In 2021, DP2 IB students are in a unique position. With much of their IB education held online, preparing for exams this year may be a little different to the way it’s been done in the past. As a result, this blog will explore our top five tips to making sure you prepare for May 2021 IB exams as well as possible!

1. Check the Syllabus

Countless students have had their learning cut short throughout 2020 and 2021 due to obvious reasons. What has resulted is many IB students are left with gaps in knowledge within certain subjects or topics, as online teaching sometimes just isn’t as effective as face-to-face classes. Come final exams, it is your responsibility to know what you have, and what you have not, covered. Remember, at the end of the day, despite all the hardships and the battles you’ve had to face over the last 2 years, that the grade you end up with is in your own hands. Pick up the syllabus and comb through it with a fine-toothed comb making sure that there are no topics you will be asked about that you have not covered.

2. Check the Changes to Exams

Watch out, though! By going through the syllabus you may be studying content that isn’t going to be tested anymore. Remember that in May 2021, as a result of the conditions that students have had during their IB journey, many papers are cut from the final exams. As a result, there are chunks of the syllabus that have largely been wiped out in numerous subjects.

Take the time today to read through the changes to the exams, which you can find here, making sure that you understand which topics will be asked about, and which won’t! We don’t want you spending hours and hours studying topics that you don’t need to know!

3. Switch Up Studying Techniques

One of the biggest misconceptions students have going into exam season is that you study best by finding one study routine, study technique, study soundtrack, etc. that works best for you. In fact, your brain works best and remembers best when it is exposed to new information and new experiences. As a result, sitting at the same desk, using the same study technique (eg. flashcards, study guides), or listening to the same music day in and day out will make all the information blur together!

Instead, we recommend switching up your study techniques day-to-day, and class-to-class. If you have the possibility to, work from a few different places in your house, study at slightly different times, and find new study techniques that might work for you! To get some tips on some cool study techniques to check out, check out our ‘study skills guide’ on our free resources page!

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4. Simulate Mocks

Due to logistical difficulties, many schools are choosing not to hold mock exams this year. For many students the absence of these simulated tests means that they will enter their final exams without much of an idea of what sitting a number of papers in quick succession is like. Our advice: set up your own mock exams! Why not decide to take a past paper every evening for a week to understand how you work under difficult conditions. Putting yourself in an exam-like situation will give you the added bonus of feeling far less nervous in May, but will also help identify those particular topics or themes that you need to dedicate a bit more time to!

5. Keep Calm

Our final piece of advice is to maintain high levels of emotional care. This year has been incredibly difficult for IB students and it is thus so important to prioritise your mental wellbeing. Take those breaks when you need to; sleep as well as you can; and engage in activities that take your mind off work when you feel under pressure. The only way to avoid ‘burning out’ or ‘hitting the IB wall’ is to be patient with yourself and the progress you are making. Remember: you won’t be able to smash your exams if you are feeling too stressed about them!

So there we have it, our five tips on how to prepare for May 2021 IB exams! In this unprecedented period, we hope this post has given you some motivation to get going and revise hard for your finals. Remember: the smarter you prepare, the better you are going to feel when this is all over!

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