Senior Cram Time

Written by: Clara

Edited by: Keitaro

Visual by: Sarah

The first semester of senior year is undoubtedly the busiest time for any high school student. As IB students, ISM seniors are currently overwhelmed with tests and assignments, Internal Assessments (IA), Extended Essays (EE), Theory of Knowledge (TOK) essays, on top of college applications, and extracurriculars. 

It’s only been a month since the school year began, but by looking at the assessment calendar, one can already see how busy the Seniors are. These are a few of the assessments that most Seniors are facing this month: the EE draft was due September 10th, the Biology IA draft on September 14th, the History IA and Physics IA drafts due this week, and the Math IA draft due and English Literature Orals taking place the following week. In response to the senior workload, Anagha, a 12th grader, said, “the first few weeks of senior year have been very hectic with many upcoming deadlines in the following months. I am more used to online school now but IA deadlines, assignment due dates, and college apps together are quite a lot to juggle.”

Due to COVID-19 and most schools going online, in order to reduce the burden on students, the IBO has decided to cancel some components of the final IB exam. For example, the Group 1 Language A’s paper two and the Group 4 Sciences’ paper three were both removed. Following these modifications, IAs became more important for the final IB grade. Michael commented, “I understand why IB had to make those changes, especially since IAs are one of the only assessments that teachers can be sure the students aren’t cheating on. However, as a person who takes double sciences it’s really annoying to have to put extra effort into these database IAs.”

Regarding college applications, Early Application deadlines are fast approaching as most are due early November. Students applying to the US need to write their Common Application personal essay and college-specific supplemental essays for each school they are applying to. However, essays aren’t the only concern. Although most schools have gone test-optional, Seniors still seem to be pressured to submit a standardized test score. 

Besides fulfilling academic requirements and college applications, extracurriculars are an added burden to a graduating student’s workload. As many Seniors have leadership positions in clubs, time also has to be set aside to organize and plan activities. When asked how he balances his academics and extracurricular commitments, Zeki, the head of Model United Nations (MUN Council), Liham, and Academic Bowl, said “I plan ahead and try to schedule my activities as far out as I can. That way, I can plan ahead and figure out how much time I need to spend on them.”

Seniors are currently in perhaps the most demanding stretch of time in their high school lives. It is vital for students to stay healthy by exercising, getting enough sleep, and reaching out for help when needed. Best of luck to all the Seniors!