Guide to ACSi IBDP

October 8, 2017 | Author: iphoting | Category: Microsoft Word, Test (Assessment), Internet, Economics, Teachers
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T H E UNOFFICIAL, UNSANCTIONED, I L LEGAL GUIDE TO ACSI IBDP To Make the Best of Your Money and Time Ronald Ip 2007

Permanent ID of this document: f5319c4e303ed9dff6467366eeb8537a

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Preface “Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.” (Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, “Notice”, pp. 1) The purpose of this document is two-fold. First, as a contribution to the body of knowledge regarding IBDP in ACSi as there is a lack of such history; and secondly, as a snapshot (read: time capsule) of ACSi in 2007. Also, the size of this document has exceeded a suitable Extended Essay length.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction

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The School

5

Teachers

5

Facilities

6

The IBDP

9

Subject Combinations

9

Internal Assessments

9

External Assessments

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Equipment

13

Hardware

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So$ware

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Documents

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Conclusion

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Acknowledgements

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Appendix 1 – The Unofficial IB Survival Guide

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Appendix 2 – Easiest Subject Combination in ACSi

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Post Comments

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Introduction Let’s face it, you’ve been inducted into this International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) thanks to the flashy advertising and cheap potshots put up by the school. Even if you’re personally inclined to believe that the IBDP is a more elite and superior programme compared to the Cambridge GCE A-Levels, you aren’t exactly wrong. Although there hasn’t yet to be a proven track record of better university placement, be assured, the IBDP curriculum is much academically simpler compared to the A-Levels and you should have little excuse to do less well that your A-Level peers. That aside, if you slack off all the way, you won’t make it either in either programme. Cutting the chase, reading this, you should have indicated interest in either, 1. doing well, 2. getting the best out of ‘budget IBDP’, or 3. general reading. If your motives are anything else such as looking for ways to craft a defamation suit against the author, you are sadly misdirected and are encouraged to direct your attention elsewhere, such as Facebook. If you’re on the same frequency, let me take you through the ways in which you can make the best out of your experience here in the ACSi edition of IBDP. By the way, if you intend on suicide, please do not procrastinate as you wouldn’t have time to do so, much less think about it, later.

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The School “Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), founded in 1886, is one of the premier educational institutions in Singapore. It is a Methodist institution with a strong foundation in spiritual values, a tradition of excellence, and a global perspective. We see our students as young men and women who can be developed by inculcating the right values and providing them with an excellent education, so that they may serve society well in the latter part of their lives. Our vision is that every ACSian will be a Scholar, Leader and Global Citizen for Year 5 and 6 – a person who shows excellence in learning, in leading and in living.” (ACS Write Up for University Applications, pp 1) That’s what they always say and I’ll say too, especially the first paragraph, to acknowledge the philosophy of the school founding fathers. As a side note, the peppering of the ‘global citizen’ ideas is the brainchild of the current administration headed by Dr. Ong Teck Chin. Don’t be surprised if Old Boys give you ‘that look’ when you mention it. As of all administrations, they are usually plagued with administratium 1 material. Coupled with groupthink2 , this nasty combination can easily make the most loyal but intelligent staff members resign. With the explosive growth of the school population together with the staff members thanks to aggressive recruiting and high turnover rates, the administration is experiencing a harder time to implement sound policies that even staff members will agree with. That leads us to the first and most important element in the IBDP experience – teachers.

TEACHERS They are an overworked and under-appreciated group of staff, right below the under-paid and overworked custodians. In the words of a teacher who transferred to ACSi from an international school (who have since left), “I’ve got twice as much white hair due to the stress less than six months after coming here to teach”. Still, teachers sacrificially carry out their duties and attempt to adhere to ‘school policies’ with as little complaint as possible. Different staff members have different levels of tolerance and based on my experience, they tend to start moaning about workload and administration once their exhaustion tolerance level is touched or exceeded. They are the keystone in imparting interest in the subject and answering probing questions students have on the subject matter. Though not all teachers can answer all questions, a vast majority will try their best on the spot and if not, behind the scenes in an attempt to provide a satisfactory and understandable answer to the posted question.

1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Administratium

2

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groupthink

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Given the amount of work teachers have, you are highly encouraged to take the initiative to seek for help should there be a need, using whatever method necessary. This applies especially to internal assessments (more on that later) which require rather intense consultation. The classroom ‘flow’ style of teaching has its fair share of pros and cons compared to the lecture system. In my opinion, it’s a waste of time to debate which style is better, and it is more important to make good of any cons (of classroom teaching) on your part for a better learning experience. The cons are that you’ll get the same teacher for at least a year, and the teaching speeds largely depends on the rest of your peers. Some teachers offer their own self-compiled notes, over and above ones that are issued by the school. Should you not have such a teacher, you are encouraged to source for them from your schoolmates so that you can have an even better understanding of the content. Depending on the intelligence and/or attitude of your peers, more so if they are highly motivated, you are encouraged to glance through the material to be covered beforehand so that you would have better understanding during lessons. Otherwise, if you are naturally brilliant and academically competent, most teachers won’t bother telling you to pay attention or to stop doing ‘other work’. If they persist, reading the subject textbook will help. However, I must acknowledge that there are extremely outstanding and brilliant teachers within our midst. If you do chance upon them, appreciate them as much as you can afford to. On the other hand, the reverse is also true; but this does not mean you should withdraw your appreciation. Instead, appreciate them more for taking the courage to teach in this unfamiliar course (or else there wouldn’t be enough teachers).

FACILITIES Although the school tends to pride itself as a world class institution, I’m sad to announce that the IT infrastructure is barely sustainable. Taken-for-granted services commonly found in ‘government funded schools’, such as free wireless access and low cost printing, are not available or are highly limited and/or costly. Wireless

In this day and age, the school has yet to provide wireless internet access for all students. Table-PC students report poor connectivity and horrible stability of the ‘ACCESS-ACS’ wireless network, accessible only to tablet-PC students via their IC number and password 3. Furthermore, internet access from within school is badly affected by the web content filtering appliance – Fortiguard (pronounced faulty-guard). Applying heavy-handed web policy filters, Google Translate, and other important sites are blocked. At times, access to SSL sites are

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Access to the ACCESS-ACS wireless is via IEEE 802.1X PEAP authentication.

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rejected, making email access extremely cumbersome. Given such horrible usability, students are not recommended to rely on the school internet access to do internet-based research from within the school network if they value usability and time. Reports about Boarding School connectivity/accessibility (or the lack thereof ) has been off the charts. As such, Students interested in web access should proceed to Holland Village Burger King during standard hours, or Clementi McDonald’s4 after normal hours for their free wireless internet access. Otherwise, [email protected] hotspots5 and National Library Board branches6 are recommended. However, there has been reports that connecting to and accessing the internet via the ‘admin’ wireless network has little of the problems mentioned above. Acquiring access to the said network is optional, and is left as an exercise for the reader. Printing

Given the amount of printed assessments required in the IBDP course, I’m awfully surprised by the state of the printing facilities offered by the school. At 10 cents a page from the library, it is extremely costly and inaccessible. Students are not recommended to rely on the facility as availability is not guaranteed. Should you have no alternative, note the operating hours of the library – 8 am to 3 pm on Mondays, 8 am to 5 pm on all others; opens at 9 am during school holidays. Photocopying facility operating hours are similarly dismal. It closes at 3 pm and remember to watch out for lunch times so you don’t get bitten at the most unappreciated hour. Personally, I think having the Extended Essay consultation periods at times where such printing facilities are unavailable is an extremely ill-planned move. Hopefully things improvement as time tends to infinity. Mugging Areas

As the Library has extremely short operating hours even during examination periods, students are recommended to rely on other venues for their studying. Depending on the Students’ Council, certain classrooms might be specially unlocked for this purposes. Although not the most ideal location, they serve the purpose sufficiently well.

4

24 hour operations

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http://www.ida.gov.sg/Infrastructure/20061208095011.aspx

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http://www.nlb.gov.sg/CPMS.portal? _nfpb=true&_pageLabel=CPMS_page_visitus_AllLibraries

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Sport Facilities

These days, tennis courts, squash courts, air-conditioned MPH, and other lockable places (obviously excluding grass fields and the astroturf) are largely inaccessible to students outside PE lessons. I have serious doubts where all the school fees are going but nevertheless, don’t rely on the school for these fitness facilities. Clementi Sport Hall is nearby, so are the various condominium with facilities that your classmates might live in one. The Pond

Yes, you heard me correctly, the pond. It is situated between block B and block C in the IB campus, visible to all occupants of the two buildings. It’s a great environmentally friendly and accessible means of communicating short messages to occupants of the IB block. To do so, just grab a few pebbles from the pond, wipe the moss off, and rearrange them to form messages on the bottom of the pond. Be it love messages, suicide notes, or maybe tame words of encouragement, they are bound to create a stir along the corridors in the early morning, sending your message across to anyone who hasn’t seen it first hand, yet. The best thing about moss is that they will grow back on the pebbles, erasing any messages longer than a few weeks old; no maintenance needed. On the other hand, I’ve got an idea for enterprising students who are willing to get their hands dirty and feet wet. A messaging store set up for people to dedicate messages via the pond would bring in good revenue, at 10 cents per pebble used, any message would certainly and easily net in a dollar or more. Co-operative

I’ve been bitten many times by their lunch times and non-business hours during school. At that, I can only suggest that you don’t count on the shop and to come to school well equipped with stationery that you might need.

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The IBDP I have to admit, the IBDP is a rather well designed course given its aims and objectives. The downside however is that the implementation of the course is left to the school. Based on comments given from experienced teachers (identity withdrawn for individual’s protection), the implementation of the IBDP has been overtly traditional, with emphasis on educational end-point rather than the experiential process. Singaporean inventions, like TYS, and common tests, are added in, applying additional pressures and expectations to an already loaded course. It is no secret that the course is designed with small candidatures in mind. When stretched to a cohort of approximately 375 candidates, and eventually 450 candidates (over the average of 46 candidates), situations which require a good student-to-teacher ratio gets hairy. In this section, I will write some notes about the course that might be important.

S U B J E C T C O M B I N AT I O N S The school is well known in local circles for providing a huge variety of subject combinations and its sincere attempts to satisfy student requests, no matter how unconventional they are. As for comments from students regarding the various subjects, they can be found in the Unofficial IB Survival Guide, produced by the Welfare Department of the 1st Students’ Council. For your convenience, I’ve attached it to the end of this document in Appendix 1. For the Easiest Subject Combination in ACSi based on some statistical analysis of the 2007 year 6 preliminary examinations, I have attached a copy of the blog post in Appendix 2, which might give you a rough idea on how difficult each subject is.

