Stress, an existential crisis and everything else you would have experienced doing the IB


But it made you the person you are today

Those two dreadful years of doing the International Baccalaureate can be difficult to talk about sometimes, but they made you the person that you are now.

It wasn’t an easy journey and there were a lot of obstacles in the way, you didn’t think the nightmare was ever going to be over, but somehow you’ve managed to bullshit your way out with a diploma.

Here is everything that would have happened to you during your IB years:

You hated anyone who tried comparing the IB to A-levels or any other qualification

Why would anyone even bother trying to compare two things that aren’t on the same level? The A-Level and its three measly subjects had nothing on the six impossible IB subjects, Theory of Knowledge, the Extended Essay and CAS. They don’t say 45 points in the IB is equivalent to five A* at A-Level for nothing.

You didn’t realise you signed up for two years of stress

The only reason you did the IB was either because you were at an international school or you were really indecisive. Picking your subjects was fun, you were told you were going to be “well rounded.” When it actually came to it, you realised every subject was difficult in its own way and there was no way in hell you were going to pass the mock exams.

Explaining the points system was another thing you didn’t have time for

You kept banging on about your 40 points, but you parents didn’t even understand what they meant. Six subjects, worth seven points each, plus three extra for Theory of Knowledge and the Extended Essay. Seven points were equivalent to an A*/A**, while the six was an A/A* and so on. You were so tired of explaining this, that you gave in to talking in terms of A-Level grades anyway.

You had an existential crisis during TOK

“When the only tool you have is a hammer, all problems begin to resemble nails”. How might this apply to ways of knowing, as tools, in the pursuit of knowledge?

What? You had to rub your eyes to read the question again. Reading this essay question either made you feel either like a genius or completely stupid, but there was no in between.

All the deadlines were at the same time, so you couldn’t balance anything

Who even thought this would be a good idea? Firstly, let’s not even talk about the fact we had to write a 2,000 word essay for Maths. Secondly, why were all essays for six subjects due in on the same day? Who in the IB world thought this would be a logical step? You had six teachers simultaneously asking you for your essay, when you hadn’t even picked a question yet.

You became a master bullshitter

You didn’t know whether it was because you were so stressed you became delusional, or whether the IB actually started making sense, but somehow you became really good at making stuff up. The more abstract your points were in your essays, the better you seemed to do.

The Extended Essay was a guessing game 

They told you it was going to prepare you for uni, but you probably picked your Extended Essay subject based on your favourite teacher and the rest was a blur. Let’s be honest, you hoped they were going to write the whole thing for you.

You spent your life’s worth of pocket money on the GDC

What was the point of doing maths when you had a calculator that did it all for you? Why was the GDC so expensive? Why was Maths Studies so easy?

You probably lied for your CAS hours

Creative, Action and Service. Three words that you never want to see in the same sentence again. Who actually completed the whole 150 hours combined? Somehow those five hours volunteered at a school play turned into 50 and you were praying that no one was going to check your CAS log. You knew you were screwed when you tried making simple activities such as walking to school and thinking at the same time pass off as both Creative and Action.

What social life?

The notes

None of your folders fit in your lockers anymore because you had nine massive lever arch files, one for each standard subject and two for highers. When it came to revision, you couldn’t even get through all your notes without condensing them into smaller notes, but then you ended up with more.

You didn’t know what to do with yourself after finishing the IB

When you finished your diploma, you couldn’t believe that you were able to produce so much work and fit all of the information in your head. You grew so attached to your notes, you couldn’t imagine parting with it when leaving for uni.

First year of uni was an absolute breeze

When you saw all those that didn’t do the IB, struggling with essays and not being able to juggle loads of work at the same time, you knew that the IB prepared you for life, even if it aged you by 10 years when you were actually doing it.

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