First Year IB Classes.....................What to expect

IB Blogger 2 01:45

Okay guys so I was supposed to be starting school tomorrow, but my teachers are on strike lol. I honestly wanted to keep everyone up to date as school goes on, and even while my teachers are striking I want to make sure that I do that. So I am going to list all the classes I took the first year of IB and tell you exactly what I had to go through for each class, as well as some tips on how to not make the same mistakes I did, and ace the class!

How about we start off with IB Chemistry 11 HL.

IB Chem 11 HL

I am going to tell you two words, and I am telling you this right now, these two words are the most important words in all of IB Chem HL. Richard Thornley. I repeat RICHARD THORNLEY. He is a teacher on YouTube that basically goes over everything that you will be learning in this class. He tells you what the IB is looking for, what they don't really focus on, the tricks they do, and pretty much everything. This guy hands down saved my life. I would have completely failed organic chem if it weren't for him. He explains everything to the peak. The best thing about his videos are the fact that they're not 10 minutes long, in IB you do not have time to be watching a 10 minute long video. When you are learning something from YouTube you usually pause anyways to make sure you understand what is going down, and take notes as well. With Richard Thornley his videos range on average from about 1 minute to 6 minutes, depending on the context. Honestly my goal is to one day meet this teacher and give him a high five and bow down to him, because if it wasn't for him I would be pretty lost in Chem. If I only found out about him during the bonding unit *sigh*, Here are some other tips on how to survive IB Chem HL.

Tip #1. Do your homework. I know a lot of the time teachers do not check and or care about your homework, but in this class its pretty essential to do it. Unless you are a genius I recommend doing practice sets until you are able to perfect what you're learning.

Tip #2. Ask you teacher for help. Do not be scared or intimidated by your teachers, this applies to teachers for all your classes. Honestly I made the mistake of not asking for help a lot, because I didn't want it to seem like I wasn't paying attention in class or for my teacher to think I was literally that stupid. Although I promise you that in the long run its better to understand what you are doing  before your teacher continues on to another section.

Tip #3. Pay attention at all times. I tend to space out a lot, especially when what my teacher is saying doesn't make much sense to me. Whenever I zone back in, I end up even more confused and it is not the best thing. Try to keep focused on what your teacher is saying and writing on the board.

IB English 11 HL

If you are truly into reading and writing, this will probably be not only your favorite class of the year, but one of your favorite classes throughout high school. In my case, this class was the easiest to handle and balance along with my other classes. I am not saying it was easy, you still have to put in a lot of effort in what you do, I am just saying that it was easy to handle, primarily because I enjoyed the class, and everything that we did and learned. If you are not so into English, focus on your strong spots when it comes to English. For me it is presentations. Presentations are everything to me, I have honestly never been that nervous presenting, unless I have no idea what I am doing. I used presentation skills as a way to show to my teacher that I understand the IB curriculum, and have analyzed whatever book, or poem that we went over in class. If you are gifted when it comes to interpreting poems, use that as an advantage, if you are talented at writing, use that. There is always something. Whether it is a project or an essay, if that is your strong spot, take advantage of that. For your first year do that and you'll be fine. Although it may be a little harder in your second year of IB, I haven't started yet, so I can't say much. All I know is that you should become a pro at deciphering novels, poems, etc.

IB French SL

Talking about this class actually makes me want to cry, because I could have easily done so well in it, if I just put in more effort. It wasn't until the third term when I realized, after seeing my grade, that maybe I was not trying my hardest. After I started studying, and practicing I began to ace every test and quiz, it all became so easy for me, and it annoyed me so much, because that could have been me the whole year -__-. If you know how to conjugate verbs, and all of that stuff like imparfait, condtionnel, you'll be okay, but I wouldn't say you'd do great. You cant just fly through french by just memorizing, nope that is not how it works in IB. In all language classes you have to be able to comprehend and write. You have to learn how to include challenging words into the passages you write, and you must be able to understand what the people are saying in the listening activities. This might sound weird but I recommend watching a lot of french movies, maybe finding some french tv shows, and also checking out some french songs. I wasn't able to find good french tv shows, but I did find some movies! Check out "The Intouchables," and "Heartbreaker." Not all french movies are old, those are just the ones your teacher will show you! As for music check out "Stromae" if you haven't already heard of him, he is great honestly! If you continue to listen to him all the time, it'll make understanding french a lot easier.

