Revision can be something IB students do very well and in advance OR can be left until the very last minute. Tim Williams, an OSC author and IB expert, has written a four-part series on what you can still do to prepare for the exams.
Magical Revision Tip 2. ‘Okay – now I know how much there is to do, how do I start doing it…?’
Feeling a bit overwhelmed by how much there is to do? There’s a way to get control, and still have a bit of a life.
Part 2: When do you get on with it?
This is the second evening’s work, now you know what you’ve got to do. What you really really don’t want to do is just start ploughing through the pile from start to end. You haven’t got time to do everything. But that’s okay, you don’t need to. You need to work out what you need to do and what you can do. Here it is, in five steps.
Before you start – look at your exam schedule. You don’t know it? Go print it out from the OSC website here.
First step. Print out a planner for the days between now and the day of your last exam. Print it with lots of space for each day, the more the better. Even better if you can divide each day into three sections (you’ll see why in a minute). OSC’s Final Countdown Planner will give you the months of April and May.
Second step. Believe me. You can probably work usefully in 80-minute sessions, and even better if you make that four bursts of 20 minutes with a few minutes break in between them (that was an easy step, no ?).
Third step. How many sessions can you work between now and the exams? Bitter experience suggests that if you do nothing else (like you’re on study leave, or it’s a weekend) you can do three useful sessions of revision a day; if you’re working, then maybe one session after school. But it’s not that easy because…
Fourth step. Look at that planner, and start crossing off when you won’t work – and be honest. Friday evening (I mean, really). Saturday morning. Dentist. Tests. Hopefully, little or no schoolwork anymore. Fill in the exams, and don’t pretend you’re going to do much in the afternoon after an exam. Consciously choose some times when you’re going to have a life – parties, sports, trips. Not too many – you’re in a crisis here. Count up how many sessions you have.
Fifth step. Find that list you wrote yesterday evening of what you need to know (if you’ve already lost it, maybe you should just give up now…) Start allocating topics to sessions available. You should know what your priorities are, what you need to spend time on.
TIP: It’s easier to keep concentrating if you do those 20-minute bursts on different subjects.
ANOTHER TIP: You’ll need to allocate more time early on for e.g. Language A, and more time later on for e.g. anthropology.
So now you know what you need to work on, and exactly when you’ll have to work on it. Don’t fool yourself – you know if you don’t do it during the session you allocated, you probably won’t do it as an extra session later. Get real. So the next post is about the five best things to do in those precious 20-minute bursts. Go get some sleep.
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Tim Williams began IB teaching more than 30 years ago as Head of Languages at International College Spain in Madrid, and has since taught English, TOK, Psychology and other subjects in diverse roles around the world. His broad-ranging experience as teacher, administrator, department head, senior examiner, examiner trainer, and workshop leader, positions him perfectly to provide real-world advice to IB students.