INTERNAL ASSESSMENTS This is commonly known as IA. Teachers would like it to seem like ‘immediate action’, but students would rather leave it as it is. Deadlines issued are usually fluid in the range of approximately a week. The only exception apply to mathematics portfolios which are to be handed up on time. Before I forget, plagiarism is strongly frowned upon and is to be avoided at all costs. Referencing however, is encouraged, provided that sources are properly cited. Sick Leave

There are days in the timetable that are a royal waste of time and at times, such time is better spent at home completing assignments. If need be, students should take at most a day of unofficial ‘medical’ leave from school every month to clear assignments and lab reports. Do message your class teachers of your absence in the morning by 8 am, and upon your return to

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school, you are encouraged to produce a parents letter to ease administration workload on class teachers. Should ‘Medical Certificates’ be required (your class teachers should inform you accordingly in advance), proceed to your nearest Polyclinic and arrive at the reception counter 45 minutes before lunchtime closure. Discretion recommended for type of sickness to report but the usual suspects are diarrhoea or acute headache (due to stress). I got it all settled in 30 minutes and the bill should end up around $6, the last I’d tried. Your mileage may vary. On the other hand, do note that on certain days, eve of certain deadlines or important presentations, the administration might issue threats about absenteeism. I’ll personally ignore them as getting things done™ is more important. Who cares about doing unimportant things when more important things that really affect your final grades need to be done. Mathematics Portfolio

Elaborate every step as necessary and be as detailed as you can. Don’t bother trying to save paper; leave that for your CAS activity. Be prepared to wait over a 30 minutes for printing facilities at the library on the day mathematics portfolios are due. World Literature

In the aspect of English World Literature Assignments, students are strongly recommended to pester their respective English A1 teachers (early) such that they receive 1 to 1 consultation regarding the quality and direction of the drafts. Leaving it to the last minute is possible but not recommended as teachers will be scarce to locate in the final days nearing submission deadline. Individual Oral Presentation

You may think this has got to be the most stressful presentation of your life, but let me assure you, there’s more to come. Getting this through is rather easy provided that you have sufficient practise and planning. The real thing should be a breeze after the exchange of mocks between classes with different teachers. Just remember to incorporate the changes suggested by the teachers before you present. Although I have seen students do exactly that, I’m unsure of the official stance regarding the exchange of mocks; employ at your discretion. Depending on interpretation, this could be a form of malpractice 7. Individual Oral Commentary

This tough English A1 component will be conducted in Year 2, Term 3. There will be immense time pressure and workload. Stress levels from this component has got to be the highest compared to anything else and students are advised to remain sane during this period (leading up to the preliminary examinations). Apart from praying hard for the key passages to appear

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Vade Mecum, Chapter A3, Section VII, Part E, Article 26

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on your examination day, reading through the whole literature text(s) will help. Trend spotting might also help as passages tend to appear in consecutive batches. During my years, classes are assessed, by your very own teacher (Teachers’ Day anyone?), and in numerical order, i.e. 6.1 followed by 6.2, and so on. ToK Oral Presentation

This is nothing to worry about. As long as you show awareness by addressing the ToK diagram, you should excel in this aspect. Also, never read or memorise your presentation in such as way that your responses are scripted; you’ll be severely penalised. If you are fortunately assigned to a highly discerning judging team like mine, which consisted of a certain history teacher, and two language teachers, one of whom specialises in law, I strongly suggest that you do not employ any smoke and mirror techniques; your substance is being tested. Don’t freak out too much if a strange question flies in your face, it’s an intended side-effect. Science Laboratory Reports

Conscientiousness is recommended for at least 85% of the practicals. Any less is risky and not recommended. Depending on situation (you won’t know until it is too late), certain teachers may allow last-minute conjuration of practicals prior to submission. Your mileage will vary. Also, avoid being absent for practicals as much as possible; your workload will thank you. Creativity, Action, and Service

Get your signatures as soon as you can, don’t procrastinate. Get them all at once; split your AEFs into two parts, the candidate’s section and the supervisor’s section. Hand the proposal, logs, and the supervisor’s section of the AEF in all at once for signatures. This will reduce paperwork confusion later. The rest of the documentation can be generated ‘just-in-time’. As long as you have all your signatures, the whole bound CAS booklet will take at most 2 days to generate. Before you proceed to fill up the AEFs, do read up on the aims and objectives of the programme so that you will seem competent.

EXTERNAL ASSESSMENTS It is just a term to mean examinations, apart from EE and ToK. Using tried and tested (but unfortunately boring) Singaporean techniques will bring you extremely far in this aspect. A useful piece of software named, IB Questionbank, is highly recommended for self-revision and topical question generation. Its bundled answers is convenient for quick recapitulations. If you don’t have it, beg, borrow, or steal. Best of all, just buy it off IBO Store8.

8

http://store.ibo.org/

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Extended Essay

The key to a minimal frustration Extended Essay is one which uses as little equipment as possible. At that, you’ll be freed to work at your own pace, which is highly essential if your work requires thinking. Otherwise, get it out of the way before the end of your first year and your second year will be a breeze. It is said that an EE on literature works is the easiest; scientific based ones would be harder as additional effort in practical design and error handling will be graded. Theory of Knowledge

Just cook up the essay in a night, paying close attention to the ToK diagram.

This more or less completes the notes I have regarding the course. In the next section, I’ll write about the recommended appliances to have so that you can be better prepared for things to come.

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Equipment Through my experience in this course, I have found various tools and applications that will be extremely beneficial to have for this course of study.

H A R D WA R E Here are some tangible products worth owning or having quick and convenient access to. Cards

Before you graduate, be sure to pick up the great game of contract bridge. Start off with float bridge for a gentler learning curve. Get the cheapest but usable deck possible as certain teachers do not appreciate them; however, cards are neither implicitly nor explicitly banned. Printer

It needs to be reliable and optionally fast. A decent laser printer will do. Otherwise, have in stock spare cartridges of black ink and white paper; do remember to account for the time required to print. Printing 50 pages of your EE takes a really long time if your printer isn’t fast.; not to mention, 3 copies of everything important could take longer than your lunch. So, start your printing way before you leave your house for school so you won’t be late. Laptop

For your last minute slide modifications and stunning presentations. It will come in extremely handy for certain planning practicals and especially your Extended Essay when you meet with your supervisor. I’ll recommend a Macintosh laptop, such as the Macbook9, equipped with the latest version of Keynote 10, for this. Internet Connection

MSN chats to share knowledge, DotA games for class bonding, email for document sharing; what else? I’ll recommend SingNet Broadband for its low latency and great speed at affordable rates, highly suitable for BitTorrent and DotA gaming on Battle.net. Email account

Obviously, to send and receive documents and notes; and no, the Learning Management System (LMS) doesn’t work at all. Try looking for a document in the various document

9

http://www.apple.com/macbook/macbook.html

10

http://www.apple.com/iwork/keynote/

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libraries, buried in the royal mess. Save time, stick to emails. I’ll suggest Google Mail11 over all others. Hotmail or Windows Live Mail is strongly not recommended. Thumb-drive (Optional)

Sharing documents and printing files in the library. What more should I say? A (few) 2GB one(s) should fit the bill. Functional Backup System

I’m dead serious about this point. Seeing your 4000 word essay go “poof ” without time to say “oops” is a very painful experience. Mac OS X Leopard with its built-in automatic backup system, Time Machine, is highly recommended. Intervention-free backups itself is worth switching to a Macintosh.

S O F T WA R E Some of these are essential for a wholesome educational experience. Autograph

Although it is windows-only, it might be necessary for mathematics portfolio. Mac users can run this via Boot Camp or virtualisation, or maybe just use the bundled Grapher12 software. Geometer’s SketchPad

Yes, mathematics portfolio again. Comes with both Windows and Mac editions on the same disc. IB Questionbank

A good source of IBDP examination questions suitable for self-revision and/or practice, with included answers for quick recapitulation. If you don’t already have it, like I said, beg, borrow, or steal; best if you buy it off IBO online store. Scrivener (Optional)

Scrivener13 is a Mac-only application which helps writers organise content and thoughts. Only after the content is done, the document is assembled and exported into OpenOffice.org writer to be formatted.

11

http://www.gmail.com/

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Found in /Applications/Utilities/Grapher.app

13

http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.html

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Word Processor

I personally use OpenOffice.org 14 writer, on both Windows and Mac platforms. Competency with the word processing software is extremely recommended, especially its formatting features, as it will save you agony and time when producing your fat essays. Be sure to employ at least the Table-of-Contents feature and optionally the Bibliography auto-citation systems to improve work efficiency. Users of Microsoft Word may want to install MathType 15 to ease equation input for their mathematics work. OpenOffice.org Math is a built-in equation editor that is extremely fast and powerful, but requires some learning 16 before it gets handy.

DOCUMENTS Apart from the above, there are a few documents which are useful, although the school may not issue it to all students. Syllabus Guide

These IBO published guides contain detailed requirements on what candidates need to know about the subject. Knowing everything written and demanded in the syllabus guide will easily net you decent results in external examinations. Subject Guide Books (Optional)

Apart form the Syllabus Guides produced by IBO, there are also externally produced Subject Guide books, usually published by Oxford University Press. They are usually written by past or present examiners of their subjects. From what I’ve seen, I find the Physics Study Guide17 and English A1 Course Companion18 the best in content for the course; Chemistry and Biology Study Guides and Companions are useful for selected people only. Flip through them at bookshops and see if they will help you; skip those that don’t. Apart from the photocopy facility, these books can be found in Bras Basah Road Popular Store in very limited stocks; if not, mass order from Amazon.com. Vade Mecum (Optional)

The latest edition of the Vade Mecum is extremely useful as it contains latest deadlines and specifications for IBDP implementers. With this document, you can check when exactly are 14

http://www.openoffice.org/

15

http://www.dessci.com/en/products/mathtype/

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http://documentation.openoffice.org/manuals/oooauthors2/0111GSGettingStartedWithMath.pdf 17

ISBN: 0-19-914836-8; 2nd Ed. ISBN: 0-19-915141-5

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ISBN: 0-19-915147-4

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your IA deadlines and be sure to submit your work at least a month before the real deadlines. The school needs to air-mail them off to the examiners and have the packages arrive before then.

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Conclusion Apart from the things to have, health is equally important. As much as possible, maintain at least 6 hours, if possible 7 hours, of sleep daily. Caffeine products might help you tolerate mindlessly long and unproductive school hours. I hope this document helps you in your journey down the road of no-return, the IBDP, and experience for yourself, the stress-levels of a life time. All the best for your education and may God keep you and sustain you; bless you in your coming in and going out; that you will become the head and not the tail, above and not beneath in your grand endeavour. Remember, education is not a destination, but an experiential journey.

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Acknowledgements There are many teachers that I need to thank for giving me the inspiration to write this document before I graduate. However, I am unsure if I should mention their names here as quite a few still currently teach in the school. Not to mention, my fellow schoolmates have also contributed kindly, insights and comments, and various people have also granted me permission to include their works for your convenience. As such, if you have one way or another contributed to this piece of writing, you are remembered.