IB Theatre 11 HL

All I gotta say for this one is be energetic, and get involved. Do not just slack around in class, try as hard as you can to participate, and put in your all. Also do not be scared to take risks when you're acting. At first I was a little scared of doing anything out of my comfort zone, but honestly isn't that what acting is all about? Everyone will do equally as weird stuff as you, so trust me when I say no one will care if you have to scream in a scene or cry. Also make sure you only turn in good quality work. For instance if you are turning in a critique of a play, include every little detail of the play that you caught, and everything you learned from the play and what you personally think could have been done to make that play better. I really regret not putting my all in this class, but I've learned from my mistakes, and I will certainly be doing that this year. Don't make the same mistake I did.

IB Math SL

Before I came into this class, I would say I was good at math, pretty good at math if I say so myself *flips hair*. I walked in this class so arrogant that I honestly didn't even bother listening to my teacher for the first couple of months. This had to be the most idiotic thing that I did this year. Math is so important for me, and I did not work my hardest, I did not really focus too much on this class at all until the end when I realized how stupid I was to do that. Even after every bad test I continued to not focus thinking "Oh it was just a little mistake." As I continued to do poorly on tests it sort of made me become adjusted to doing incompetently, and I just continued to slack off because I  thought it was too late to improve. UGHH biggest regret ever. I completely lost my arrogance and just became humiliated, no one else seemed to be suffering too much, so it just made me feel worse. I went from being the best in my math class to easily one of the worst. DO NOT MAKE THIS MISTAKE. First of all walk into class with confidence not arrogance. You are clearly good at math if you're in IB math, but that doesn't mean you know everything, so listen to your teacher and do your homework. I used to think studying for math was pointless but its not, the last thing that is, is pointless. Study until you can not study any more, study until your heart tells you to stop. So deep right? I also recommenced sitting closer to the teacher and farther away from people you talk to all the time, it might not be fun, but it's the smartest decision in the long run.

TOK 11

I made the mistake of........the amount of times I said "I made the mistake of" in this blog post, might actually be uncountable. I made a lot of mistakes in my first year of IB, okay, which is the reason why I'm writing all of this, to stop you guys from making these same mistakes. Well I'll continue, I made the mistake of sleeping in a lot for TOK. See, in my case, and maybe yours too, your TOK class will be in the morning. I'd say there are not too many "Morning People" in this world so waking up anywhere from 5am to 6am is not going to be the most enjoyable thing to do. I slept in A LOT, sleeping has always been so important to me, and with all the homework I was getting sleeping early was not a strategical solution. So I decided so start taking naps when I'd get home from school that way I wouldn't be too tired waking up, because of the lack of sleep. As for the class, it might be hard to decipher the meaning of knowledge at 7am in the morning, but you'll eventually get the hang of it. Also make sure you work on your presentation skills, as they are a huge part of the class, you won't be receiving too much homework, besides projects, presentations, and the occasional essay here and there. As I said about English, try to be able to analyze what you are learning in class. TOK is all about thinking, you never have a wrong answer, as long as you are able to explain your reasoning.

IB Geography 11 HL

I saved this one for last. I do not even know how to start this. I thought at first it was just my class, but after doing some research I see it happens in almost every class. Be prepared for a lot of work. In IB I'd say its more studying than homework, but that does not apply to this class. This class is filled with case study, after case study, after case study, and it really just never ends. The good part about it though is that when you're studying for a test you won't have to study too much as long as you pay attention in class and make sure all of your case studies are done to perfection. When it comes to case studies, do not put it off. If you hold off a case study until the last minute, there is no way you are getting an A, let alone a high B regardless of how well you think you did on it. This has to be done gradually over time or don't expect a high grade. So take the time out of your homework schedule to work on your case study every day that week, and try to get a decent portion of it done daily. There's also the fact that there is a 0% chance that you'll sleep when you haven't started a case study until the day before. This class, despite the fact that it took away my soul, in my opinion has to be the class where you really learn so much, and become aware of how valuable IB really is. I don't think I could say I've ever learned as much as I did in this class. Every topic you learn about is quite interesting, and you will actually stay focused on what you are talking about in class. So the tests will not be as drastic. Keep in mind that the tests are all written, so learn how to explain every answer with examples, and other backup information to receive full points.

I hope this helps guys! I'll try and tell you all, what other classes that I didn't take will be like, according to what other students tell me. Stay tuned for more updates.

Peace. Love. IB.


The IB program can be intense, but it is definitely rewarding in the end. These are some great tips for students who are new to this sort of class. Good luck with the rest of your fall semester!

-Riley XO

Yeah you too! Are you in the IB program?

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