Insights on the IB Diploma Programme from Oana I., high achieving ISB student, 40 points at IB.
One of the main benefits of the IB is that it is geared to prepare you for university. It also encourages more mature discussions with teachers, getting feedback and asking questions, allowing students to become more engaged and proactive about improving their work.
From early school years we are expected to finish high school, but how life unfolds beyond that is less certain. As high school has just come to an end for me, I look back on it and see how I’ve changed, both through and alongside my academic life. Through the past four years, I’ve been a student in two different schools with two different curricula. The first one followed the Romanian schooling system while the second one, International School of Bucharest, is part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) organisation. I took the (IB) Diploma Programme, in which six subjects are studied intensively, in English, over the course of the last two years of Secondary School.
The transition between the two educational systems caused a bit of a culture shock for me, as the way in which you are examined vastly differs between the two. While the Romanian one focuses more on memorisation, the International Baccalaureate is more focused on applying and discussing the information acquired. Of course, in subjects like Biology there is still a large focus on memorisation, but you are also taught research skills and more practical applications. For instance, the Internal Assessments, works appraised by the teachers in your school, count toward your final baccalaureate grade for each subject and play a large part in emphasising the application of knowledge. The task varies from subject to subject but in general it is an investigation on a topic of your choice. For English, we had to produce a piece of writing based on a fictitious work. It was extremely enjoyable to play around with the characters and think about what they would have said or what they were trying to achieve and describe situations not featured in the book. More good examples are the investigations we carried out in biology and psychology. As the career I wish to pursue is in experimental psychology, these skills, I have no doubt, will prove to be invaluable in the future.
These creative tasks were an interactive way of learning how to write essays and reports in a concise manner. Even if it might not work for every student, I found the practice to be extremely helpful in preparing me for the future. This type of teaching would be hard to implement in the Romanian system, as your attention is spread out between a lot more subjects which you may not necessarily like as much. The freedom resulting from this system also teaches you about accountability of your actions. This may not be as fun, but it I believe it’s an indispensable lesson to learn before joining the adult world.
The workload in general is heavy, there being weeks or days in which I had to work my fingers to the bone to reach deadlines. Though stressful, this taught me how to effectively manage my time and all that implies.
Outside of the schooling system, Secondary School has taught me that mind-set matters a lot and can dictate what you can and can’t do more than your innate talent or intelligence. Towards the end of middle school, I had convinced myself that I wasn’t good at biology. As a result, I felt as if no matter how much I learned, nothing would stick and my grades weren’t the best. Before starting IB, however, I realised that there was no evidence to support this. Consequently, I changed the way I regarded my abilities and my grades started getting better and I found myself with a growing love and appreciation for the subject that I would have been hard-pressed to find before. This lesson has not only helped me develop at school, but also in my day-to-day life, letting myself be challenged.
As of now, I’m looking forward to going to university. I’ve been lucky enough to have a family that has pushed me to find something I enjoy doing rather than towards a specific career path, and I am extremely grateful for that. As I’ve grown, I’ve realized in how many possible ways my life can go, especially after high school, and although this does seem daunting to me, I’ve found it also helps me strive to do something in my life I genuinely love and can feel proud of.
International School of Bucharest would like to congratulate the first International Baccalaureate (IB) cohort for their exam results. 38 ISB students got the IB Diploma with a Diploma average of 31 points (IB Diploma is awarded to candidates with 24 points or more), 40 points being the highest score obtained. Moreover, seven of our students were awarded the distinguished Bilingual Diploma. This year, our bright graduates have been accepted in prestigious universities in Europe and USA: New York University, University of Miami (USA), University of Manchester, Exeter (UK), Erasmus University, Delft University, University of Groningen, (Netherlands), etc.
Congratulations to all our students for their great achievement and of course, to their supporting families and teachers. We wish them all the best in their new adventure and future career endeavours.