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Appendix 1 – The Unofficial IB Survival Guide



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Preface This effort represents the well-wishes of the 1st Student Council to our junior cohort. We present this guide to you not because we feel that you guys really need some help but rather, as one of the councilors put it, as advice that we wished we had. Every view expressed here may be taken with as many pinches of a salt as you wish; they are merely words from a few horses’ mouths. However, the authors of the survival tips found in this book have been thoughtfully chosen, firstly based on merit and secondly based on perspectives that cater to the greatest readership possible and my friends and I had a thoroughly good time writing this guidebook, just as these 2 years are the greatest of our lives. Any tip found inside may not be applicable in all blanket situations but they are honest experiences of successes, or at least, successful attempts at avoiding failure. The benefit of hindsight must not be downplayed and any practical solutions here may be modified, extended or even deleted, as long as it helps. The main function of this survival handbook is undeniably to help and the definite nature of this handbook is unofficial and purely the work of students. Feel free to evaluate, edify or edit but please do not mind the attempts at humour. Lastly but most importantly, enjoy your IB experience and God bless! On behalf of the 1st Student Council, Koh Tiang Peng Head of Welfare

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Contents Subject Abinitio SL Abinitio SL Biology HL Biology SL B & M HL B & M SL Chemistry HL Chemistry SL Economics Economics English A1 HL English A1 SL Geography History History Language B SL Language B SL Mathematics HL Mathematics SL Physics HL Physics SL EE (Economics) EE (English A1) EE (Geography) EE (History) EE (Sciences) TOK TOK Creativity Creativity Action Action Service Service A Final Check List

Author Cheryl Sim Elsa Goh Stephanie Saw Timothy Seow Vanessa Tok Elsa Goh Joshua Hoe Dickson Li Koh Tiang Peng Timothy Seow Joshua Hoe Arthur T. Bethel Chan Alastair Su Shivana T. Arthur T. Matthew Lee Jonathan Jacob Dilys Ong Matthew Lee Justin Low Koh Jit Yew Liow Yi Yang Tzen Chia Chia Han Sheng Stephanie Saw Koh Tiang Peng Matthew Lee Alastair Su Peter Then Bose Chan John Loh Cheryl Sim Justin Low Koh Tiang Peng

Page 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39

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Abinitio (SL) by Cheryl Sim 1. What do I feel about IB Ab initio: Anyone who takes an ab initio subject may reach a stage at some point in his 2 years of being an Intelligent Being when he laments the steep learning curve of picking up an entire alien language from scratch (especially looking at the absurdly difficult Chinese B papers, and wondering how in the world we managed to scrap together an insane percentage of 7s…that is so beyond me ;-) !) – And wondering if he should have taken the road well-trodden and done, well, his mother tongue. However, short-term pain is long-term gain, and all you ab initio students should be consoled that after these 2 years, we would have adequately mastered one of the following: 1) The Point & Grunt (German) 2) The Sophisticated Swear (French) 3) The-o Language-o Of-o Espanol-o (Spain) 4) The Chicken Scratches (Mandarin) 2. Five Most Vital Survival Tips for IB Ab initio SL: 1. Please choose wisely, and take an ab initio you have a passion for, as it requires a lot more work than the mother tongue B languages 2. Read more and memorise vocabulary. For German and French, nouns have a gender, such as the chair = der Stuhl (masculine), so you are actually sitting on a man all the time. 3. I don’t know about the rest, but German grammar is notoriously, ridiculously hard. Mug it. 4. Take notes, take notes, take notes. You will forget that das Burger does not mean the Whopper you devour at BK, but a national citizen. 5. Speak more. Orals are in Year 2 and you don’t wish to sound like someone who just ate sandpaper. 3. The ONE Thing to look out for in IB ab initio is to stay awake, and keep that pen in motion. Lessons may be conducted after school till 6PM as your teacher may be taking 2 ab initio languages, and the strain of the day may take a toll on our alertness, especially with someone sprouting a foreign tongue languidly in front of us. 4. If I could turn back time, I would put more effort into studying the grammar and sentence structures, and also speaking more, to improve my German grades thus far.

Cheryl tops her class for German ab initio and also made it for the Dean’s List in Economics (2006). She insists she is not doing well, that modest person.

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Abinitio (SL) by Elsa Goh 1. What do I feel about IB French Ab Initio: It’s always a challenge to learn a new language. As one learns French, one realizes that all it really takes is a good memory and practice to be fluent in it. 2. FIVE MOST VITAL SURVIVOR TIPS to IB French Ab Initio: 1. Be absolutely, 100% sure you want to learn French. Prepare yourself for envy when you see your Chinese B peers going for breaks when you have class, slacking off in Year 6 when they’ve finished exams already, while you press on with interactive oral activities, and so on. Prepare yourself to have people question your choice. You have been warned! 2. Get a good dictionary, and get familiar with it. Bring it to class and back home and so on so you’re never stuck with doubt. There are also some good translation and French help sites for easy access. You can try http://www.ultralingua.com/onlinedictionary, http://www.freetranslation.com, or http://babelfish.altavista.com/, just to name a few. 3. That being said, avoid over dependence on a dictionary. You can’t really translate English to French literally all the time, and DO NOT run a paragraph in English through an online translator and hand it up as a French writing task. It will probably be horribly wrong. 4. Speak and listen to French every chance you get. Which also means avoiding English in French class. 5. French is hard work. Sorry. There isn’t really any short cut or cheat method to doing well in French Ab Initio. 3. The ONE thing to look out for in IB French Ab Initio: Individual Oral examinations. French is harder to speak than write; practice for it well! 4. If I could turn back time, I would probably spend more time reading French books and newspapers(in the school library) to improve my grade in IB French Ab Initio.

Elsa tops French Ab initio and she claims it is only because she takes the subject seriously. Incidentally she is also a 40 pointer.

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Biology (HL) by Stephanie Saw 1. What do I feel about Biology HL: Isn’t it fascinating to find out how all the various systems in our body work together concurrently and how form fits function? Sometimes I just marvel at the fact that we’re alive – so many nitty gritty details need to be correct in order for our bodies to function normally! Our human body is a work of art, and to me studying the perfect design of it is a reflection of how we are created in God’s image. 2. Five most important survival tips to IB Biology HL: 1. Know your facts, most of the time you can’t smoke your way through 2. Have at least 2 reference texts plus the IB guide and study all 3 3. When in doubt, always refer to the syllabus outline to revise for exams 4. Get hold of the answer scheme for past year paper questions, highlight and memorise key points for important questions (especially 20 mark essay ones) 5. Don’t cram last minute. Bio is a mugger-intensive subject, you need time to absorb, understand and know how to apply all the material so begin revision WAY in advance, preferably while you’re studying the subject in school 3. The one thing to look out for in IB Biology HL: Content might seem easy, but it’s not that easy to score. Mugging alone will not get you a 7 fortunately/unfortunately. 4. If I could turn back time, I would do more practice questions and read up on topics related to but not within the curriculum to improve my grade in IB.

Stephanie is an excellent the top student of Biology HL and never looked in danger of losing her rank of Queen.

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Biology (SL) by Timothy Seow There are usually only two reasons why a student takes biology at standard level: 1. You are naturally adept at biology as a subject but don’t want to waste an HL, or worse, end up in an intact class. 2. You hate science and are only taking biology to fulfill the requirement of at least one science because studying for biology is like studying for history or literature. Oh, there is one more reason that slipped my mind: 3. Being a Singaporean, you take the easiest way to get a 7 for a science SL and take biology. The entire Bio SL syllabus hardly contains material outside the ‘O’ Level requirements. Despite this, 5 tips are available: 1. The Syllabus Outline If you happen to have chanced across the Biology SL syllabus outline, you may have seen this: 2.5.1. State that DNA replication is semi-conservative. DNA is semi-conservative Once you realise that everything you need to know about Bio SL is found in the syllabus outline, and that the IB exam CANNOT test you anything outside of it, life becomes simple. Especially when you find out that the outline hardly expects you to know much about anything and only expects you to state that DNA replication is semi-conservative. 2. Andrew Allot Of course now that you are aware of the scope of IB questions,, you demand some answers. We must thus gratefully thank Andrew Allot, a retired IBO Chief Examiner for Biology, for his efforts in compiling an IB study Guide that contains precise answers to every single section of the syllabus. Of course, you must memorize them, but it isn’t that difficult when each section only fill single page. 3. School Exams You must of course be aware that our school isn’t the IBO. Thus often enough, tests and exams contains many, many things nowhere to be found in the syllabus outline. Thus I strongly urge you to first study your textbook as it helps in the general understanding of a concept (if it is new), and only then open up the study guide and discover you only need to memorize a tenth of what’s in that textbook. 4. Practicals IA’s (internal Assessments) are important aspects of any subject, and for biology, just like any sciences, you have practicals. The practicals aren’t difficult, merely tedious. So I suggest that you type all of them out, especially in case you lose them and don’t want to repeat your work. 5. Ten-year Series Once again being typically Singaporean, our school has kindly bothered to print out a ten-year series. Although the questions probably would hardly trouble a sec two student, its good use for getting used to the IB style, practicing time management, handwriting, reading…

Timothy and Jonathan Jacob are constantly vying for prime position in Biology SL. At press time, Timothy refuses to confirm as to whether he is the one.

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Business and Management (HL) by Vanessa Tok 1. What do I feel about IB Business and Management (Higher Level): I love all of my subjects in IB, but Business and Management is definitely one of my favourites. What we are taught in Business and Management is very practical and applicable in life, and it is always interesting to draw parallels between what I learn in class and what I experience in real life, be it in my dealings at school or outside. It is a subject that requires a lot of common sense and practicality (although I may not have a lot of either, but I am learning…), in order to be able to understand and apply what we learn. At the end of all that, I just have to say that I truly enjoy Business and Management. I learn so many fascinating concepts and it is not only a captivating area of study, but a useful one at that. 2. Five most vital survival tips for IB Business and Management (Higher Level): 1. Read widely – that means AT LEAST reading the newspapers every day (and no, not just the Life section). Other recommended materials are The Economist, Fortune Magazine, Asian Wall Street Journal and other respectable related publications. 2. Talk to the adults – Very often we do not realize that the skills and concepts which we learn in Business and Management are actually so applicable and prevalent in the real world. Talk to your teachers, Church mates, parents and relatives. You’d be surprised how much they actually know (and will be able to teach us) about Business and Management. 3. Be more discerning when looking at things – view that new Apple advertising campaign with a more critical eye, analyse the psychological pricing of that pack of mushrooms in the supermarket, assess the effectiveness of the ambience in that new café, … 4. Love what you study and make it interesting for yourself – Business and Management is very engaging and practical, with many real-life examples to study and apply what you have learnt. Attempt to find the meaning in all of these cases and all of the knowledge that you acquire in this subject, and I assure you that you will definitely enjoy it. Hint: enjoying a subject and being able to relate to it normally means higher grades in the end… 5. Learn to write fast – and I mean, REALLY fast. It’s a long paper with very little time to think and write out answers. 3. The ONE thing to look out for in IB Business and Management (Higher Level): As Dr. Tan says, you become cleverer. And as I say, that’s always a good thing. 4. If I could turn back time, I would do my Internal Assessment earlier to improve my grade in IB Business and Management (Higher Level).

