With your first year of IB coming to an end, over the last few weeks some of you may have found yourself staring longingly out the classroom window. With the sun making a few tentative appearances, turning the outdoors from drizzly grey to beautiful technicolour, this can only mean one thing. The summer holidays are nearly here!!!

Cat sunbathing

How we plan to spend our summer

This week at Lanterna we’ve been setting our sights forward to the glorious long vacation. Obviously, step 1 in the IB Summer Game Plan is to spend a good chunk of time daydreaming about all of the friends you’re going to catch up with, the Netflix series you’re going to binge your way through, and the hours you’re going to clock up in bed. But it’s also worth giving some thought to how you are going to ensure that all of your hard work from this past year isn’t wasted. I want to make sure that you won’t rock up to school in the autumn having forgotten everything! Here are three easy ideas to help you consolidate your first year of IB work over the summer. These are some simple suggestions so that you can start final year with your best foot forward!

1. Sort Yourself Out

Remember the pile of notes that has been accumulating in the corner of your bedroom for the past term? I know how it is – you’ve been far too busy to deal with it over the past few weeks…

Pile of paper

But soon, summer will arrive and your convenient excuse for slacking off will evaporate! Your first year of IB notes are going to be super important when it comes to revision for final exams. So it’ll really pay off if you make sure they’re all complete and in order while you have the time. Get some fun coloured ring binders, open the windows, blast out some summer tunes and spend a day getting organised. We promise you’ll feel very smug and virtuous when you’re done!

2. Tackle your Demons

Set yourself the goal that when you return to school after the summer holidays, there will be no topic from your first year that you are still worried about or don’t understand.

Summer is the perfect time to recap the content that you found most difficult. You are able to go through it at your own pace, without a million other school tasks draining your mental energy! For each subject, make a list of focus areas, then have a think about how you can go about confronting them. If you’re grumbling to yourself ‘if I didn’t understand it in class, what chance do I have when it’s just me and my textbook?’, consider this: you now have time to dip into all of the great study resources you didn’t have time to try during term. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking:

a) Watch a Youtube video

Have you ever sat in a maths class and remained completely mystified after the lesson has ended? Youtube videos could be the answer to your woes! The best thing about them? You can press PAUSE and REWIND as many times you like! No more feeling like you can’t ask your teacher to explain binomial distribution for a third time!

Check out all of our free IB videos HERE! There are plenty more maths videos like the one above, and we also have online courses in economics, biology, chemistry and physics. For those of you who study history, psychology or theatre studies, CrashCourse is another good YouTube resource. Topics range from the Cold War to Bertolt Brecht. They’re also presented in a fun way that will make you want to watch more – seriously!

b) Listen to a podcast

Podcasts are a brilliant way to learn as you go about your daily life! Whenever you know you’ve got to take a train, or have a long car journey in the near future, make sure you’ve got a bunch of podcasts loaded onto your phone to make the time fly by in a useful way. With a bit of Googling you can usually find a podcast about almost any IB topic of your choice. Many of them are created by IB teachers looking to offer their students another way to learn. Mr Allsop’s History Podcast is great, as is the Open University’s series on DNA, RNA and protein formation for biology. For more useful podcast recommendations, take a look at this blog HERE!

c) Read a blog

The same is also true of blogs. Loads of IB teachers worldwide have created online platforms to share their knowledge with students. They are a treasure trove of case studies, clear explanations, and links to useful content, particularly for Group 3 Subjects. Take a peek at GreenfieldGeography, IBEconomist and Rudbeck IB History Revision to get a sense of what is out there.

3. Give your Notes some TLC

All of the resources above can be used to go back and fill in any gaps in the notes you took throughout the year. The day that you slept through chemistry and missed out on the wonders of acid-base theory might not have seemed a big deal at the time. But when you come to revise next year you’ll wish you’d not stayed up all night watching Game of Thrones! Start by looking at past paper questions for the topics you’ve covered so far, to give yourself a sense of whether your knowledge is exam-ready. If not, now is the time to go back to your notes and fill in the detail. Here are some things you could do to beef up your notes:

  • For history, start finding interesting historiography for each of the topics you’ve studied. Take a note of the historian’s name, publication date, and their opinion.
  • Flesh out your case studies for geography, and find examples that aren’t just the ones you studied in class. Note down facts and figures for each case study to quote in the exam and show that you really know your stuff.
  • For science subjects, take a look at the syllabus and check that your notes cover all of the key syllabus points properly.
  • Go through the texts you’ve studied for Language A and pick out useful quotes to answer past paper questions. Write them all down in a ‘quotes bank’.
  • For Language B, start putting together a bank of idiomatic phrases and useful vocabulary to expand your range and boost your marks.

I hope that these easy suggestions will help you have a fun yet productive summer! Whilst it’s really important to use the summer break as time for regaining your energy, do consider using some time to make sure you’re feeling confident for your final year. Even if you only spend a couple of hours each week wrapping up your first year of IB work, you’ll thank yourself in the future! 

Watch IB Subject Specific Videos Here!

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