Designing the Perfect IB Study Session

Girl studying at coffee table

Believe it or not, studying on the IB doesn’t have to be awful. Today, I’ll show you some of my personal top tips to make that long, tough, late-night study session a bit more bearable – possibly even enjoyable 🙂


Find the right study playlist.

A top playlist can make the difference between a horrendous, stressful study session, and finding your flow state. As a general rule, you want to avoid songs with lyrics. Your brain will automatically tune in to the words, distracting you from the task at hand.

There are plenty of great study playlists from all around the world on YouTube for free – these are tried and tested, and there’s something for everyone. Take a look at my personal favourite by clicking here! (Link to YouTube)

I personally find, however, that classical and foreign-language music are also well suited to a productive learning session. Keep those brain waves pumping for longer!

You should take a look at this post for a more in-depth look at music for studying.

How long should my study session be?

Time is arguably the most important factor in making a study session successful – particularly on the IB! There’s a lot of content, so if it’s too short, you won’t learn enough. If it’s too long, you could get burnout, and the knowledge won’t actually be absorbed.

In truth, it’s a case of experimenting with different lengths for your evenings studying. You might need more frequent breaks to keep focused, or you might prefer to do one, continuous stint. Try it out!

A great place to start is with the Pomodoro Technique – this is a balanced approach to start with, with millions of people having deciding it works for them. The strategy is to do 25 minutes of intense-focused work, followed by a 5 minute break. Repeat as many of these 30-minute cycles as you see fit!

I’ve found that the break, even though it’s short, is an absolute essential to keeping a high level of focus over the longest time possible. Remember: Don’t spend all night studying. Breaks and sleep have got to remain a priority, otherwise everything you’ve learned won’t solidify as knowledge!


Where should I study?

Environment is also key. Study sessions at the same time every day, in the same place, will quickly become stale, and less conducive to absorbing knowledge. Switch it up!

I personally enjoy heading to Starbucks for at least one study session a week. It’s a chill place, where I can look out the window for inspiration – not to mention the endless supply of coffee!

If there’s not a coffee shop near you, how about trying studying at the kitchen table downstairs? Or, if you’re doing some reading, going outside in the sunshine can be a refreshing option. Believe it or not, IB students are actually allowed to see the sun!


Bonus Tip: Form a Study Group!

Study sessions can be boring and tedious, but you don’t have to suffer alone! Try to find other students in the same boat, and then you can get through it together – a problem shared is a problem halved, as they say.


Go forth and prosper!

So, I hope that one or two of the above guidelines can help to make that next study session an overall better experience. If, however, you’re really struggling, then it’s worth considering getting some extra help.

Lanterna offers personalised, online tuition in every subject, and guidance for every IB-related concern you might have. If this sounds like something that might help you out, check out our offering here.


Share article links