Vanessa would like the editor to remind readers that she is an extremely talented student of Business and Management. Fortunately, her results and the editor agree.

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Business and Management (SL) by Elsa Goh 1. What do I feel about IB Business & Management (SL): It’s a practical subject, and most things can be applied to real life. B&M is actually simpler than Economics is, although it does get rather mundane at times. Nevertheless, B&M students should find the module on marketing extremely enjoyable. 2. THREE MOST VITAL SURVIVOR TIPS to IB Business & Management (SL): 1. Listen in class. B&M sometimes seems really just about common sense, but then if you knew everything or could just study on your own, you’d be getting full marks. Which is quite impossible. 2. Read through and re-organise your textbook in notes. B&M (SL) and (HL) use the same textbook, so there are things you really don’t need to be looking at. Pick out only the important stuff, and re-organise the chapters into an order that you understand, because textbooks can be rather unwieldy and convoluted, i.e. you find yourself seemingly going in circles studying from the textbook. 3. Do past-year papers. The thing about B&M is that questions tend to follow the same trend or style as past years; questions for each module gives you a good idea what the exam will be like. Familiarizing yourself with your past year papers ensures an easier time in the exam. 3. The ONE thing to look out for in IB Business & Management (SL): Internal Assessment. Procrastination looks attractive but doesn’t really pay off. 4. If I could turn back time, I would probably try and get exposure to more practical and current business issues to improve my grade in IB Business & Management (SL).

Elsa apologizes for her lack of practical advice but wishes to say that it is only because she finds B & M highly manageable. You lucky people.

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Chemistry (HL) by Joshua Hoe 1. What do I feel about IB Higher level Chemistry: It is sufficiently complex in some topics to offer a challenge, but also quite simplistic in its treatment of certain areas, so much so that a lot of things are left unexplained. So be prepared to be both confused, and frustrated at different points of HL chemistry. Secondary school chemistry and IB HL chemistry are really completely different. You’ll of course see a lot of familiar topics and chemicals, the same old titration practicals, noble gas structure etc. But be prepared to have all these ideas challenged in a fundamental way. All the principles of secondary school chemistry, you will discover, are very much half baked, and extremely incomplete. You will learn new ideas of how molecules bond and react, and why they form certain structures. You will learn new exceptions to every rule you think is absolute in chemistry, and on top of all of this, you will be required to tackle the whole new area of energetic and kinetic concerns. After HL Chemistry, when you look at a chemical equation, everything will be different. Old chemistry principles are completely different, and there are many new ones to apply that you haven’t even considered for your whole secondary chemistry course. 2. Five most vital survivor tips for IB HL chemistry: 1. You most not get into the habit of letting other people do the thinking for you. That includes your teachers, and the IBO. Think through everything for yourself, no matter what the syllabus says. 2. Don’t fall sick on practical days. 3. Think very carefully before doing a chem. EE. It is difficult to get a good topic. 4. Don’t spam TYS papers in your studying time if you haven’t taken the time to get your concepts right by sitting down and thinking hard for at least an afternoon or so. You can get by without doing TYS, but you can’t get by without understanding. 5. You don’t need to take notes all the time, but you must thoroughly understand what is being said during lessons, and aggressively clear your doubts. 3. The one thing to look out for in IB HL chemistry: Get a good reference text, preferably higher than a-level standard. 4. If I could turn back time, I would have learnt how to be more precise with my chemistry terms to improve my grade in IB HL chemistry.

Joshua scored a perfect score in the end of year examinations (2006). I think that statement suffices.

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Chemistry (SL) by Dickson Li 1. What do I feel about CHEMISTRY SL: Chemistry is the central science, meaning you get the worst of both worlds. Physics is for people who are good at practicing questions. Bio is for people who are great at mugging. Chemistry is for people who fall through the gaps and end up having to mug hard and practice hard as well. 2. FIVE Most vital survival tips to IB CHEMISTRY SL: 1. If you haven’t already, BUY your chemistry IB study guide, the one by Geoff Neuss. Look for it in kinokuniya – it costs you an arm and a leg! 2. DO YOUR CHEM PRACS RELIGIOUSLY, I cannot stress this more. Do not hesitate to ask your Chem HL friends how to do them (surprise! They do the exact same pracs as you do). No friends? Pray for providence. In particular do your TITRATION pracs properly. They are the easiest to ace so you at least have one nice prac to send to IBO 3. KNOW THIS: your IA comprises the best 2 grades from each component of your practical 4. DON’T BE PROUD. Ask for tuition when you know you need it 5. Get your hands on Mr. George Chong’s compiled SL notes, and spend 1 hour practicing the questions every night instead of idling away online trying to quell your boredom 3. The ONE thing to look out for in IB CHEMISTRY SL: The serious dedication of the teachers make you forget about slacking! 4. If I could turn back time, I would have actually studied for my chem tests. All I did was flip through the notes. You actually have to do the questions, you know.

Dickson fends for himself rather well in Chemistry lessons thanks to good secondary school foundation.

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Economics (HL) by Koh Tiang Peng 1. What do I feel about IB Economics HL: Economics is surely, the most relevant subject in the Singaporean Rat Race. It is said that the central economic problem is scarcity, but having studied economics for awhile now, I feel that everything economics revolves around DEMAND. It is thoroughly enjoyable to learn about how economics applies to our life but maybe not so enjoyable when it comes to penning these ideas now. Do not be disillusioned by the sheer amount of regurgitation, a lot of economics actually demand evaluation, content is a given. Studying economics in the 21st century is interesting because a lot of the groundwork has already been theorized, what we are learning now is the analysis and application of the concepts from the textbook. 2. Five most vital survival tips to IB Economics HL: 1. Do not pon any days with economics in it. (Better still, do not pon at all). This is because the concepts learnt are built upon; the topics are not independent of each other. It is better to listen to the teacher teach than to try to learn it on your own. 2. Ask for help. The last thing you want is to confuse yourself with concepts during revision. Never be afraid to sound lame or stupid asking for help because it IS a new subject that everyone’s taking, everybody learns from the process. 3. Pretend the examiner is stupid. This means that in all writing tasks, define every term you use, to show that you understand the concept in the first place. It may take awhile to get the hang of it, because terms such as ‘resources’ must also be defined. 4. Be on the look out for economics in real life. Doing this might help you understand why the roti prata in our school is demand price inelastic and why people import drinks from places outside the school. On a more academic note, being on the alert for economical applications will cut down on the time spent doing internal assessments as you already know where to look for articles. 5. Create your own economics. This is the most fun aspect of economics. As lessons may be too long for your own sanity, why not create your own economics? For example: The Law of Ponning states that as the number of people who pon increases, the level of classroom joy decreases drastically. 3. The ONE thing to look out for in IB Economics HL: Unemployment. You will understand when it hits you. 4. If I could turn back time, I would have revised Year 5 economics during the November/December holidays to improve my IB Economics HL grade.

Tiang Peng treats the Economics Dean’s List lectures he attended in 2006 as if they were fun lessons and is proud to be representing the school in a Soccernomics Forum.

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Economics (HL) by Timothy Seow 1. What do I feel about IB Economics HL: I must make mention here that I never really liked Economics. I could hardly see myself replicating those intricately drawn diagrams I saw my teacher shift rightwards, then leftwards, then rightwards again. You see, I thought economics was contrived. They proudly start you on your first microeconomic model: The Perfectly Competitive firm. They explain these things called ‘assumptions’ (which are hardly even close to being plausible). Next they run the marker furiously over the whiteboard and present you a diagram containing a plethora of confusing little scribbles, horizontal, diagonal, u-shaped, the lot. To compound this, each scribble has its very own accompanying two-letter acronyms: AR MR MC DD AC IB. You then hear perfecting the art of diagrams will maximize your short-run IB exam profits and possibly have consequences for your paycheck in the long-run as well. That’s when your teacher concludes that this model doesn’t actually apply in real life and you are only learning it because some clown economist thought of it 50 years ago1. Nonetheless, like all good things in this world, it unfortunately started to grow on me. I found acceptance in memorizing unrealistic models and reproducing intricate, abbreviated scrawls. 2. Five most vital survival tips to IB Economics HL: 1. In truth, economic theory is highly applicable. To answer data-response questions, you must know how to apply economic theory to everyday situations. For example, we define economics as a social science that examines how people choose use limited or scarce resources in attempting to satisfy their unlimited wants. In our world, the economics of the IB student thus examines how the average IB student chooses to use his or her very limited resource of time in attempting to satisfy the inherently, unquestionable and voraciously unlimited want to study. 2. Your teacher would undoubtedly tell you that it is crucial to define, define, define. Well, they’re right. Definitions alone make up a quarter of a good essay. Why are definitions important? Look at the example above. To elaborate, Opportunity Cost refers to the next best alternative forgone when a choice is made. Hence, the opportunity cost of studying a chapter of HL economics can be said to be studying half a chapter of HL Math. So define, and then apply. 3. As is the Singaporean mentality, a student must be aware of the nature of the exam questions. In answering a structured question, Part (a) always demands a concept, so you use most of your definitions perhaps one or two diagrams. Part (b) always wants you to evaluate the limitations of certain theories or models, so discuss how your suggestions to solving the problem may be flawed. It is essentially complaining about policy, so as a Singaporean you shouldn’t have much difficulty. 4. I will now illustrate the value of drawing those intricate scribbles (diagrams).

1

Our Mid-year Exam question was “Explain why economists find models such as perfect competition useful even if their assumptions are unrealistic”. I think the moral behind this story is largely selfexplanatory.

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Economics Grade

No. of Diagrams 3

As seen in the diagram above, your economics grade increases dramatically with the number of diagrams drawn. Obviously, if your entire essay is just made of diagrams, you aren’t going to do too well either. Also notice that the curve starts at zero, which means if you do not draw any diagrams, you’re probably going to get zero. 5. Economics consists of very many a section in each module. If you want to obtain Pareto optimality and be both productively and allocatively efficient, you must know what to study. In each module, there are only a few major sections to study – The concept, the diagram (which explains the concept, thus you only need to memorize how to draw the diagram as explaining it automatically means you understand the concept), important definitions and an evaluation of the concept. Depending on the chapters, you may have to study assumptions or causes and consequences etc. It’s not that hard really. Just give numbers to each evaluation point and remember how many there are for each module. The points will come naturally as economics is really common sense.

Timothy was very close to switching to History HL from Economics HL during Term 3. He went on to top the cohort in the end of year Economics examination. The rest we say, is history.

