How the International Baccalaureate has Helped me in University – OurWarwick
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How the International Baccalaureate has Helped me in University

Isabel Quah
Isabel Quah | Language, Culture and Communication Contact Isabel

I recall the day when I officially decided to pursue the rigorous, hellish, social life sucking, sleep depriving monster that is known as the IB. With so many different curriculum structures and standardised tests that are designed to equip students for the very competitive academic environments of many of the worlds leading Universities, the ultimate decision was picking which one to pursue. Personally for me, as I studied at an international school in the Philippines throughout the duration of my secondary school years, which followed the American curriculum, I sat through two SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Tests) dates, as well as considered opting for AP (Advanced Placement) classes. Fortunately, the International Baccalaureate diploma program was also offered and tended to be the most popular amongst the students.

Not only is the program highly accredited and acknowledged as a substantial form of qualification for entering university, the IB has left me with countless skills and has overall shaped my mindset and attitude when it comes to academics and balancing life in general. With the six different class groups that compose the IB hexagon; the experimental sciences, social sciences, mathematics, arts and languages, students are granted the freedom to choose their standard and higher level courses, enabling individuals to customise their classes to an extent in terms of where their strengths and main areas of interest lie. This ultimately helps guide them when deciding what course of study they would continue in university. The ultimate goal of the IB is to shape each individual to be very well rounded and involved, not only in exceptional displays of academic excellence but also involvement in community service and extracurriculars, as seen in the CAS (creativity, action and service) point system. Speaking from experience, balancing sports, community service and the skills in the arts along with my academics really helped shape me as well as others who took the diploma programme into well rounded individuals, which is very important in the competitive society we currently live in, this is something I felt, put me at an advantage when I was applying to different universities.

As most of my strengths lie within the social sciences and humanities subjects, I took History, Psychology and English Language & Literature at a higher level, with Biology, Spanish and Mathematics at a standard level. The concepts and skills that I learned throughout the two years of each of these classes I now find very much applicable to some of my modules within my degree, especially for my research and culture, cognition and society modules.Theory of knowledge was another course within the diploma programme that I greatly enjoyed as it brought philosophical perspectives to real life situations and basically dissected and analysed deeper concepts of life and the world around us with regards to knowledge and how we acquire knowledge in the modern age. This was especially helpful when it came to understanding how the different concepts across the academic subjects related to one another in a comprehensive and cohesive manner.

Despite the stress and sleepless nights during this two-year programme, the benefits of having been involved in a programme so rigorous definitely paid off. Many of the basic skills in essay writing and problem solving strategies that I have picked up during my time as an IB student; I have been able to constantly exercise during these past two terms in my various modules. Even some concepts that have been taught in some lectures I have already learned in IB and hence it functions as a review and reaffirmation of my prior knowledge. This comes to show that even though some decisions and paths taken in life may be tough, handwork and diligence pays off in the end.

Isabel Quah
Isabel Quah | Language, Culture and Communication Contact Isabel

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