Article by Angelica Chang
Having finally completed the Extended Essay (EE), finished up with standardized testing, and sent off college apps, the month of March seems to be clearing up in terms of stress for the seniors… or so they wish. On the contrary, the impending IB mock exams taking place this week have erased the possibility of temporary relief in a senior’s busy life, as many of them have already plunged into non-stop revision mode and undergone countless sleepless nights in preparation for what may be their last attempt to boost up their grades.
Unlike the end-of-year exams of the previous grade levels, the IB mock exams are designed to prepare students for the real IB exams in May, as the content and structure of the mock test simulates the skillset and knowledge base required for the actual exams. Thus, mocks not only benefit students by allowing them to assess which areas of knowledge they need to revise before the actual exams, but provide valuable insight to the teachers as they can modify their teaching plan to address those gray areas of knowledge.
However, senior Hong Minh B. points out that the mocks may not be an accurate depiction of the real IB exams due to limiting factors.
“Due to time constraints, most subjects don’t tend to cover the whole two-year IB syllabus in the mocks. For example, in the Biology SL mock this year, they’ve only included Paper 1 and 2, but excluded Paper 3,” says Hong Minh.
The removal of specific concepts in the coursework may make the mocks seem less similar to the real exams, but the strict time limit of the mocks helps generate efficiency in the face of stressful conditions, equipping students with the versatility and flexibility needed to conquer the real exams.
Considering the high level of difficulty of the content for each subject’s mock exam, finishing in time has naturally become a shared struggle amongst the seniors.
Hong Minh says, “My biggest concern is not being able to finish in time.”
Senior Juliana A. shares the same pained sentiments, as she states, “My biggest concern would be time. I can be a little slow, especially if it covers content I haven’t seen [in] over a year.” The breadth of knowledge and skills packed into two years of IB, and to be tested in a span of eight days, certainly makes the effort of these seniors commendable.
With the culmination of their high school endeavor on the line, seniors have a list of preparation methods under their belt to gear up for the battle that is mocks. Both Hong Minh and Juliana cite past papers as their number one solution to assimilate them to the type of questions on the exam. Juliana emphasizes the usefulness of past papers with her chant to, “practice, practice, practice using past papers.”
When asked about study tips for incoming seniors, Hong Minh’s response was to always be super organized. “Keep your notes since Grade 11 and organize them accordingly so you can easily identify which notes you need for each unit when exams come around,” she says. She also adds, “For some subjects that you need to memorize vocab for, like econ or bio, keep flashcards in your car and practice on the way to school.”
With the amount of dedication the seniors have poured into studying, we all hope that their efforts will pay off.