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English A1 (HL) by Joshua Hoe 1. What do I feel about IB HL English A1: The sheer amount of books is killer, although so far, the discussions in class have been quite good; literature classes tend to be the more enjoyable and laid back periods of the day. If you appreciate the value of literature in exploring different themes of the human condition, and the stimulating exercise of analyzing any text, then it should be very tolerable to handle the amount of material thrown at you. Generally, the workload (besides reading and studying your texts) is very low compared to the sciences. 2. Five most vital survivor tips to IB HL English A1: 1. Try to get the same edition of texts as your teachers. It’s extremely annoying to have different page references. 2. Participate in class. 3. When you have free time, before you pick up your favourite novel or magazine, remember you have tons of syllabus text to read, so get to it. 4. Get a book and take notes about discussions in class, much easier to organize that way. 5. Personally engage your texts. 3. The one thing to look out for in IB HL English A1: Don’t get too nervous about your IOP this year, it’s going to be fine. 4. If I could turn back time, I would sleep earlier before my written paper to improve my grade in IB HL English A1.

Joshua is still a 42-pointer. In his spare time (gasp) he plays the guitar.

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English A1 (SL) by Arthur Thevathasan 1. What do I feel about IB English A1 SL: Pretty tough actually, probably the toughest SL subject around. 2. Five most vital survivor tips to IB English A1 SL: 1. Read sparknotes.com – will help you get the extra points that you need to get 7 points! 2. Actually read your full text and don’t just get the summary from sparknotes. You need to know how to contextualize all your passages in the texts you use. 3. Honestly, to really make sure that you don’t fumble during exams or tests, it’s essential that you practice writing (not typing) commentaries a lot, even though they’re incredibly long. It really, really, really, really helps. It’s like practicing math. – The more you do it the easier and more fun it becomes. 4. During lessons, the more you contribute, the more you gain out of the lessons. So preparing in advance for whatever you’re doing helps. 5. Choose all the selected topics (IOP/World Lit/etc) as fast as possible, before other people borrow your ideas! 3. One thing to look out for in IB English A1 SL: Compared to other IB subjects, the standard for English A1 in general is very high. So for unseen text, make sure you read the poem/prose passage a least 3 times (yeah, that many times) before you start your commentary. There are many secretive, hidden things that you may miss out the first two times. For prepared text, just make sure you fully understand the general picture of the story and not just isolated bits. Markers like it when you tie specific parts of the story together. 4. If I could turn back time, I would have not only practiced more by writing essays, but I would have definitely read a lot more in general – newspaper articles, magazines, other novels (should you find yourself completely free) and please don’t read comics. – all this would help you tremendously with your diction and confidence of writing. You may not feel the effects but they’re there! ☺

Rumour has it that Arthur took English A1 SL because he wanted a free 7, so it is probably ironic that he claims to be finding trouble with it now! However with his strong command in language, it is unlikely that he will disappoint Ms. Cheung.

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Geography (SL) by Bethel Chan 1. What I feel about IB SL Geography: IB SL Geography is mostly human geography. I find it fun and quite engaging because it is extremely relevant to the stuff we read about in the papers everyday. Stuff like how our world is coming to an end, and how we are (or are not) going to feed all those people. It gives you a greater awareness of our planet and its inhabitants. There’s also physical geography which…you’ll just have to tahan. 2. The ONE thing to look out for in IB SL geography: I now know how much arable plots of land it takes to sustain my upkeep (ecological footprint stuff). Where else would you learn something like that? 3. If I could turn back time I would start work on my Geography IA field study earlier (!!!) and pay more attention during physical geography lessons to improve my grade.

Bethel is a geography enthusiast, or at least she’s enthusiastic about scoring an easy 7 points for it.

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History (HL) by Alastair Su 1. What do I feel about IB History HL: History has, and always will be, a special subject for me. There’s nothing like looking back at the past and seeing how relevant it is to today. To explain the happenings of the world today, one needs to look back at the past – just see what’s happening between Japan and China now, and one can see the tension between them is largely a product of their strained relationship in the past few centuries or so. The strength of IB History’s is probably that it exposes the student to different aspects of Modern world history, not just Europe as it is traditionally taught in many places; but also devotes an entire paper on the region. This breadth of study is something that is truly enriching and will enable you to get a better sense of what’s going on. As a subject, history is certainly not the heaviest of the higher level subjects. Subjects like Biology or Chemistry HL are definitely more content-heavy. Contrary to popular belief, history is not a content-based subject; while a strong understanding of historical concepts is necessary, what is really more important is the thinking skills required. Therefore, it is recommended that one should practice not by memorising more facts, but rather, write. Use the most of your practice essays, and in your failures humble yourself to ask your teacher where you have fallen short. Like most of the humanities, the essay writing has a certain technique to it, and this can only be honed through consistent practice. 2. FIVE MOST VITAL SURVIVOR TIPS to IB History HL: 1. When answering a history question, if you’re only half-sure, then you’re sure. 2. Always take at least 10 minutes before you start writing to plan your skeleton. If not, you’ll be dead like one. 3. Don’t be longwinded in your answers. Write to the point. 4. If the question is to “what extent”, to a very large extent, always give both sides. However, to a small extent, make sure you write in favour of your stance. 5. Enjoy yourself! 3. The ONE thing to look out for in IB History HL: A very important assignment to look out for is the Internal Assessment. Unlike other subjects where the Internal Assessment normally composes of several assignments over the two years of study, the history IA only requires to do a single investigation. Though this may seem simple at first, do not be fooled. While commitment is certainly less than something like science where one has to churn out practical reports every week, prepare to be committed to produce a high-quality, thorough piece of work and this in itself requires consistent attention over a period of time. So my advice is do not leave this to the last minute. Do your research early, make sure your research question is focused enough, and stick to the deadlines. The final product has to be something like perfect and this is something that cannot be achieved, no matter how skilled you are, on your first attempt. So make sure you do your IA properly that it doesn’t become a burden to you in the end. 4. If I could turn back time, I would spend more time reading up on my own to improve my grade in IB History. Sometimes I take for granted that the essay is ultimately the student’s ability to articulate his stance, and so I can become quite lacking in terms of actual historical knowledge. Alastair technically deserves a Sustained Achievement Award for topping History for 5 years now. Somebody stop him!

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History (HL) by Shivana Thirumoorthy 1. What do I feel about IB HL History: I did IB HL History because I thought it was a fun thing to do. That might seem strange to you, but it isn’t that odd, really. I had to have 1 HL that wasn’t like my others, so I took History. Now, while I haven’t been wrong about it being fun, I can say it isn’t easy. 2. Four most vital tips for surviving IB HL history: 1. Exploit SL History students. I don’t know about you, but I had the great fortune of having friends who took SL History despite their outstanding ability in the subject. Find these people in your level and ask them for notes. The fact that they study Single Party States means that they will probably have made notes for it and the fact that they have made notes for it means that you don’t have to. While it is not entirely advisable to study based only on another person’s notes, it does free you up so you can worry about other things, like having to learn about 2 World Wars in a single day. 2. Honour your deadlines. They are surprisingly good for you/your grades. Honour your deadlines. While this might seem counter-intuitive because many of us seem to think that deadlines are arbitrary, they generally take into account one thing that most of us fail to – procrastination. Most ACS students only begin work within 10 days of a deadline, many of us working within an even narrower time frame. Remember, “Mock IA deadline” is an event, not an instruction. 3. Study religiously. Do it to avoid concentration camps. My theory is that con camp serves as a deterrent for those of us who would otherwise not study for exams. And I must say, when you think of it that way, it acts as a pretty good deterrent. Holidays are for not coming to school. Keep them that way. 4. Drink Coffee. Or Red Bull. Or Livita. Or Red Dragon. Or… you get the idea. Caffeine is good for you. She can serve two purposes, the first being to heighten your mental state thus making you smarter. The second is to stave off that horrible end to each and everyday, the long slumber at the end of our endeavors – sleep. You’ll have plenty of time to sleep when you’re dead, so do not go gentle into that good night. I leave you with a quote from my roommate, Xu Nan, “Sleeping is a kind of wasting time.” 3. If I could go back in time, I’d have done my Mock IA well enough for it to be used as my Real IA. It would have saved me a lot of time.

Shivana’s views on history related (or un-related) topics is often listened to. Whether he is chucked out of class after that is another matter.

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Language B (SL) by Arthur Thevathasan 1. What do I feel about IB Language B SL: If it’s Chinese B, it’s probably the easiest subject in the world, so much so that my primary 2 sister can score at least 6 points. If it’s another subject, like Malay or Tamil, it’s still pretty easy, but really not a guaranteed 7 unfortunately. If it’s French, Spanish or German, good luck. 2. Five most vital survival tips to IB Language B SL: 1. Do not waste the opportunity to excel during your oral. This is where you can really score (and maybe even get full marks). This is probably the difference between a 6 and a 7. 2. Don’t be too overconfident eventhough it really is quite easy for some papers. Make sure you have a clear, fresh mind when you do the paper and get into the zone of that language. It’s good to prepare as much as you can. 3. If you’re given the opportunity to do so, finish this subject off as early as possible so that you can focus on your other subjects during year 6. 4. Don’t bother trying to mug for any Language B subject last minute, it never works. It’s a lot better to just do at least a little bit of work along the way. 5. Follow the 4 tips above if you want to do well ☺ 3. What to look out for in IB Language B SL: For oral, do look out for the criteria in which they assess you on. Base your presentation on that. 4. If I could turn back time, I would not relax too much during Year 5 so that I would be better prepared during year 6. It only takes a bit of work along the way for you to keep up!

Arthur plans to ride out his peers’ ribbing of him about still having to attend SL 2 lessons by scoring a 7 just as easily as his friends who took Chinese B.

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Language B (SL) by Matthew Lee 1. What do I feel about IB Chinese B SL: It is not the most challenging subject for sure, but don’t take it for granted that a 7 is guaranteed. Effort is still needed. As they say, 一分耕耘,一分收获。 2. FIVE MOST VITAL SURVIVOR TIPS to IB Chinese B SL 1. Try not to skip lessons even though you may think you know your stuff 2. Don’t piss your teacher off because he/she will be grading your oral tests 3. Don’t be complacent 4. Read some Chinese once in a while 5. Watch Chinese TV serials (try not to read subtitles) 3. The ONE thing to look out for in IB Chinese B SL: The writing portions aren’t as easy as you think. There’s a skill to it and it can only be mastered with practice. 4. If I could turn back time, I wouldn’t change a thing. A 7 is perfect.

Matthew topped Chinese B (SL) last year. Obviously he would not change anything.

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Mathematics (HL) by Jonathan Jacob 1. What do i feel about HL Mathematics: HL math is like a rock. It’s hard. But you can get through by drilling. Just kidding, but in all seriousness HL math is a subject in which you have to actually sit down and do work (and not just mug) if you want to get a good grade. Mathematics may not strike most people as the most interesting of subjects (even though some beauty can be found in such order and perfection), but satisfaction can be drawn from whenever you’re able to master any one of the hundreds of abstract concepts you’ll come across during these two years. Perseverance is the answer - JW 2. Five most vital survivor tips to HL Math: 1. Get a mathematics journal (use it properly and it’ll be more useful than your textbook). 2. Don’t stone in class. Take down all the examples your teacher goes through. 3. Do practice questions. Mugging your textbook won’t help you. 4. Clarify any doubts you have. Math can be cheem, but your teachers are there to help. 5. Dedicate at least one workday to your Math portfolio when it comes out. And don’t be stupid enough to start on it a day before it’s due. 3. The one thing to look out for in HL Math: Portfolio Week. Enough said. 4. If I could turn back time, I would do more practice questions throughout the year, not just before exams, to improve on my HL math grade.

