Saturday, March 3, 2012

Freaking Out - IB Diploma

My school is an IB Diploma Programme school. It's a 6-12 grade school and I've been there since I was in sixth grade (I'm in 10th grade now.) Next year I will embark on my IB Diploma journey. CAS, Extended Essay, TOK - sounds like fun! Not. Personally, I'm dreading IB and am starting to regret choosing all IB classes + physics and AP Government. I should've taken all AP classes, except my school is more renowned and stronger in IB than in AP, so I'd probably have to transfer schools if I want to take all AP. 

Now, for anybody who does know or take IB, you'll know that IB classes are categorized into Standard Level and Higher Level, and students must choose a specific # of HL classes (I'm not sure if it's 3 or 4 HL classes). Two of my HL classes will be IB European History and English, as SL in those classes are not offered at my school. The other one would probably be HL Biology, and if I HAVE to take 4 HL classes than I'll probably choose HL Spanish. No freaking way am I taking HL Math. I don't want to take HL Music either because you actually have to compose music in that class and I would probably fail at that. 

For those who don't know what CAS or TOK or the Extended Essay is, I'll explain. CAS stands for Creativity, Action and Service. Basically, you need to earn 150 hours during the time of junior and senior year (the years one typically takes IB), whether it be community service, sports, etc. TOK is Theory of Knowledge. It's sort of like a Humanities class, but it dives in deeper into the subject. In this class, an external assessment is a 1,200-1,600 word essay based on a topic you get to choose out of a choice of ten topics to choose from, as well as an internal assessment presentation on the student's chosen topic. The Extended Essay is a 4,000 word essay that can come from any of the six areas of study (English, Foreign Language, Math, Science, the Arts, or History) - I think there is a list of approved subjects for the EE, though. I'm not sure on this one. 

In IB, there are Internal Assessments and External Assessments. 

External Assessments - which typically count for much of one's grade in the class - include:
- Essays
- Structured Problems
- Short-Response Questions
- Data-Response Questions
- Text-Response Questions
- Case-Study Questions
- Multiple Choice Questions (limited use of these) 

Internal Assessments include:
- Oral work in languages
- Fieldwork in geography
- Laboratory work in the sciences
- Investigations in math
- Artistic performances

If you take IB, you must prioritize between three things, known as the three S's - social life, sleep, or study. For me, I think it'd be study first, then sleep, then social life. IB Diploma requires 24 minimum points on the exams, the EE and TOK in order to get the diploma. 45 is the maximum # of points one can earn. Also, at the end of 10th grade, if you plan on taking the IB Diploma journey, you must be willing to say goodbye to multiple choice, because IB work consists of short answers and in math, you have to show the work to get the answer, which you fill in a blank. 

Scary, much? If I take IB, I'll be taking risks. I've heard that for IB Certificates (which is when you take SOME IB classes but not all, and for the Certificates you don't take TOK, do CAS, or write the EE), you have to receive a 6 or a 7 (the highest scores) on an exam in order to get college credit. I've heard the standard is lower for the diploma candidates. I'm still very much freaking out about IB. 

And at the end, it's like "Congratulations! You killed yourself in high school!" 

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