them when writing your IAs, and then objectively marking your own work against the criteria is in my opinion the most critical factor to my success. I scored significantly beyond the 7 boundary for IAs in all my HL subjects -- Biology, Chemistry, Economics -- as I had a confident understanding in the IB's expectations. That said, I had massive setbacks as well -- I only received Cs for both my English EE and ToK, despite being predicted a B and an A, respectively. We all know predictions are tumultuous, but having done the same process of objectively grading my work against the listed criteria and reading many samples, I was genuinely shocked that I was so off the mark. Given that ToK/EEs were frequently moderated in my school, meaning my predicted scores weren't just the prediction of an individual teacher, made the situation all the more surprising. The bottom line is that having a firm understanding of writing expectations can enable success, albeit to a lesser extent in subjects like epistemology and english where there is arguably a greater deal of subjectivity. 

I hope this helps -- it's always refreshing to see an educator valuing the importance of skillful writing! 

Thanks for your reply! Indeed, to perform well students must thoroughly understand the criteria and respond to them. In my experience, students can easily sway from that, instead preferring to be a bit more "creative", and then they are disappointed in the feedback from teachers and/or examiners.

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