One who makes 40 points look easy, Jonathan is stuck in list the top 10 students but has no problems with staying in it.

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Mathematics (SL) by Dilys Ong 1. What do I feel about IB Mathematics SL: I LOVE SL MATH! SL Math is manageable and fun, all while remaining mathematical in nature ☺ Although there are a lot of things you would have already learnt in secondary school Additional maths and such, maths SL allows you to remain at that comfortable level of math, stretches you (mainly in portfolio work) without killing you! (I was in HL math, SL math fits me perfectly in for these reasons ☺ ) 2. FIVE MOST VITAL SURVIVOR TIPS TO IB MATHEMATICS SL: 1. Make sure you understand the concepts. Understand the basic concepts of each chapter; math is always better when you understand what’s going on. Memorizing blindly is plain useless. If you don’t get it, ask a teacher or pwnage classmate. 2. Practice makes perfect! SL Math is perfectly do-able, even for those who’ve never done Additional math. Just practice, practice, practice! 3. Take note of question styles. Math questions for various topics such as differentiation, probability, indices etc, are tested in a small variation of styles. Understand your concepts and recognise the style of questions that come out. This will make yr practice easier and quicker. You’ll have it all at your fingertips! 4. Your GDC is your best friend ☺ The wonderful invention of the Graphic Display Calculator can do wonders for you! Read the manual, ask your teacher or search the web to see what this nifty device can do. Kiss tedious calculations and graphing goodbye! It cuts down precious time during exams significantly! (Do check with your teachers when you must show manual calculations.) Love, cherish, honour it and make sure you have extra batteries at exam time. 5. Portfolios deserve your attention, care and time. ( I cannot emphasize this enough, see below.) 3. The ONE thing to look out for in IB Mathematics SL Math portfolio. Although is your SL, the portfolio cannot be taken likely, it can make your break your grade. So take it seriously. Find out as much as you can from your teacher on it, clarify all your doubts and read the rubric. Check out the internet for sources of information and software that will aid your portfolio. It maybe time consuming, but it is time well spent. Do NOT wait till the day before to start, it’s not worth it. The portfolio is very easily, don’t waste it! 4.If I could turn back time, I would have been more meticulous on my first portfolio to improve my grade in IB Mathematics SL ☺

Dilys has been a blessing to those around her who needs help in Mathematics SL by being a wonderful tuition teacher.

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Physics (HL) by Matthew Lee 1. What do I feel about IB Physics HL I guess it’s all relative. It’s not the easiest but it’s not the toughest subject either. But on a more serious note, it is tough, but definitely manageable as long as you keep on the ball with your work. It’s difficult to keep up if you’ve got a massive backlog of practicals. 2. FIVE MOST VITAL SURVIVOR TIPS to IB Physics HL: 1. Hand in your practical reports on time 2. Revise regularly 3. Practice past year questions to familiarize yourself with the style of IB examinations 4. Learn your definitions 5. Have fun. 3. The ONE thing to look out for in IB Physics HL: It gets progressively more difficult. 4. If I could turn back time, I would do all my practicals and not create a massive backlog to improve my grade in IB Physics HL.

A common name when it comes to top scorers, Matthew was in the list of top 10 students in 2006. Has a name synonymous with excellence.

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Physics (SL) by Justin Low 1. What do I feel about IB Physics SL: IB Physics SL is actually very much a continuation of O Level Physics, only with a few new subjects. Most of the things that you learn have already been taught in secondary school, and the new topics are also very easy to learn and understand. I think that Physics SL is actually one of the most straightforward and easy subjects to excel in the IB programme, only if you are up-to-date with the teaching and listen to your teacher in class all the time. 2. FIVE MOST VITAL SURVIVOR TIPS to IB Physics SL: 1. Learn how to write a proper practical report!!!! Harass and beg your teacher to teach you how to write a proper practical so that submitting reports will not be that much of a headache. 2. Pay attention in class!!!! IF you manage to stay awake in every single lesson and understand most of what your teacher is saying, it really saves time revising what you’ve been taught at home. And the content taught in Physics SL is such that you only have to pay attention in class to grasp a clear and sufficient understanding of each topic. 3. Grab a copy of the Physics IB Study Guide and ‘A’ level practice questions. The ‘A’ Level TYS is useful because most of the teachers like to set questions from there in tests and even exams. Even though it is true that ‘A’ level questions are different from IB questions, if you are able to answer correctly most of the ‘A’ level questions, IB Physics is not a problem. 4. Have a warm and fun classroom learning environment. Studying too much physics can make even the most intellectual person yawn and tire. Cracking physics joke will most certainly break the monotony and make learning physics together enjoyable. If everyone is just listening to the teacher, stoning and not contributing, soon you will see heads leaning against the table and not moving, and even the teacher will not have the motivation to teach, which ruins everything. 5. Finally, remember all your formulas!!! In physics, you will come across quite a number of formulas, and if you don’t remember which one applies to which concept, you’ll find yourself getting confused in answering questions. Perhaps it would be helpful to write down a master list of all the formulas you’ve learnt, and keep adding to the list. If you refer to this list all the time and just read through frequently, you’ll know them at the back of your hand in no time. Furthermore, if you can relate the formulas to the relevant topics, it helps ease revision a great deal. 3. The ONE thing to look out for in IB Physics SL: That would have to be being prepared for class tests and exams. If you find yourself scoring well in most of your class tests and even exams, rest assured that you are on top of your work and that grade 7 is within sight. Scoring well would mean getting above 70% for marks. 4. If I could turn back time, I would learn how to write a good practical report and redo my previous practicals to improve my grade in IB SL Physics.

Justin enjoys the classroom atmosphere of a Physics class. He claims it is positively charged.

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Extended Essay in Economics by Koh Jit Yew 1. What do I feel about doing an EE in IB Economics: Since economics is the most relevant subject to life after the IB (in the commercial world), doing an extended essay on economics is probably the most relevant you can get. Although it can be demanding most of the time, it is a worthwhile EE subject to pursue since you can mostly identify with whichever topic you’ve chosen. 2. FIVE MOST VITAL SURVIVOR TIPS to IB Economics EE: 1. Do an EE on Market Structure, its much churn out a topic like that. Relate it with a Singaporean flavor (Chicken Rice in Singapore, Bak Ku The in Singapore etc) for a foreign appeal to examiner. 2. Do the questionnaire a.s.a.p. by June (Year 5) and start doing surveys at the locations. Interviews can be done during this time or during the December holidays. 3. Essay should not take more than 4 days or 16 hours (4 hours a day) to complete 4. Most of your research should come from groundwork (interviews, surveys etc) and not books from the National Library. Yours is the subject that requires the least time spent at National library. 5. Know that your EE is the easiest to complete. 3. The ONE thing to look out for in IB Economics EE: Lots of groundwork (surveys, interviews etc.) 4: If I could turn back time, I would try to understand the concepts more during class time so that I can readily apply them when drafting out my survey questions and interview questions. This would ultimately improve my ECONOMICS EE.

Jit is a dark horse in the race to become the top for Economics this year.

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Extended Essay in English A1 by Liow Yi Yang 1. WHAT DO I FEEL ABOUT IB ENGLISH A1 EE: An English EE is a great option for those who are comfortable expressing themselves with the language and have genuine interest in one or more pieces of literature that they have read before. It is a great misconception that the English EE is the simplest out of the broad range of four thousand word essays that you can choose from. Though writing the essay at home is perhaps a lot more comfortable than collecting results in the laboratory, developing a convincing argument which comprehensively addresses the research question is no stroll in the park. Arguably, scoring points in the General Assessment Criteria, which constitutes 24 out of 36 marks of your EE grade, is tougher for English EEs than it is for Science EEs. However, this should not deter you if you do indeed have immense interest in the works from likes of Achebe, Naipaul, Gaiman, Tolkien or even Wilfred Owen. 2. FIVE MOST VITAL SURVITOR TIPS TO IB ENGLISH A1 EE: 1. Choose a piece(s) of literature you are truly interested in 2. Re-read x999999999999999999 3. Pick out an interesting feature from the literature(s) that you wish to further develop as your research area (you may already have chosen this when you picked your literature) 4. Construct a research question, discuss feasibility with mentor and make further changes if needed 5. Do not be afraid to re-write your entire essay 3. THE ONE THING TO LOOK OUT FOR IB ENGLISH A1 EE: Do not be overly ambitious and aim to cover too much ground on your selected piece(s) of literature. Keep your research question highly specific and relevant. 4. IF I COULD TURN BACK TIME, I would HAVE CAREFULLY CONSTRUCTED MY RESEARCH QUESTION IN THE FIRST PLACE INSTEAD OF HAVING TO RE-MODEL IT OVER AND OVER AGAIN, WASTING TIME AND EFFORT IN THE PROCESS to improve my English EE grade.

Yi Yang’s flair in the English Language has always been underrated and he is sure that his EE score will prove detractors wrong.

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Extended Essay in Geography by Tzen Chia 1. What do I feel about IB Geography Extended Essay: Like all extended essays, it’s a great way to really discover and learn more about something that you’ve a great interest for. So pick something that you really enjoy, it helps you create awareness of your surroundings and relationships. Like geography, a lot of it is relatable to our current issues and our lives and practically anything can fall be put into geographical terms. 2. FIVE MOST VITAL SURVIVOR TIPS to IB Geography Extended Essay: 1. Contact A Person to Interview As Soon As Possible (Primary Data is Important) 2. Collect ALL Internet Websites and match them to Relevant Data for easy cross referencing. 3. Geography Textbooks & Singapore Statistics are always good sources of references 4. Start your surveys/questionnaires asap too. 5. Get a good approach to your topic,eg.Geography Fieldwork Techniques. 3. The ONE thing to look out for in IB Geography Extended Essay is your Geographical Methods Used. 4. If I could turn back time, I would have started much earlier with everything to improve my grade in IB Geography Extended Essay.

Tzen took up EE in Geography because she needed some air-time in a subject that is not science related and is proud of her decision to do so.

