It’s time to plan for the year ahead. If you’re a DP1, you’re probably excited to start and confused about CAS. If you’re a DP2, CAS probably still puzzles you, and you regret not revising more in the summer. Regardless of your year, the thought of planning the year most likely crossed your mind. But how do you go about it? There are so many variables to consider that it can quickly feel overwhelming. To help you out, I sat down and thought about how I would have done it—having passed the IB myself and tutored for hundreds of hours since I started seeing the patterns of habits and plans leading to success. To begin, I’ll share what I did.
What I Did for the Year Ahead (Spoiler: Not What You Should Do)
If there’s one thing I should have done differently during my time in the IB, it’s planning. While I got a few things right, I think it is most interesting if we first cover what I did wrong. Call me a pessimist.
The best way to get the most out of the year, I thought, was to dedicate weeks in a month to specific subjects. For November, for example, I put week one to chemistry, week two to maths, etc. The idea was to fully immerse myself in a subject and learn it well. The problem was that it was the perfect excuse to procrastinate, as I always had the next day to do it. This way of scheduling what to revise is also subpar, as it tries to anticipate what you will need to revise. A much more reliable method of planning your revision is to plan retrospectively.
What I Wish I Had Done Earlier for the Year Ahead
I eventually figured out that it is much easier to plan retrospectively. I have already briefly covered how to do that in this post. A quick recap of how it works goes like this: once you have written out all of your sub-topics, you colour-code them according to how well you know them. Now, instead of choosing what you revise ahead of time, you make that decision on the day. Choose the subjects you have categorised as the most difficult and those you haven’t done in the longest time. Perhaps the most significant advantage of this method is keeping track of what you know.
So, the takeaway is… don’t plan? Well, not quite. However, in terms of revision, it is more useful to build a daily habit revising. Then you can decide what to revise on the day (using the above system) rather than planning what you revise in advance. This does not mean that there isn’t anything you can do in advance, though!
Don’t Lose Track of Your Other Activities
There is more to the IB than just subject-revision! Scope out what lies ahead of you in terms of the EE & IA’s (by the way, do yourself a favour and start writing down ideas). It can be hard to know how your teachers have scheduled those projects. So, simply ask them when they expect you to start working on those projects! Knowing what the year ahead has in store will help gauge which months will be particularly intense.
If you’re a DP1, I recommend that you try to figure out what your CAS project should be now. It will be such a stress reliever to have that behind you. In terms of CAS, it is also just best to make a habit of writing reflections on a particular day of the week so you don’t forget.
This blog post is, of course, general in nature and not tailored to your situation. The hope is that you can adapt these tips to fit you! I recommend our tuition service if you struggle to see how you will manage the year ahead. Our expert tutors have experienced something similar and know how to guide students through uncertainty.