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Realistically, WHO CAN DO THE IB?

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I've been reading through some of the forum posts & am a bit worried that the program is really only for A students. Also, I've never seen so many complaints by students themselves about taking a school leaving course. Is it really that bad/difficult?

My son is an average student with the capability to improve but he's by no means a genius and will never be a straight A student.

He's interested in uni courses in economics & social sciences. He has good social skills and a strong sense of justice. He has many strengths outside the purely academic.

Although the IB program looks interesting, I'm concerned that they put too much pressure on students. Time to reflect freely and develop social skills is equally important as academic achievement at that age. If all this talk about "having no life" for the 2 years is true, it seems a huge sacrifice.

I'm not sure if this is just students complaining or if it's a real issue with the program.

Does anyone know of an average student, like my son, who enjoyed & benefited from the IB?

thanks.

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Answer to the last question: no

I hear so many complaints in my class at this stage (IB2) about regret for taking IB, and I sit there as one of the few who is satisfied. Don't let your son take IB if he is not truly committed himself.

I benefit from IB myself because it is such a highly regarded education and I want to get into a popular course for uni. I benefit because the alternative would have been boring... I am by no means an all A student, but I commit.

But hey if he decides to take IB in the end, make sure that he is taking at least one subject that he can relax in (Lang B that he knows fluently/Visual Arts if he enjoys it/Music if it's his hobby/Math Studies if he isn't gonna use standard anyway etc).

But since you're the one writing in here, his commitment can't be really that big?

Edited by Vahl

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Yes its true that IB will require a bit more time commitment and is obviously going to be more challenging than the regular curriculum. But by no means does it take up all of your time, but rather helps develop better time management while preparing you better academically. The extra effort the student puts in during high school through IB, makes 1st year in university a lot easier - so its essentially just shifting the weight more onto highschool. So if your son is willing to put in that extra effort now, he should definately do IB.

For the second point, IB is not only for A students - its for anyone willing to put in the effort. Success also has a lot to do with the school, because of IB's specific marking structure. In my classes there were quite a few students who were definately not A students - but because they put in some effort and my school was able to prepare them well, they greatly benefitted from the program by the end.

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I don't think an average student can ever do very well in the IB -- they can do averagely if they commit, but it requires a lot of effort and isn't really very enjoyable at all.

Unless the alternative is going to put your son at a disadvantage applying to University etc., I would probably encourage him not to do the IB. I personally don't see anybody "average" getting anything much positive out of it. I mean, even my above-average friends got very little useful out of the IB! Although it's academically rigorous and has some good aspects to it as regards preparing you academically, I do feel myself like I missed out on a lot of things I would've done if I'd been doing normal qualifications -- in my opinion, unless there's no good alternative, it's not a course to pick, and particularly not to pick if you're not a straight-A student. It's true you don't need to be a straight-A student to pass the IB, but it's such a nightmare to do well and so unrewarding to put yourself through it if you're not going to come out with something to show for your effort that I personally think I (and probably most people) would have a much higher quality of life taking a different course. The only exception would be if the school he goes to has had very good results in the past, because a high standard of teaching in the IB really, really makes a massive difference to how easy it is to cope (indeed if the word "cope" is even necessary if you go to a good school!) -- and so does the subject combination you pick. Some people will have to work twice as hard for their diplomas relative to people taking easier combinations.

As I said the IB does have positives, but it really depends on what you value. Retrospectively, I don't value academic craziness more than.. well, my social life, for instance... enough to consider doing it again! So I would advise my past self not to take the IB, if that helps :D It's not that it's not possible, it's just there's no point in being stressed and unhappy whilst you're still at school, no matter how many academic pluses you can get out of it.

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...

Dear Greenglass,

I think you're right identifying the IB as hard and as putting students under pressure. I can tell coz I'm doing it. We've got loads to do and, really, to some extent "you just live for the IB" which is quite sad actually... Although the IB says they put much importance on other skills - e.g. by making their students do 150 CAS our - it's not really what it sounds to be like... so if you see your son as someone who doesn't like studying all the time and/or really hard, he'd probably be better off doing some other course. And if his strenghts lie outside the academic the IB won't help him much in his future, since, foe example, if he wanted to be a musical star, which director would care what grate he got in maths and biology? They'd rather want someone with experiences (e.g. A-levels in drama, music etc)...

