After choosing your IB classes, that means you are all set to go, right? Sadly that is incorrect. After all your courses are selected, you may still run into issues with scheduling. This is what happened to me. Generally, it is a good idea to get one or two of your SL/HL tests done in your junior year. This relieves tensions off your senior year schedule and also familiarizes you with how the tests work. Though not common, some students may experience classes overlapping in their junior year, meaning you might have zero IB classes in your junior year and all your IB classes/tests senior year. If this doesn’t apply to you, you can skip this article, but if it does apply to you please continue reading as I’ll be sharing my opinions and how to stay on top of all the work coming your way.
Like you, I am one of those students with this special case. Because of the overlap between my selected MAI class, I was unable to take it, which meant I had 0 IB tests my junior year. This ultimately was a bad thing as I would go into senior year with 6 IB classes and tests. What makes this even worse is that your senior year is busier than you think. Most people believe that junior year is the most difficult, and while this may be true, the first semester of senior year carries a lot of stress as well. On top of writing and submitting college applications, we IB diploma students still need to write our EEs and finish our CAS activities.
So, the first step to not being overwhelmed by your senior year class load is staying on top of your EE and CAS. That means you should be taking advantage of having no IB classes junior year and getting ahead on both those activities. CAS is something you can do over time, but the EE is something one must start right away. These two will also carry over into the summer before senior year as well and since we usually take civics and econ over the summer while also participating in other extracurricular activities, it’s going to be jam-packed.
Another choice you can (or should) make is studying up on the classes you will have senior year. If you know any particular class that might give you trouble, you might as well take the extra time you have now to get ahead. For me, this class is IB Chinese. Coming out of AP Chinese, I knew IB Chinese was going to be even more difficult. So over the summer, I was sure to review many foundational vocabulary terms and build up from there. Additionally, I also spent some time reviewing biology because that was difficult for me as well, and I’m sure IB Bio will be much harder.
Just because you are missing an IB class junior year, does not necessarily mean you are falling behind. Instead, you should utilize this extra time to get ahead and stay on top of things. By getting a head start on your EE and CAS, as well as studying up for future classes, you can optimally use your time junior year and not get too overwhelmed senior year. One major downside is the lack of exposure to how the IB tests work. Having to take six IB exams without having taken one before may be daunting, but just know it's okay. Our amazing teachers prepare us well for the tests and other essays, projects, and assessments associated with the class. Your teachers will be your lifelines: they will help you get through this course and obtain your diploma, so no matter what the situation you are in, trust them and trust yourself.
By Alex Li
Alex Li is an IB Diploma Candidate and a Senior at Glen A. Wilson High School. He is highly interested in the field of politics and wishes to become a lawyer when he grows up. This passion for politics has led him down the road to be the captain of Wilson's Mock Trial team, along with other leadership roles such as Varsity Golf Captain and Vice President of Red Cross. In his free time he likes to write and publish articles to a variety of media, such as the LA Times High School Insider, and he also has entered contests as well, writing for the John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage yearly contest.