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Extended Essay in History by Chia Han Sheng 1. What do I feel about IB History EE: Doesn’t believe that you have to take history HL or history ‘O’ levels to do the subject for EE. Prerequisites are superlative intelligence, a love for the subject and the ability to clearly explain why Mussolini was a tart in 200 words. If you have no idea what the above two lines are about, history EE is not for you. 2. Five most vital survivor Tips to IB History EE: 1. Picking the right research question is of utmost importance. Make sure your question has avenue for critical analysis and not just plain narration. 2. If you’re a first time history student like me, it’s advisable to pick a topic that’s covered in the syllabus. 3. Once you’ve finished all your research and done the essay outline, it is possible to cover 4000 words in three days, so don’t dilly dally thinking that it takes forever. Also, the hardest part is formulating a good research question, and this would probably take a few weeks to months unless you’re well versed in the subject. So start early and confirm your question latest by August. 4. The national library at Bras Basah is probably better than you think. The South East Asian level has walls that change colour. It might be helpful to search the online catalogue before going down so that you don’t waste time looking for books once you’re there. Bring a sweater and a trusty friend along. 5. Exercise supreme wit and charm to develop good working relationships with your mentor. If your mentor does not come to you, draw up your own timeline and go to him/her. 3. The One thing to look out for in IB History EE: Misinterpreting the question. 4. If I could turn back time, I would begin my writing earlier so as to submit more drafts and improve my grade in IB History EE.

Han Sheng has never taken history prior to IB before. He continues to defy odds by doing well in examinations. The significance of this leaves to be analyzed.

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Extended Essay in Science by Stephanie Saw 1. What do I feel about Biology EE: There are so many interesting topics to explore which findings can be related to your everyday life! You’ll be amazed by the importance/application of your results, even when using an extremely simple methodology (provided of course, you have a good topic). 2. Five most important survival tips to IB Biology EE: 1. Choose your topic properly. Do adequate research beforehand, ensure you have access to the required resources and your project results have application value 2. Begin experimentation early. It is likely that you will have to repeat your experiment many times, modifying it along the way so spread out your stress levels by giving yourself more time 3. Try to get hold of a good Biology EE sample and take note of what is required in the content 4. If you can complete your EE on time, submit it for competitions like SSEF. If you get short listed as a finalist, the judges’ comments can help you improve your project (methodology etc) and it will look good on your EE report as well. 5. Do step (d) only if you have completed your EE early, at least before the end of Year 5, and are fairly confident. If not, just focus on EE itself and don’t subject yourself to more stress! Remember you have plenty of deadlines in Year 6 Term 1, and the competitions are an additional commitment/stress factor. 3. The one thing to look out for in IB Biology EE It might be hard to think of a topic from scratch. So listen during your Biology lessons to get inspiration from your coursework and do your own reading up (not from textbooks only!). Remember you don’t need a cheem topic to do well; in fact IB likes simplicity :) 4. If I could turn back time, I would do more extensive research to learn more about my area of study so as to devise a better methodology to improve my grade in IB Biology EE.

Stephanie’s Biology EE has gone on to represent the school in a national competition. I would think a 36/36 is in order.

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Theory of Knowledge by Koh Tiang Peng 1. What do I feel about IB Theory of Knowledge: Theory of Knowledge lessons may seem like a free period, but that term only applies to the relaxed atmosphere of discussion. Admittedly there are times where the cyclic arguments thrown around in class can be frustrating but it is the spirit of learning from peers that really struck me about TOK. I started out as a very bad student of TOK because I could not understand that the demand of this subject is not about answers, it is about questions. If you feel disillusioned about this subject, do not be! Treat it as a chance to help you think critically, rather than a breeding ground for cynical thoughts. 2. Five most vital survival tips to IB Theory of Knowledge: 1. Accept criticism. If you keep thinking you are right, chances are you will never improve the level of perspectives you might gain from a topic. 2. Ask for help. Your teacher is not allowed to help you much in your assessments; your friends will help you bump up your marks. Do ask for your friends’ opinions and seek to constantly improve by their advice. 3. Treasure any examples. Examples are very crucial to arguments because they can help strengthen a stand. Jot down any examples brought forward in class, no matter how absurd they may seem, like the example of the Charging Rhino. 4. Do not go for the over-done topics. Be it essay or presentation, you will find yourself tempted to choose the easy topics because they are hot in the news. You will regret once you have to work on the same topic many times over. 5. Be anal-rententive. Go through every argument and every anti-argument until your teacher does not want to read your essay anymore, for fear of death by nagging. 3. The ONE thing to look out for in IB Theory of Knowledge: The Rubrics. At the end of the day, no matter how creative or compelling your argument is, if they do not fulfill the rubrics, you do not score. 4. If I could turn back time, I would have chosen my essay topic earlier, to avoid subsequent panic.

Tiang Peng had the nerve to challenge the nature of the textbooks we read in Singapore in his Theory of Knowledge Presentation and was duly rewarded.

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Theory of Knowledge by Matthew Lee 1. What do I feel about IB Theory of Knowledge: Thinking about thinking. It really is a unique experience that you wouldn’t get in the A Level system, KI or not. If nothing else, it is a wonderful break from some of the tedium of ultra long lessons, a chance for group discussion and interaction on a much more human level. Don’t be fooled by the Theory in TOK, it is anything but theory. Where everything else is black and white, this is the chance to waddle in the grey areas, and give your grey matter a good work out. 2. FIVE MOST VITAL SURVIVOR TIPS to IB THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE: 1. Do your essay as early possible 2. Don’t leave your oral presentation till the last minute 3. Regardless of points 1 and 2 above, don’t let the deadlines stress you out too much. Thinking is really an enjoyable and surreal experience. 4. Have confidence. There is no such thing as right or wrong thinking. Just be yourself. 5. Question the norms. Question the system. Question. You learn more from questions than answers. 3. The ONE thing to look out for in IB Theory of Knowledge: Just the opportunity to think out of the box and push the boundaries; to be yourself. 4. If I could turn back time, I would have finished my essay earlier and done a second draft.

The fact that Matthew is always handling educational forums is a testament to his critical thinking ability.

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Creativity by Alastair Su A Reflection: The creativity component in IB encompasses many things, and it is actually the flexibility of the word which one must take advantage of. Out of the three components, creativity is the one component that encourages the most fun, so your creativity projects never feel like a chore. If they do, then you’ve missed the point! It is highly recommended that you do something completely out of character. For example, if you are a male chauvinist-type, team up with a group of girls and try embarking on a bake sale, and see how that goes. Not only do you pick up some baking skills which will come in handy much later in life, but doing so will also give you some precious insights into the minds of women (of course, reserve these insights from your AEF form). If you’ve always envied your friend at his awesome guitar playing skills, envy no him no more – use this as a CAS opportunity to send yourself for some guitar lessons. Not only will this help you pick up some music skills which you’ve never been motivated enough to do yourself, but now this becomes part of your official curriculum time. So the list goes on. It would entirely pointless for me to try and give a detailed list of what creativity is about, for as the name implies, it is really entirely up to you to see what creativity means for yourself. Just as long as it does not involve anything completely ridiculous, then you should be fine. Here’s a great tip to keep in mind though. Creativity, like a spice, is best when it is combined with another CAS component (that is Action or Service). For example, for Creativity and Action put together can give you an opportunity to take on a new sport that you’ve never tried before. Always been wanting to improve your skills on the pool table? Now you have the chance. Then Creativity and Service – why should service just be limited to just doing conventional work at a home? Not to say this work is not important; far from it actually, but by combining your service with creativity, this gives you room to do something like performing children’s skits at local children’s homes just to bless the children and give something with a moral message. The fact is, this is creativity. Don’t follow existing moulds. Don’t jump onto the bandwagons of your friends. If you do, you defeat the entire purpose of it. Test yourself, stretch yourself, I’m sure within you you’ve always had dreams and ideas you wished to fulfil, so now’s your chance! Utilize the flexibility of the word “creativity” and incorporate your ideas into CAS, translating it into something that you can do regularly and meaningfully. The onus is truly on you for what you want to do.

Alastair re-defines creativity. When he was in year 4, he took up harmonica lessons – way before any CAS needed to be done. Today, it is hard to associate that instrument with anyone else.

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Creativity by Peter Then Fulfilling your creativity hours The main source of creativity hours for CAS can be tapped from various involvements which need not consume much involvement and can be spread throughout several weeks. For example, community service in designing a wall in a public hospital can earn you all components of CAS, with at least 10 hours of creativity depending on the scale and the length of the project. A production of teaching video for cancer children to keep them with a source of interactive leaning, could also earn a considerable amount of at least 10 hours of creativity. Basically the source of creativity hours comes from activities related to design, art, and your ability to make a charity project to be more creative and dynamic. For example, by being a volunteer in teaching an orphanage in art and craft classes, where the production of these children can be sold for charity. Another possible earning for creativity hour could also come from long term project such as helping to publicize charity events that are being planned in the school. The benefit of focusing your CAS around the creativity hours is that it allows you to easily outsource the action and service hours which comes automatically as you brainstorm around your attempt to produce a creative event directed at charity and community service. Participation in costume designing, art or music competition can also be used as source of creativity hour as long as the prize gained is directed for charity. However, there is a catch; creativity hour can only be claimed for activities which are constantly reviewed or under constant change. Thus, constant rehearsals do not count as creativity hour as it does not involve real use of your actual creative brainpower as it went autopilot. Just a reminder that you should keep in touch with your CAS hours and cover them constantly and plan to cover a majority of them in the first year, thus at least the spillover towards second year only need to be a completion hours. This way, you're saving yourself from the excruciating pain or juggling the various datelines eventually integrating yourself into CAS ( a.k.a. Casualty Assistance Students).

Peter’s enthusiasm for the arts has made the clocking of his Creativity hours more of a joy than a chore. Notice that he is always smiling!

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Action by Bose Chan A Reflection I would like to share my experience on how to garner as much Action as possible. Since secondary school in ACS (Independent) I’ve been a hardcore canoeist and dragon-boater. It’s a sport I love and still miss very much. Much like recent movie 300, you can see all the buff strong men in action screaming with bloodlust, paddling water till it bubbled white with rage. Being in a race provides anyone with all adrenaline and action you can ask for. However my race ended as I got injured. Since I entered IB, I thought why not try a new water sport? I joined sailing, quite a newbie with absolutely no idea what it was like. Compared to a good friend who is the 2007 Asian games gold medalist and with a really strict coach, it was really tough and humbling. But the lessons I took out of sailing were bountiful and enriching; I learnt the ways of a sailor, entered my first competition within 7 trainings on a Laser after the introduction on the Pico, and well I got owned. However with much more time spent on the water, I entered the nationals in my first year and still got owned, just not that badly. Best of all, I got loads of fun and action hours learning such an enjoyable sport. My advice is to try new things, join a new sport as you never know what else you may learn and get other than just a lot of action out of it. I say I am very proud to experience all these sports before, something memorable to share with other people. As such, do take up a new sport if you can for Action!

As a sailor, Bose as shown that it is possible to change sport at an ‘old’ age. All you need is enthusiasm!