But at any rate, you as his mother should NOT make this decision! It should be HIS decision, because he'll be the one spending two years of his life on this or another course! So please, don't stress him. He should really do whatever he WANTS to do!! =)

Hope that helps :D

Edited by bLub

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IB's what you make of it. If he's dedicated and puts in the effort and picks classes he enjoys, it isn't that bad. I was never a straight A student until IB, and I find myself happier because I love (most of) my classes and while there are moments of "suffering" when you've got 2 tests and an internal assessment due in one day, but complaining about it always brings people closer =) It definitely teaches you to manage your time very well, and (at least in the first year, I hear the second is akin to hell) I have a decent social life =)

I would say that unless your son needs the diploma for better university prospects, perhaps certificate courses would be a good compromise. Ultimately though it is his decision and depends on how much effort he's willing to put in.

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Dear Greenglass,

I think you're right identifying the IB as hard and as putting students under pressure. I can tell coz I'm doing it. We've got loads to do and, really, to some extent "you just live for the IB" which is quite sad actually... Although the IB says they put much importance on other skills - e.g. by making their students do 150 CAS our - it's not really what it sounds to be like... so if you see your son as someone who doesn't like studying all the time and/or really hard, he'd probably be better off doing some other course. And if his strenghts lie outside the academic the IB won't help him much in his future, since, foe example, if he wanted to be a musical star, which director would care what grate he got in maths and biology? They'd rather want someone with experiences (e.g. A-levels in drama, music etc)...

But at any rate, you as his mother should NOT make this decision! It should be HIS decision, because he'll be the one spending two years of his life on this or another course! So please, don't stress him. He should really do whatever he WANTS to do!! =)

Hope that helps smile.gif

Just a little clarification here - the IB offers a WIDE variety of courses (but each school only offers some of them - not all) and this ranges from the usual Sciences to Music, Art etc. But seeing as your son is interested in taking Economics in university, I STRONGLY recommend taking the IB economics course. Even if he does not want to do the full IB diploma - he should take IB economics (either SL or HL) as a certificate course. What "certificate" means is that a student is only taking individual IB courses (ie. 1 2 or 3) and thus is not enrolled for the full IB Diploma (exempting him from the additional things like the extended essay etc). Although, an IB Diploma is regarded better to universities than single IB certificates - taking some courses in IB will be beneficial.

From personal experience, the IB economics course is one of the best and fairest courses offered by IB (possibly one of the more easier courses too). Taking it would put your son at a great advantage for first year economics in university because IB economics Higher Level essentially teaches you everything that you may face in a first year economics course in university.

So if not the full IB Diploma, consider the IB Certificate in some courses.

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I've been reading through some of the forum posts & am a bit worried that the program is really only for A students. Also, I've never seen so many complaints by students themselves about taking a school leaving course. Is it really that bad/difficult?

My son is an average student with the capability to improve but he's by no means a genius and will never be a straight A student.

He's interested in uni courses in economics & social sciences. He has good social skills and a strong sense of justice. He has many strengths outside the purely academic.

Although the IB program looks interesting, I'm concerned that they put too much pressure on students. Time to reflect freely and develop social skills is equally important as academic achievement at that age. If all this talk about "having no life" for the 2 years is true, it seems a huge sacrifice.

I'm not sure if this is just students complaining or if it's a real issue with the program.

Does anyone know of an average student, like my son, who enjoyed & benefited from the IB?

thanks.

I think I'd be considered an A student, so take my words with due skepticism, but please don't disregard them.

I go to a school with more than 2000 kids, and there are about 45 students altogether in IB. The goal of the teachers and coordinator is to get everyone to pass. We're taught that it doesn't matter what you get as long as you pass, basically, so doing well in IB means passing because IB isn't the center of our lives. My coordinator recently said that to us that if we, who have completed about 80% of the IB program, hate it, then we're idiots for staying in so long. We're in IB by choice. It doesn't matter why we joined it originally. The fact that we're still here means more.

