2016 has been a bit of a crazy year. Elections, referendums, Kardashian drama: we’ve had it all. Perhaps the craziest part of 2016, though, is that by ending, it means first year IB students (I’m talking to you class of 2018) have already completed a whole sixth of their diploma. And perhaps now, as the Christmas break (slowly…) approaches, it’s probably a good time to think about how it’s going.

I find there are three different types of first year IB student at this point in the year:

  • There are those in denial. Everyone knows someone doing the IB, who just doesn’t quite realise they’re actually doing it. The kind of people who see CAS as something in the distant future and homework to be done at 1 o’clock in the morning. From personal experience, this is the kind of person who the second IB year hits like a ton of bricks.
  • Then the other side of the scale. The people who live and breathe the IB. They already have a fully planned Extended Essay and most of their CAS hours already sorted. The people who you think are guaranteed a 45, but you also worry might have a breakdown on the way.
  • And finally, there’s the inbetweeners. The majority of IB students who care about their work, sure, but don’t quite have a colour coded plan for the whole diploma. The kind of students who are going about their time just trying to get the work DONE.

While this is, obviously, not an inclusive study, it does show there’s no one way to do the IB. However, there are some things that can make the IB easier for EVERYONE. Things that help all kinds of first year IB students – from all areas of the IB stress scale.


Beating procrastination



Now I don’t believe any of you who say you don’t procrastinate. Whether it be on your phone, on the internet or any other means: everyone does it. But it’s also a seriously annoying thing. Hours just fly by on Snapchat when you’ve definitely got to be working.

So, how do you stop? To beat procrastinating, I think it’s best to fight fire with fire: use technology to get past it.

My personal favourite is Forest. Forest is a super fun way of getting you off your phone. With a slightly competitive edge, and some cute little trees, I swear by this app!

I also love Block Site. With its website blocker, it’s a harsh but effective way to kick your Buzzfeed habit.

If procrastination really is your demon – check out the section about beating it in our new Zine. There you’ll find a loads more fab app suggestions to help you get studying!


Planning like a boss

I feel like planning is universally a good thing. I mean, funnily enough, working simply to your internal stress meter doesn’t quite cut it for the IB. Instead, it helps to have a solid idea of your deadlines and goals because sadly, things like your extended essay don’t write themselves.


But planning is also tricky. Like learning actually how to prioritise can be difficult. I personally found prioritisation squares the MOST helpful thing to get me planning- especially in my first year. They look a bit like this:



As you can see- you work to categorise things in order of most to least important—helping you meet those homework deadlines. And let’s be honest, you’ve probably got a fair amount of homework deadlines to be met… If you are finding planning particularly difficult, definitely check out our blog post here, or read about it more in our Zine.


Learning to love note taking

Notes are perhaps the most beloved things to second year IB students. In fact, I know someone who cried because they left a folder of chemistry notes on the bus. I find, however, that first year students are a little less concerned with them. I promise you though: taking (good) notes in first year help you a million in second year. I genuinely was angry at first year note taking me when it came to revision. So it’s definitely worth upping your note taking game NOW!

If you are a bit stuck on how to take notes: check out the second section of our Zine. In it we run through everything you need for successful notes. Honestly- you’ll want to frame your notes if they end up looking this perfect.



Use the recourses available to you!

Here at Lanterna, we also have loads of stuff available for you. Obviously there’s me on this blog giving you my tricks of the trade, but, if you didn’t already know, we have a load more recourses available. Wall planners, study guides, model essays—pretty much anything you can think of!

Especially great for you first year IB lot is our brand new swanky Zine! Basically a rundown of all the key things to get the hang of this year, I’d say it’s pretty much compulsory reading! Get access to all this and more by signing up here.

And finally, if you’re thinking ahead to Summer, maybe think a little about the courses we offer. They’re a great way to actually get some work DONE this summer, but also super fun (I’ve been there y’all: I promise). Learn more here.

As ever- good luck my intrepid IBers. Go forth and succeed in your first year!

Watch our free study videos here!