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Action by John Loh A Reflection: For most of us, the action component of CAS is the most easily fulfilled. You need not be some megasportsman who trains everyday to fulfill these 50 hours, in fact if you were some mega-sportsman who trains everyday you’d fulfill the 50 hours in less than 3 weeks. That said, you could approach the action component in one of two ways, either join a sport for one season to clock up those hours, or join many activities and clock bits from here and there. I did the latter because as an ex-sportsman I found it meaningless to compete for the sake of CAS. Sadly, many of us regard action to be anything that’s not creativity or service, which leads to many of us having an abundance of action hours for not-so-action-packed activities such as executing an event you planned. In these CAS-ful events that offer Creativity, Action and Service, try to convince your teachers to give you as many C and S points as possible, as these are the hardest to get, somehow or another, you’ll end up with the action hours you didn’t ask for, and very few of the creativity and service you need so badly. Well after all that, counting CAS spoils your life and is really against the aims of CAS for “a willingness to inquire and an enjoyment of discovery” and “autonomy and self-reliance”. Please don’t run spend your life with your CAS-file glued to your face and pencil stuck behind the ear, it will just kill the meaning of CAS. Find an activity you’re interested in but never done before, find like-minded people, find a nice teacher who is willing to supervise you, then go and do something meaningful like learning a new sport such as canoeing, dragon-boating, recreational tennis, touch rugby, sailing, akido, rock-climbing and Frisbee. Heck, try everything!

John is a living example of ‘heck, try everything!’ This is shown by the fact that he is a recreational tennis player, a school photographer, a drummer of a local band and a swimmer for his house.

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Service by Cheryl Sim A Reflection: Coming from another secondary school, where the minimum requirement for Service Learning clocked would be 13 hours, CAS spelt impending doom and dread as its formidable “AT LEAST 150 HOURS, OR ELSE NO DIPLOMA(!!!)” screamed out at me. How am I supposed to devote my life to CAS, while maintaining my superior juggling act of other core subjects, coupled with TOK + EE + IOP + IA!? It seemed almost insurmountable, this crazy feat. However, (I swear I’m not paid to say this) CAS has really become the backbone of my growth as a person in the IB. In fact, I can’t imagine character development without CAS. And, well, while it may be tempting initially to clock 15 hours for some inane activity like, gluing angpows together, once you keep your eyes peeled for a meaningful activity, you will find the hours piling up effortlessly. 5 Most Vital Survival Tips: 1. Source for a worthy cause, not because of the hours, but because you really feel it is worthwhile to devote a significant portion of your time to serving it. I mean, we talking about 150 hours away from doing your EE here! :-O 2. Be committed when you’re down, especially when it’s a collaborative effort with an outside organization (such as SDSC), as you’re the name-bearer of the school and, well, you always wish to uphold our good reputation. 3. Start your CAS search early, and not wait till the last few months. Try to clear your hours as early as possible, so when the whole world is fretting, you can kick back, relax and enjoy the drama. 4. Update your CAS logs regularly!!! It’s something tiresome and bothersome and oh-so-tedious, but do it! Or else you would have this major backlog that everyone experiences due to accumulated sloth. 5. Try to do a few big worthwhile projects, instead of doing 25 small, meaningless, forgettable projects which does not add on to your character development though you spend the same amount of time on it. Read above TIP #4 repeatedly until it is permanently engraved in your mind. If I could change things, I would do regular updates of CAS logs instead of wasting time on MSN.

Cheryl has spearheaded many Council-fronted CAS Projects that the school participated in, such as Cranes to Grains as well as helping the Singapore Special Olympics Sailing Team.

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Service by Justin Low A Reflection: 50 SERVICE HOURS? You might think that it’s quite a daunting task to claim so many hours, as it would mean sacrificing a lot of time to go out of the way to fulfill this requirement. Well, that’s exactly what the Service section in CAS requires IB students to do – engaging in activities that usually benefit parts of society. This actually adds variety and meaning to the whole IB programme because it ensures that you don’t just read your books and study only – you have to be involved in services so that it contributes to the allroundedness of your 2-year education. Service activities that qualify for service hours are usually held outside school hours, and most often they should be activities that contribute towards society, such as helping out in a home for the disabled. Thus, the Service section aims to imbue in IB students the value of service and what it means to go out of the way to take part in this service. What then are some activities that would qualify for service hours? As mentioned above, activities such as taking part in overseas community service, or even spending an afternoon helping out in a school activity. In order to meet the requirement of 50 hours, it is advisable to take part in a long-term activity that requires continual attendance. For example, the 1st Student Council organized a CAS activity, which involved going to Changi Sailing Club in the afternoon over a period of time to assist disabled sailors. This way, every visit counts towards the total number of hours, and in no time you’ll be crossing that barrier. Students should try to involve themselves in not just one but a few long-term activities, because taking part in a wide range of services will not just get you the hours, but you’ll also pick up valuable insights and learn good qualities that add so much more value to your IB experience. So don’t dread at the thought of having need to go through so much trouble, look forward to taking part in these services and expect to get something of them!

Justin volunteered to help lead others in CAS projects even when he no longer required clocking service hours and this really shows his heart for service.

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A Final Checklist of 20 Things to gauge if You are living the IB Dream: 1. You start looking for any signs around you that remotely resembles the number 45. 2. You laugh at JC friends who complain about having to write a thousand-word essay. 3. You cry harder when your JC friends cry about having to stay back till 5. 4. You run away from these three letters and their powers combined: A, E, F. 5. You refer to Descartes, Aristotle and Kant as if they were your members of your class. 6. You fall out with a friend over the chicken or egg argument. 7. You buy cassette tapes in the 21st century. 8. You question the concepts that make up the word ‘weekend’. 9. Your family tours Johor Bahru for a two day trip without you. 10. Your MSN mass conversations are about whether you should plot Speed as the Y-axis or not. 11. You are ecstatic about a 2 minute toilet break from lessons. 12. You read King Lear in the toilet. 13. You mouth your TOK Presentation while bathing. 14. You never look at the colour that is purple the same way again. 15. You look forward to the long Chinese New Year break because you can finish up your science practicals. 16. You figured out a concise 20 second explanation about what the IBDP is about, just in case someone asked (again). 17. You distrust the word ‘mock’. 18. You have tried kopi-o-kosong, with ice and hopes in abundance. 19. You roughly know what a thousand words, Arial 11, double-spaced looks like. 20. You once regret saying ‘there’s plenty of time left.’ -END-

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Cover-page Design by Kenneth Tay

A 1st Student Council Production 40

Draft 1.6

Appendix 2 – Easiest Subject Combination in ACSi19 Author’s Note: The post and its associated comments are reproduced below with some alterations to grammar and spelling, and omissions to certain names to protect the innocent.

Oct 12th, 2007 by jjspeaks The Summary Performance sheet based on our Prelim results are rather interesting. I noticed in particular that Bio SL MSG is 6.27, while Chem SL is 4.84 Physics SL is 4.88 (moral of the story: bio SL rocks). The Chem HL MSG (5.52) is also higher than the Chem SL MSG. Would be funny if this sheet was released to Year 4 Pre-IB student so that they can look at the various MSGs and pick the easiest combi, which is exactly what i’ve been trying to do. Lets say that an IB Year 6 Science Student named Average Joe always scores the average mark (and thus also scored the MSG) for all the subjects he takes. Let’s then assume that Average Joe was a sciency-dude, and that he took Math Chem Physics at HL and English Chinese Econs at SL. He would score:

[5.30 + 5.52 + 5.75 + 5.20 + 6.94 + 5.79] = 34.5 points

If sciency-Average Joe took Math Chem Bio at HL and English Chinese History at SL, he would score:

[5.30 + 5.52 + 5.90 + 5.20 + 6.94 + 6.17] = 35.03 points

In an alternate reality, let’s put Joe on the opposite end of the spectrum and assume that he was a IMBA Human.s God and took English B;M Econs at HL and Math Chinese Physics at SL. He would score:

[5.29 + 5.38 + 5.30 + 5.49 + 6.94 + 4.88] = 33.28 points

If this version of Joe took English History Geog at HL and Math Chinese Bio at SL, he would score:

[5.29 + 6.26 + 6.00 + 5.49 + 6.94 + 6.27] = 36.25 points

That’s really quite a big diff. 36.25 from that humanities combination already exceeds Dr Ong’s expectations. However, the poor B;M and econs version of average Joe scored 3 points less from his humanities combination. In contrast, changing subjects for a science based subject combination doesn’t seem to have that much of an effect on overall points (the above difference is only 0.5). Interesting, no? Anyway, so what’s the easiest subject combination you could take in ACS(I) (IB)? Well people, my “extensive” research has discovered that if you’re aiming to do well in IB, mainstream or 19

http://jjspeaks.wordpress.com/2007/10/12/easiest-subject-combi-in-acs-i-ib/

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extreme combinations like those above are not the way to go! The secret to scoring well is taking 3 languages! Following IB restrictions, subject requirements and the subjects that our school offers, and assuming that we take English A1, the best possible combination that i could come up with was: • English A1 HL • Chinese B HL • History HL • Hindi/Tamil B SL • Mathematical Studies SL • Biology SL Which for give an average student in each subject a score of:

[5.29 + 7 + 6.26 + 7 + 6 + 6.27] = 37.82

Although i highly doubt somebody could be able to do Chinese B and Hindi B simultaneously. One could, however, do an Ab-Initio. Replacing Hindi B SL with Malay ab initio, you would score:

[5.29 + 7 + 6.26 + 7 + 6 + 6.27] = 37.02

The average student doing these subjects would thus score 37 points. Which is one point less than Oxbridge’s stipulated entrance requirements (on their website) which includes bonus points. It’s not all that crazy a combination, i know that there are some people doing it in our school. So sec4s, if you want to study and average amount, score one bonus point and technically qualify for some humans/language course in Oxbridge, take this combination.

POST COMMENTS 1. sinisterdexterity - 12 Oct 2007 at 7:17 pm

Wahrau, you forgot the effect of bonus points. 3 more points, you know. But that’s not so relevant to your argument, I guess. The first relevant thing would be the effect of time in several ways. 1) There are certain timeconsuming subject combinations. (’Nuff said.) 2) ‘Average Joe’ might not be able to get a

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timetable for some combinations. 3) You can imagine doing two languages after school and thus frying your brains. The fascinating thing is synergy though. Looking at the situation class by class, the MSG is pulled down by students taking non-synergistic subjects and students taking subjects they had little choice but to take (and hated). So the second thing you forgot is that some subjects look bad because they are full of people lacking the requisite skills and/or related interests and ambitions. And the third thing is that the teacher/student relationship can bias some outcomes… Those are just three problems with your otherwise very interesting and relevant analysis. *grin* 2. becktan - 12 Oct 2007 at 9:33 pm

Well, the underlying assumption is that you have to be good at the language. I only know one person who does 3 languages and got 7 for 2 of them and a 6 for English. And honestly, you have to factor in other things like the number of candidates, the bell curve etc. If you were to look at the Geog class size, it is one of the smallest classes and has one of the bandings for grades. Also, it requires tonnes of mugging (So NEVER EVER EVER do History and Geog, and both subjects are on the same day for the IB exams too). 3. tp - 15 Oct 2007 at 11:47 am

eh history hl is not easy, the history cohort is merely brilliant

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