First thing. The IB is not only for A students. Earlier Sandwich said that there's no point to doing IB if you're just going to do 'average.' There's a lot of merit in what she said. For my class, however, even if we don't do well in the IB, we still have other ways to get into college because IB isn't that big around here and we have back-ups. So that takes pressure off. Maybe you're wondering why we even do IB if it doesn't really matter what we get. It's not easier just because we're not aiming for high scores. I did it because I wanted to take the most challenging courses I could. I stayed because of the people I met. There are 19 other students in my IB class. IB forced me to spend 4-7 hours with most of them every school day. And I grew. There are a couple of classmates I don't agree with. There are a couple who purposely antagonize me. And on the bad days, it's frustrating. On every other day, I enjoy it. I'm forced to consider things I might never have before. Not because of the curriculum but because of the people. I'm finding things about myself I didn't know, and I'm growing along with 19 other individuals. That's the merit of a small group of people who are willing to think, to listen, and to learn. It seems that students attracted to IB tend to be open-minded and receptive to shaking the cornerstone of everything they've taken for granted. I love that I can have a serious conversation with any peer one class and still have a goofy relationship. We find out how everyone's multifaceted, and how that's not a bad thing. It's a human thing. I also love the teachers, but your probably don't want to hear about it. I definitely agree with above that good teachers make life so much easier. To me a good teacher is someone who can teach and someone who's willing to learn. I learn best from people I respect. They keep my respect, and I'm more receptive to them. Humor [from corny to dry wit] is an amazing perk in a teacher. :D

Second thing. Yeah, we complain a lot. We also procrastinate a lot. There's one girl in my class who really doesn't procrastinate [much]. She gets plenty of sleep. =) Sometimes things get really busy, but more often than not, it's our fault and not the teacher's or IB's. Sometimes the teacher really does pile things up, but it probably wouldn't be as bad if we hadn't procrastinated. Like master135 said above, time management is something each student should try to get straight. I have a feeling that many of us go through IB not learning from mistakes and still procrastinating. Oh well?

Third thing. The IB program is not purely academic to me. It's just as social as it is academic. It really does integrate team work in assessments, but more than that, I've found that I can't be purely independent. I don't do study groups. I've never found them useful. But with IB, communication with other students is key. We really, really help each other survive. And not just with academic stuff. We vent our frustrations. We show each other how to catch dreams and recover from losing them. And I love TOK. It really depends on the teacher, once again, but it's thought provoking, and I love the fact that our teacher doesn't care what we think but rather why.

Last thing, maybe. One of my most favorite people in IB works really, really hard. She's a motivated, caring individual who is like your son, with the grades. She inspires me to work hard. IB isn't about showing off how smart you are. I think it's about growing up to be a person who makes the world a better place.

Okay this is the last thing. All of us in my class are really involved in very different things. I get an unsettling feeling when people at my school or even on this site seriously say that we have no lives. I've founded two clubs at my school & am really involved in math, science, and academic competitions, religious organizations, and a mental health organization. My thing is community service, I guess. That's what I love doing. I'm not much of an athlete or actress or singer or artist or dancer like different classmates of mine are. But we all found something we love. I think IB helped us with that. When we spent so much time in the same classes with the same people, we looked around our school and community to devote our attention to. I'm surprised by how much I do because I tend to think there aren't enough hours in the day. It just turns out that I can be using them more efficiently and gaining more pleasure from them.

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Don't underestimate your son, but ask him, if he is willing to spend hours everyday committed to IB. It is not for everyone, not neccesairly for geniuses but kids who are really into it, and willing to out 110%! It is only worth it if he wants to. You could always take a few AP courses... but talk to him, at the end it is only him that benefits from the decision, and will be affected by it!

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Thanks for the great feedback. I'll print this out & he can take it from there - in the end it's his choice & any further investigation/research on the IB should be his. Thanks again, and good to luck all of you. If your posts are anything to go by, you're an articulate, very helpful bunch of people!!

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